This Is How Organisations Do Compliance Now: The Ultimate Guide

Welcome to the world of compliance training, where dry and boring content reigns supreme!

Less than half of all employees think their compliance learning is relevant to them or their role. And if it doesn’t feel valuable to your employees – you can kiss compliance goodbye.

Fear not, compliance compatriots, there is hope!

If you’ve got an ISO audit coming up, new starters to make GDPR compliant or need to re-certify your finance team on AML guidelines, this guide will explore how to create, learn, manage and measure the efforts of your compliance learning.

So grab your coffee, put on your favourite playlist, and let’s dive in!

1. Set your outcome

Before you start thinking about content and tactics – think about what you’re expecting to deliver.

Every learning initiative needs to have a measurable outcome. It’s how L&D teams prove their impact!

These can usually be categorised into three key outcomes, which should inform your approach and modality and method of delivery (and your content!)

In this how-to guide, we’ll walk you through setting up your Health and Safety in the Workplace course using HowNow as an example, but you can use this example as a framework for any kind of compliance training.

2. Create your Learning Experience

Setting your settings

Before jumping into the beauty of content creation, make sure you’re set up for success by taking advantage of how your learners will engage with this piece of compliance content.

Make it beautiful to learn, easy to find and simple and shareable and you’ll find significantly higher rates of engagement and adoption of your compliance training.

Make your course relevant and memorable by including:

  • A memorable, relevant Course Name: A search-friendly title helps your compliance content stand out from the crowd and makes it easy to identify.
  • A Short Description: Adding a 150-character short description helps your learners find the learning they need and engages them with your compliance training.
  • Relevant Channels: The topics you’re covering as part of this course. If you’re using HowNow, add @Must Do here, to make sure the content gets prioritised for your learners and it’s easier to measure compliance later!
  • Skills: The specific skills your learners are going to learn or develop by completing this content.
  • Collaborators: Add your DPO to GDPR Training to mark assessments, your Security Officer for Health and Safety or your Compliance team for FCA Training so they can keep track of compliance.
  • Verification: Keep up to date with legislative changes by setting six-monthly reminders to verify the accuracy of your compliance content.
  • Thumbnail: A beautiful and custom thumbnail for your learners to engage with makes all the difference (or select one from HowNow’s stock image gallery)

Here's how it works...

Using our Health and Safety Course as an example:

  • It’s easy for employees to search with a simple Course Name and Description
  • An eye-catching custom-made thumbnail (we used Canva to create this in a few seconds)
  • A selection of hyper-specific Skills that this course helps our employees develop
  • Tagged the Course with @Must Do to make reporting easier after we’ve published it
  • Added our H&S Representative, Flo, as a Collaborator on the course to mark assessments and track completions
  • Also added our H&S Representative as a verifier, to revisit the content in 6 months to make sure the content is still relevant

Create Your Course

HowNow’s Course Editor can be used to create incredible courses in minutes – mix and match modalities and add lessons and assessments for custom-built compliance that fit your needs.

Since we’re creating a Compliance course from scratch, we’ll need to make sure our content covers:

  • The relevant information your employees are expected to learn.
  • Resources that help them understand the importance of the training they’re being asked to complete.
  • Something to ensure your employees are retaining the information they’ve learnt.

Adding variety to the content types makes learning materials more “sticky” and avoids the dreaded ‘wall of text’ that impacts how well-retained your compliance content is.

Uploading an instructional video that your L&D team have produced in-house alongside written text that’s easy to read a surefire way to engage your learners and keep them engaged.

Compliance training doesn’t exist in a vacuum – so adding supporting documents to connect your course to the relevant company policy documents adds extra resonance to learners. You can do this by adding Existing Content from Google Drive or Confluence.

If you have a complex compliance topic to cover, then break your Course into clearly defined and titled Sections which allows learners to take a break to learn at their own pace.

Inserting assessments as part of your learning journey (or as a grand finale) promote understanding and retention of your compliance programs.

HowNow’s Assessments let you mix multiple question types and enforce completion of courses based on pass marks, set retake limits and create policy affirmations.

Here's how it works...

Our Health and Safety Course has been created in under 30 minutes, and to ensure we’ve created a learning resource that’s sticky and guarantees engagement, we’ve:

  • Mixed and matched content types (Video, Text and Images) for maximum impact and retention
  • Tied our learning to our Health and Safety Policy from a Google Drive document to add context to our learning materials
  • Added a 5-question multiple choice assessment that HowNow automatically marks. This is a compliance assessment, so the course will only be marked as “completed” if our employees pass the assessment too.

Import off-the-shelf compliance Courses from HowNow+

Don’t have the headcount or time to create Compliance courses? With HowNow+, you have off-the-shelf Compliance courses from trusted providers already in your learning platform. Simply pick, import and assign.

It definitely saves having to deal with multiple vendors or spending time creating content you don’t have to!

Curate, assign and publish your chosen resources with a few simple clicks and set yourself up for success. You’ll have the option to tweak some of your settings once it’s been published, too.

Curious about HowNow+? Check out the 5000+ Resources and 50+ topics we cover here.

Import Content using SCORM

Already have Compliance Courses you’ve bought? You can upload the SCORM/xAPI files directly into HowNow.

SCORM courses also offer built-in assessments and rewards that are automatically fed back into HowNow’s Assessment and Content reporting dashboards so you can keep track of your scores, compliance rates and participation.

Compliance Engagement Tip: Add Context To Compliance To Make It Stick  👀

  • Include a Hubspot Blog on GDPR compliance in Tech Sales to add context to your compliance.
  • Add existing content from HowNow’s free content streams (think Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal!)  to support your organisation’s Financial Conduct Compliance training.

3. Assign your Course to the relevant audience

Getting the right content to the right person is the lifeblood of engagement. Separating meaningful learning (the important kind) from learning bloat (the useless kind)

Not every piece of learning is relevant to every learner, so being hyper-specific with who your learning is going to be essential. This could be down to the department, location or seniority of your employee. So being able to pinpoint who needs to learn what is key!

Here's how it works...

Our Health and Safety Course is coming along nicely. We’ve got cracking content, an engaging course planned and we need to make sure it goes to the right people.

  • We’ve used a Custom Rule to set this course up and make sure it stays published
  • We’ve targeted only New, UK-based employees since this course is built on the Health and Safety Act 1974 and is only relevant to those learners

GDPR Compliance is certainly relevant to employees based in the EU and UK as this training is based on regional legislation, but there’s an equivalent set of compliance requirements for US and APAC-based employees.

There are also different sets of Sexual Harassment Awareness Training depending on state legislation in the US – so making sure people are compliant relies heavily on making sure the right content goes to the right person.

Compliance Engagement Tip : Futureproof Your Content With Custom Rules 👀
  • Target your new starters for mandatory Health and Safety training to take advantage of your HRIS integration.
“Joined Organisation Less Than 3 Days Ago”
  • Make sure your SaaS Sales Team are GDPR Compliant and keeping customer data safe:
“Group is Sales Department AND Achieved Reward GDPR Compliance Anytime”
  • Release weekly stages of an FCA Compliance program for new Insurance Advisors to maximise retention:
“Completed Course Introduction To FCA Compliance More Than 7 Days Ago”

4. Launch your Compliance Course

Create a learning campaign

If you build it, they will come…right?

The sad reality is that many learners have a negative attitude towards learning because of the toil and repetition they associate with compliance learning, rather than a sense of achievement that comes with learning something new.

Plan an impactful and engaging learning campaign around your newest batch of compliance training to fire up your learners to take action and jump in. The great news is that you don’t need to buy anything new, simply meet your learners with the tools they’re already using.

Thinking like a marketer will let you leverage the channels you already use (if you have an internal comms team – get them on board!) to get better engagement, keep up the momentum and secure the outcomes you planned.

Here's how it works...

Since we’re using HowNow and have chosen for email notifications when assigning learners, our learners will already have received an email notification to let them know they’ve been assigned to our Health and Safety Course.

But no successful campaign happens through a single channel. So we’re going one step further to raise awareness and make it clear what’s expected and what’s in it for our employees and leaning on the Channels we already have within our business.

HowNow customers have even created funny mobile video content featuring internal influencers – highlighting the risk of not learning about GDPR. It helped to create hype and internal buzz that resulted in higher engagement and better compliance outcomes!

Meet your team in Slack or MS Teams by sending a reminder or note to encourage teams to complete the course

An example of a learning campaign via Slack

Release your compliance course

An evergreen compliance training program? It’s virtually unheard of.

Compliance content often needs to be completed on a recurring basis to ensure our employees are following the latest legislation, policy updates or changes to keep us compliant as a business.

This is especially important during audit periods or if we have certain accreditations (like ISO27001, HIPAA) or are handling finance (like Anti-Money Laundering or Bribery laws)
Set a realistic and achievable deadline for your learners to complete and pass your courses and you’ll make sure you’re compliant all the time.

Make sure you also take advantage of automation where you can. Many learning platforms offer the solution to renew expired compliance courses on a recurring basis, saving you an admin headache in a year’s time.

Here's how it works...

Using our Health and Safety Course as an example, we’ll futureproof it with smart deadlines and a renewal period.

  • We’ve selected a “Period of time” deadline of 3 weeks for all our learners to complete the course. This deadline will apply to any new learners that get assigned by our chosen Custom Rule.
  • We need our learners to complete this course every year to keep our organisation compliant, so selected an Annual Renewal Cycle.
  • To make it easy for learners to dedicate time to the course, we’ve opted for a 30-minute duration so it displays clearly on the content: letting learners know how long it’ll take to complete
  • Lastly, we’re factoring in the fun and energy behind our learning campaign with a custom Badge to reward learners for completing the course and passing their assessment.

5. Track engagement, completion and outcomes

As an L&D Team, we want to ensure we’re delivering impact easily within our organisation.  We shared best practices for identifying potential outcomes. Now we’ve given our employees the training they need – we can start measuring our impact.

Here’s what we showed earlier, along with methods of measuring the outcomes of your newest compliance training.

Measure Compliance across the business

Getting a single snapshot of employee compliance is essential when it comes to audit time, sharing reports with your compliance team or staying up to date with legislative changes.

The most important figure you need to see is your compliance rate, to report to your stakeholders.

Learning platforms usually offer this figure as standard and HowNow is no exception!

Here's how it works...

Using our Health and Safety Course as an example, we’ll now check out the compliance of our UK Team to see who’s still outstanding and who may need chasing up.

  • We’ve selected the UK Learning Group from the filters so we can easily see a single snapshot
  • We’ll then export this custom report to create a handy graph in Google Sheets to share with our stakeholders that demonstrates the compliance increase over time since the launch of our learning campaign
  • We can then also use this data to share a list of outstanding learners with our management team so they know who to follow up with.

Measure proof of knowledge

Reviewing Assessment completion scores and submissions are one of the easiest ways to review proof of knowledge.

Assessments are one of the most effective ways to ensure your employees are retaining the knowledge from your learning program.  Reviewing written responses from your open-answer questions, and scores from your multiple-choice questions will give you the insight you need to gather data to measure proof of knowledge.

With HowNow’s Dashboard you can deep-dive into each assessment your learners have completed.

Compliance should be about creating a culture of integrity and accountability, not just ticking boxes.


HowNow’s Learning Experience Platform offers everything you need for a successful compliance program, including content, policies, assessments and the tools to make it a meaningful part of work.

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