What are the business benefits of online assessments in regulatory compliance?

John Kleeman HeadshotPosted by John Kleeman

As well as writing for this blog, I also contribute to SAP’s Community Network, and I’ve recently published there a 5-part series on the business benefits of online assessments in regulatory compliance. Much of this will also be interesting to a Questionmark audience, so here are some highlights with links to the fuller articles in case you’d like to read more.

**To read more about compliance in the financial industry, download our complimentary white paper: The Role of Assessments in Mitigating Risk for Financial Services Organizations [registration required].**

Making a business case for testing out of training

testoutUsing online assessments to test out of training saves time and money by allowing expensive people to forego unneeded training. It also makes compliance training more valid and respected, and so more likely to impact behaviour, because it focuses training on the people who need it.

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. And it devalues other compliance training as well.

My article on testing out of training suggests some good practice and also shares a management report format you can use to help build a business case internally for testing out.

How do you know what your workforce knows?

Training classAlmost all regulators are concerned to ensure that organizations have competent employees. Some require assessments to confirm this. Other regulators prefer to set principles, without detailed guidance. They focus on ensuring that your workforce is competent, often requiring documented training. Either way you need to assess your employees to check their competence.

Online assessments are a consistent and cost-effective means of checking your workforce know the law, your procedures and your products. If you are required to document training, it’s the most reliable way of doing so.

My article on how you know what your workforce knows  gives a list of useful assessment types used for compliance purposes and also explains the pros and cons of assessments vs other ways of documenting training.

Help your workforce retain critical information

Assessments are one of the best ways of ensuring your workforce can retrieve information when they need it, and reduce the chances of them forgetting key information needed for regulatory compliance.

My article on how you can help your workforce retain critical information explains the concept of assessments as retrieval practice and gives some advice on how to use assessments effectively for retrieval practice.

Can assessments reduce human error?

There is evidence that around 40 -50% of compliance errors are contributed to by ineffective training and failure to follow process.  Assessments can make a big difference in preventing these errors.

Some errors happen because training is misunderstood or misdelivered. Perhaps the training covers the area but the employee didn’t understand it properly, can’t remember or cannot apply the training on the job.  Assessments check that people do indeed understand.

observerOther errors happen because training is different to what the real job involves. If the problem is that competencies or tasks needed in the real world aren’t part of the training, then job task analysis, using surveys to ask practitioners what really happens in a role, is a great way to correct this (see An Easier Approach to Job Task Analysis Q&A for more information).

My article also explains how observational assessments can be used to help prevent failure to follow process.  In an observational (or workplace) assessment, an observer watches the participant perform an activity and assesses their performance against a checklist. This is a good way to identify whether procedural steps are omitted.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it

Warren Buffett famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. In my final article on the SAP site, I explain how using Questionmark software is a great way to avoid those fatal five minutes and so mitigate risk to reputation.

The key point I make in the series  is that online assessments are about both staying compliant with regulatory requirements AND giving business value. Assessments help ensure your workforce are competent and reduce regulatory risk, but they also give business value in improved efficiency, knowledge and customer service.

**To read more about compliance in the financial industry, download our complimentary white paper: The Role of Assessments in Mitigating Risk for Financial Services Organizations [registration required].**

 

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