Save Time by Testing Out of Compliance Training?

Posted by John Kleeman

There is nothing worse for an employee than attending a compliance training session about material they already know. (Or at least sometimes it feels that way!)

If employees already know something well, then training them in it again is a waste of resources and motivation. By forcing people to attend training they feel is unnecessary, you reduce the credibility of your whole compliance initiative. People feel that you are just crossing a task off your list, not really caring about what matters to them and the business.

Diagnostic tests can provide a way of identifying what employees know or don’t know, and so allows employees to “test out” of training that they do not need to take. So for example, if a training course covers three topics, then some employees may be able to show– by passing a test — that they already know one or more topics and can skip part or all of the training.

Questionmark Perception screenshot

You’ll need to check your regulations to confirm that this is permissible for you, but most regulators will see sense here. For instance, an American Banker’s Association Bank Compliance magazine article mentions various US financial regulators who regard testing out to be acceptable:

“Is testing out considered an acceptable alternative to compliance training? The OTS said yes, testing out is acceptable. The OCC agreed, provided the testing program is well structured. However, exceptions may exist for required training such as the Bank Secrecy Act. The FDIC also agreed, commenting that a well-planned, -implemented, and -maintained compliance training program will prevent or reduce regulatory violations, will provide cost efficiencies, and is a sound business practice.”

Obviously if you follow this approach, you’ll need to ensure that your tests are appropriate and sufficient – that they measure the right knowledge and skills that the compliance training would otherwise cover.

But a simple calculation suggests that testing out can save a lot of time. The average employee works around 2,000 hours in a year.

Suppose:

· You need to train 10,000 employees

· 20% of them already know the subject well

· Avoiding training will save on average an hour of someone’s time

 

Conclusion: By allowing people to test out, you will save 2,000 hours of time or a whole year of someone’s time.

I know many organizations already use Questionmark software to allow employees to “test out” from training. (One of our customers presented a case study at the 2011 Questionmark Users Conference showing that they had saved US$40,000 on a project by doing just this.) But if you are not already allowing testing out for compliance training purposes, it could be worth considering.

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