Compliance training teaches employees best practices, important concepts, and behavioral mandates necessary for their jobs. The data produced from that training may be an afterthought to some organizations—but it should be just as strategic (or moreso) as the actual learning.
Great data—numbers beyond completion rates (which we’ll address shortly)—offers analysis that reveals not only how employees comprehend compliance training, but also how those employees operate in their everyday roles. The numbers show compliance strengths and weaknesses, how people are consuming learning, and where future problems may be imminent.
True Office Learning now offers a maturity assessment tool to help businesses determine the state of their compliance training programs. This resource is valuable for organizations trying to determine their next moves, and it also helps us better understand where companies are coming from as they try to improve their training. And because we love metrics, this tool gives us even more insight we can share with you on how organizations are using their data.
Many Companies Are Just Tracking Completion Rates
According to the most recent data (December 2019), 39 percent of users of our compliance training maturity assessment tool are taking away one piece of data from their training programs: completion rates, or how many employees start and finish an online course. Although organizations want a high percentage of their workforce to experience training, this is a mostly empty statistic because it doesn’t gauge the quality of the training or what employees are taking away from it. Tracking only completion rates leaves too many questions unanswered:
- Are employees taking their time with the course or quickly clicking through to get it done?
- Are employees engaging with the content or barely paying attention to what’s being taught?
- Are employees actually learning something valuable during the course that they can and will apply to their everyday roles?
A high completion rate looks nice on paper; it’s something you can show the C-suite, key stakeholders, and regulators that says, “Look, we provide compliance training!” However, it fails to accurately show how knowledgeable employees are about the compliance principles they need on the job.
For comparison, a state DMV gives written, often open-book tests to adults when they reapply for a driver’s license. That may produce a statistic on the number of licensed drivers in the state, but it doesn’t reveal how many of those people are actually good drivers. Unlike a DMV, which doesn’t have a convenient mechanism to assess the practical driving skills of adults, businesses can deliver training that is effective—and proven so—with strong data.
Some Companies Aren’t Tracking Data at All
As already alluded to, data offers tremendous potential for compliance programs to measure the efficacy of their training initiatives and identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Tracking only completion rates fails to realize this potential, but not using any data at all leaves organizations truly blind to what, if anything, their employees are learning. Our recent numbers from the assessment show that about 14 percent of organizations do not track or analyze compliance data.
Several reasons could be behind a compliance training program not using the data. First, there could be an attitude from companies that they can just use completion rates—these businesses offer training, figure that’s enough, and assume it then becomes employees’ responsibility to learn. This check-the-box approach assumes employees want to learn these concepts or have the capacity to effectively do so. With no data to track effectiveness, companies cross their fingers and hope for the best …
Second, a company may not know that advanced data is available and can be analyzed. For example, the answers users provide to scenario questions can reveal granular insight about not only how much an individual employee knows about a certain topic, but also how knowledgeable teams, departments, and divisions are about a wide range of subjects. Compliance personnel dream of that kind of intelligence because it can point the way to shoring up weak spots and predicting where future problems may occur.
Third, compliance training programs may want such data but not have the means to collect it. This is where a quality training platform can help. The best solutions gather a wide, deep range of data based on every interaction a user makes with a course. Add up all those interactions, and you have great data to work with and benchmarks to work from and/or toward. Compare that data to the training provider’s historical data for even deeper comparative insight and a better picture of how well your employees are learning.
Applying Training Data Across the Organization
About 10 percent of users of our maturity tool are taking behavioral data from compliance training to the next level by triangulating the intelligence with processes such as incident reporting, hotline usage, helpdesk requests, and other organizational functions designed to help employees with the trickier aspects of their jobs.
For example, if the training data is saying employees are understanding workplace harassment principles and, in turn, complaints to a company harassment hotline decrease, you can infer that the training is succeeding in its desired effect of modifying behavior. Alternately, if password problems persist (and take up IT’s valuable time) even after data security training, that could signal that training should be more focused and possibly include reinforcement tools such as microlearning or job aids.
Obviously, if an employee has a question or concern, the organization should provide an answer. But deep training data connects the dots between effective learning and successful compliance in issues that are being prevented or effectively dealt with. Support resources can be reallocated, and strategy can evolve to reflect what training is achieving.
Let Data Be Your Friend
Quality training and advanced analytics are complementary aspects of a successful compliance training program—both elements strengthen each other, ultimately to the benefit of the organization. A top-notch compliance platform emphasizes both outstanding training and rich data so that employees learn and compliance personnel learn from that learning.