Top 10 uses of assessments for compliance

Headshot JuliePosted by Julie Delazyn

We recently announced a webinar on September 18th about why it’s good to use assessments for compliance.

Today I’d like to focus on how to use them, particularly within  financial services organizations – for whom mitigating risk of non-compliance is essential.

You can find out more about these in a complimentary white paper that highlights good practices in using assessments for regulatory compliance: The Role of Assessments in Mitigating Risk for Financial Services Organizations. But here, for quick reference, are ten of the most useful applications of assessment in a compliance program:

1) Internal exams — Internal competency exams are the most commonly used assessments in financial services.

2) Knowledge checks — It’s common to give knowledge checks or post-course tests (also called Level 2s) immediately after training to ensure that the training has been understood and to help reduce forgetting. These assessments confirm learning and document understanding.

3) Needs analysis / diagnostic tests — These tests measure employee’s current skills in topics and help drive decisions on development topics. They can be used to allow employees to test out when it’s clear they already understand a particular subject.

4) Observational assessments — When checking practical skills, it’s common to have an observer monitor employees to see if they are following correct procedures. A key advantage of an observational assessment is that it measures behavior, not just knowledge. Using mobile devices for these assessments streamlines the process.

5) Course evaluation surveys — “Level 1” or “smile sheet” surveys let you check employee reaction following training. They are a key step in evaluating training effectiveness. In the compliance field You can use them to gather qualitative information on topics, such as how well policies are applied in the field. Here’s an example fragment from a course evaluation survey.

eval survey6) Employee attitude surveys — Commonly used by HR for measuring employee satisfaction, these surveys also can be used to determine attitudes about ethical and cultural issues.

7) Job task analysis surveys –How do you know that your competency assessments are valid and that they are addressing what is really needed for competence in a job role? A job task analysis (JTA) survey asks people who are experts in a job how important the task is for the job role and how often it is done. Analysis of JTA data lets you weight the number of questions associated with topics and tasks so that a competency test fairly measures the importance of different elements of a job role.

8) Practice tests — Practice tests often use questions that are retired from the exam question pool but remain valid. Practice tests are usually accompanied by question and topic feedback. As well as allowing candidates to assess their further study needs, practice tests give candidates experience with the technology and user interface before they take a real exam.

9) Formative quizzes— These quizzes are those we are all familiar with: during learning to inform instructors and learners about whether learners have understood the learning or need deeper instruction, they diagnose misconceptions and also help reduce forgetting. They provide the key evidence that helps instructors vary the pace of learning. Computerized formative quizzes are especially useful in remote or e-learning where an instructor cannot interact face-to-face with learners.

10) 360- degree assessments – This kind of assessment solicits opinions about an employee’s competencies from his/her superiors, reports and peers. It will usually cover job-specific competencies and general competencies such as integrity and communication skills. In compliance, such surveys allow you to potentially identify issues in people’s behavior and competencies that need review.

Click here for details and registration for the webinar, 7 Reasons to Use Online Assessments for Compliance.

You can download the white paper, The Role of Assessments in Mitigating Risk for Financial Services Organizations, here.

Planning compliance-related assessments: good practice recommendations

Headshot JuliePosted by Julie Delazyn

Last week I wrote about the business benefits of assessments that mitigate risk and help ensure compliance– as described in our white paper, The Role of Assessments in Mitigating Risk for Financial Services Organizations, This paper offers a great deal of information about these kinds of assessments and advice about best practices for implementing a legally defensible assessment program.

The paper describes five stages of deploying assessments — from planning to analytics — and offers recommendations for good practice for people in these six job roles:

  • Chief Compliance Officer, responsible for compliance in the organization
  • Compliance Officer, who runs the assessment part of the compliance program
  • Authoring Expert, the authoring team lead
  • SME, the Subject matter expert who authors and reviews questions
  • Trainer, who trains in compliance
  • IT Specialist, responsible for IT setup

Compliance five steps

Some of these recommendations are specific to Questionmark technologies, but most can be applied to any testing and assessment system.

Today, let’s look at good practice for the first of the five stages: planning:

Planning - Compliance

Click here to read the paper, which you can download free after login or sign-up.

Ten assessment types that can help mitigate risk

Posted by Julie Delazyn

Mitigating risk –- most notably the risk of non-compliance — is a key component of success in the financial services industry. Other risks abound, too, such as losing customers and/or good employees.

If employees don’t understand and follow the processes that organizations put in place to mitigate risk and maintain compliance, the risk of non-compliance increases – and a business is less likely to succeed.

Online assessments do a lot to help ensure that employees know the right procedures and follow them. Here are 10 assessment types that play essential roles here:

(1) Internal exams -– check your employees are competent

Some companies administer internal competency exams annually –- and do so more frequently. It’s also good to give these exams when regulations changed and new products are introduced. These exams address compliance with competency requirements and at the same time help employees prove they know how to do their jobs.

(2) Knowledge checks – confirm learning and document understanding

Running knowledge checks or post-course tests (also called Level 2s) right after training helps you find out whether the training has been understood. This also helps reduce forgetting.

(3) Needs analysis / diagnostic tests – allow testing out

These tests, which measure current skills and knowledge about particular topics, can be used as training needs assessments and/or pre-requisites for training. And if someone already has the critical skills and knowledge, he or she can “test out” and avoid unnecessary and costly training.

(4) Observational assessments – measure skills via role plays, customer visits

When checking practical skills, it’s common to have an observer monitor an employee to see if they are following correct procedures. With so many people using smartphones and tablets, such as the Apple iPad, it’s viable to use a mobile device for these assessments — which are great for measuring behavior, not just knowledge.

(5) Course evaluation surveys

These surveys, also called “level 1” or “smile sheet” surveys, let you check employee reaction following training. They are a key step in evaluating training effectiveness. You can also use them to gather qualitative information on topics, such as how well policies are applied in the field. Here is an example fragment from a course evaluation survey:

(6) Employee attitude surveys

Employee attitude surveys ask questions of your workforce or sections of it. HR department often use them to measure employee satisfaction, but they also can be used in corporate compliance to determine attitudes about ethical and cultural issues.

(7) Job task analysis surveys –- to fairly identify tasks against which to check compliance

How do you know that your competency assessments are valid and that they are addressing what is really needed for competence in a job role? A job task analysis (JTA) survey asks people who are experts in a job how important the task is for the job role and how often it is done. Analysis of JTA data lets you weight the number of questions associated with topics and tasks so that a competency test fairly measures the importance of different elements of a job role. Here is an extract from a typical JTA23:

(8) Practice tests

These often use questions that are retired from the exam question pool but remain valid. Candidates can take practice tests to assess their study needs and/or gain candidates experience with the technology and user interface before they take a real exam. This helps to reduce exam anxiety, and it’s important for less computer-literate candidates. Practice tests are also helpful when deploying new exam delivery technology.

(9) Formative quizzes during learning -– to help learning

These quizzes are those we are all familiar with: short quizzes during learning to inform instructors and learners about whether learners have understood the learning or need deeper instruction. Such quizzes can also diagnose misconceptions and also help reduce forgetting.

(10) 360-degree assessments of employees

A 360-degree assessment solicits opinions about an employee’s competencies from his/her superiors, reports and peers. It will usually cover job-specific competencies and general competencies such as integrity and communication skills. In compliance, such surveys allow you to potentially identify issues in people’s behavior and competencies that need review.

For more in-depth coverage of this subject, read our white paper,  The Role of Assessments in Mitigating Risk for Financial Services Organizations, which you can download free after login or sign-up.