What’s better at keeping us compliant – continual assessment or short term testing?

Categories Blog

These are tough times for anyone involved in corporate compliance. Between the uncertainty of post-Brexit regulations, COVID-19 safeguards and GDPR, there’s certainly plenty to keep compliance professionals busy.

Here at Cognito Learning we have a lot of conversations around how we can help our customers to keep their teams compliant. And we’re proud that our Cognito app is playing an important role in making life easier for those worried about ensuring that knowledge is properly embedded within their teams. It’s why we want to talk a bit more here about the best ways to keep employees compliant – and how Cognito can help.

The keys to compliance

To understand the best ways to ensure compliance, it’s worth quickly defining it. For most organisations, it’s the process of making sure that everyone in the business – and the company itself – sticks to the rules. Those rules could be laws or standards, regulations or even certain ethical obligations. The consequences of not following them range from huge fines to a potential loss of business.

Compliance is clearly important. But what are the keys to making sure employees keep in mind and apply any requirements in their daily roles? Here’s what the experts at Bamboo HR suggest are the four best ways to ensure compliance among employees. They say any compliance strategy should have the following elements:

  • Clarity
  • Relevance
  • Accessibility
  • Reward

So, taking each one in turn, a company can firstly help its employees to be compliant simply by being very clear about what the requirements actually are. It sounds obvious, but this need for clarity is often overlooked, especially when the rules, regulations and standards themselves can be complex and confusing. 

The second point – relevance – is also critical. This is all about making sure that employees don’t just understand what they have to do. They also need to know why they need to do it, and how the compliance requirements are relevant to their particular role.

The third point around accessibility links with the first two. As well as being clear and relevant, it’s important that employees can actually easily access the knowledge they need to stay compliant.

And the final point around reward is possibly the most important. By recognising compliance, we incentivise the right behaviours, make people feel that their actions are appreciated and encourage others to follow suit.

The best ways to measure compliance

So what kind of testing is best at keeping people compliant? Should we be assessing employees continually to make sure they’re up to speed with all requirements? Or are shorter-term tests more effective?

From our point of view, the answer is that combining both approaches is the best way to ensure that compliance knowledge and behaviours are embedded. The ideal approach to building a culture of compliance relies on both continual assessment and short term testing – but all delivered in a way that engages and motivates your people.  And we believe our Cognito app offers the perfect tool for doing this. Here’s why.

Clear, engaging, rewarding and relevant

Firstly, Cognito makes it easy to both continually assess and test employees’ knowledge. It offers a straightforward and accessible way to test how well people understand rules and regulations at the micro level. It tests employees regularly on the knowledge that’s most relevant to their role. And crucially, it also embeds and reinforces that knowledge, using AI to adapt to learners’ needs and identify where there are gaps.

To return to those four key elements of any compliance strategy, Cognito delivers compliance knowledge in a way that is clear, relevant and accessible. And with its gamification elements, employers can build in rewards for those they want to recognise too.

Secondly, Cognito does all this in a way that doesn’t alienate or disengage people. When people are clear about what’s needed, understand why it’s relevant, find it easy to access the knowledge they need and feel rewarded when they comply, you begin to create a culture of engaged employees. Cognito facilitates this because it doesn’t makes learning about compliance onerous. Information is always bite-size, targeted and relevant.

Creating a culture of compliance

A final point about creating a culture of compliance. There is another key element to making this happen: linking it to your company values.

We’ve seen that when a business does this, compliance then becomes a part of the fabric of the organisation. When employees see that being compliant is something that’s in line with your company’s values, they get the ‘why’, not just the ‘what’.

They see compliance as a key element in the success of a company that they in turn feel a valuable part of. As the experts at eJ4 say, “Without identifying those values, building a culture of compliance can be like baking a cake without a recipe.”

Build compliance around your values, and then people will understand why they’re being asked to do what they do. They’ll want to do it as a result and they also encourage others to do it too.

The bottom line here is that compliance, above all, is about ‘understanding’ – not about simply remembering a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’. So, whatever testing and enforcement method you use, it has to embed genuine understanding, and not just be a tick box exercise. This is the key to creating a genuine culture of compliance, and it’s why we believe that Cognito is the perfect tool that any compliance manager should have in their arsenal. If you’re a compliance manager and you’d like to find out more about how Cognito can help you to improve compliance and engagement in your organisation, get in touch. We’d love to talk through with you how we can help, so give us a call today on 01423 203 733.