Compliance Training Changed This Year

compliance training changesRules and regulations are always changing, which can make keeping up with compliance training difficult.

After all, you always want your compliance content to be up to date, so your learners know exactly what they need to be doing to comply with the newest regulations. It doesn’t help anyone if they’re up to date with last year’s regulations.

The pandemic has made this extra tricky. COVID-related regulations have been rapidly changing over the past year-and-a-half as we’ve learned more about the disease and preventative measures that help keep employees and customers safe. Remember at the start of the pandemic, when we were washing surfaces? This past summer when the masks came off, and then when the Delta variant arrived and we put the masks back on? It can be a lot to keep up with, especially if you’re trying to keep current with COVID-19 compliance training.

It can also be tough to scale compliance training for COVID; if your organization has sites in different states or countries, requirements for COVID can vary, and guidelines from different regulatory bodies can even contradict one another. So how can compliance training adapt to rapidly-changing regulations?

The rise of the COVID compliance officer

In some industries, there’s one person who owns all COVID-related preparations, from testing to cleaning, to mask mandates: the COVID Compliance Officer (CCO).

The role of the CCO, or COVID compliance supervisor, originated in the film and television industry in the fall of 2020, as filming slowly started again. At the time, unions and producers signed an agreement with terms for COVID safety on often-crowded sets, including a CCO on each set — sets which are often crowded – was part of the agreement.

The CCO is responsible for knowing the regulations around COVID in the state or country where the production is taking place, organizing logistics, testing and contract tracing, and even has the power to shut down productions that aren’t in compliance. They’re a walking compliance course — in fact, part of the CCO’s duties is to train other employees. An article in the LA Times describes the CCO position as part cop and part coach.

This position was quickly adopted by other parts of the arts industry, such as theatrical productions, festivals, and award shows, and later expanded into other industries altogether, like higher education, security, and nonprofits.

Who is getting COVID compliance training?

Not all industries have created a separate position around COVID safety. The restaurant industry, for example, is required by the CDC to train staff in safety measures, but in some cases, that means the restaurants have to build their own compliance training. In others, training is provided by the area in which they’re located or by nonprofits. COVID compliance courses are also being provided by government agencies worldwide; in Australia, for example, a variety of online courses in contract tracing, compliance for restaurants and other safety measures, are being offered.

In the U.K. and U.S., however, private organizations have stepped up to offer off the shelf COVID safety and awareness courses to businesses and, in some cases, the public.

Other pandemic-related compliance training

Spotting and creating safety protocols around COVID itself isn’t the only new focus in compliance training. Remote work has caused its own sets of challenges and compliance needs. A report from earlier this year found that 70% of office workers admit to using their work devices for personal tasks, while 69% are using personal laptops or printers for work activities. Almost 30% of remote workers surveyed say they have let someone else use their work device.

If your organization abides by specific information security standards like NIST or ISO, these behaviors not only put you at risk, they also may put you out of compliance. Because remote workers can be an attack vector for hackers and other cyber criminals, and need to know how to keep proprietary data safe when IT isn’t in the same building, so information security compliance training is important.

Remote workers may also have trouble adjusting to remote work, so compliance training around mental health or spotting domestic abuse in remote workers for managers may be required by human resources. In fact, the World Economic Forum recommends such training.

The world is changing, and so is compliance

Regulations are always evolving and that can be frustrating if you’re in charge of compliance. In many cases, however, those regulatory changes reflect the changes taking place in our world. We’ve been through a lot of changes lately, so we’re likely to see plenty of shifting compliance needs as we go into 2022. By being aware of these changes, you can better prepare your learners to deal with the challenges that come with regulatory changes.