Who is really completing your online compliance modules?

We’ve been building online compliance modules for over 20 years. Everything from Privacy to Anti-Money Laundering (or AML as they call it in the financial sector), Work Health and Safety to Safe Driving. You name it, we’ve built it.

Most of the time, the content is written and designed by subject matter experts, or legal experts to ensure the necessary information is being delivered in a way that enforces regulation and the law. In some instances we may influence learning design and User Experience Design. All in all however it’s generally a legal solution, to cover a company’s legal position if they are faced with a court case involving one of their employees.

It could end up in court

If someone is injured due to a workplace accident and it ends up in court, then the training records will be subpoenaed. Some of the responsibility is on the company to provide the training and keep records of the training that has been undertaken by their employees. We have seen this first hand, and appreciate the fact that all employees should be across the compliance and regulatory responsibilities not only for themselves but the whole organisation. This is why companies are so strict on employees completing the training, and the training records being up to date.

If it ends up in court the records get presented to ensure that the person of focus has completed the training. So this removes the organisation’s responsibility. Of course, many other factors could be at play here. An interesting situation occurred with a McDonald’s employee breaking their leg climbing down a ladder after a break. Because it was found the employee hadn’t received proper training around processes, and it was seen as accepted practice to take a break on the roof, the responsibility fell back on the employer.

Who is completing the training?

Because most of these compliance modules are done online, then the training can take place at any time or any location (except if there are strict network access protocols in place). This opens up the possibility that the training is done by someone else other than the person whose name is associated with the actual training record. Let’s look at two examples, an Exec level employee and a contractor.

The following are based on real examples.

  • A CEO / MD or someone on the executive leadership team. They’ve been around the traps, worked for many companies, they know their stuff and probably have an ego to match their salary. Compliance training comes around every 12 months, however they are too busy and too important to be worrying about boring compliance training so they direct their PA (Personal Assistant) to complete the training on their behalf. The PA completes the training and the completed training record is recorded against CEO’s name.
  • A contractor travels to different sites all the time. Whether in mining, construction or any related industry, arriving at a new workplace requires a certain amount of site induction training. This would include Work Health and Safety, Workplace Behaviours, and any other number of training modules to satisfy the legal requirements of an employee entering that workplace. They get their partner or family member to complete the training on their behalf.

What are the implications?

This is where it starts to get tricky. We can all agree there are legal requirements for an employee or contractor to complete certain compliance training. If the required employee or contractor does not actually complete the training, what are the legal and regulatory obligations on the employee and the company if a situation was to arise that required proof of that person having completed the training? We’re certainly not in a position to provide a clear answer on this, and we’d welcome any feedback about the legalities of this.

Both of the above situations are based on real examples, and represent just two instances where this is happening every day in many workplaces across Australia and around the world. So if this is happening, and people are prepared to flout the law, what does this say about the training that is being delivered, and the messaging around that training?

Reputation of online compliance training

Lets face it, mention online compliance training in any workplace and most people will run the other way as quickly as possible. Compliance training does not have a reputation for being engaging or exciting. Most people see this type of training experience as “tick and flick”, tick the box, create the training record to make sure the company passes all the audits, and flick it off (until next time).

It’s everyone’s responsibility

There are many steps involved in getting online compliance training delivered to the end user. Everyone involved from the organisation’s legal department, to the subject matter experts, the learning designers, the end user, and the person doing the training on behalf of the end user, are all responsible for the training being completed in the most legally binding way. More importantly, we need to ensure the safest working environment for everyone working at the organisation.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top