My “love” for compliance began long before the certificate program. I worked at a hospital was accredited by the Joint Commission. We underwent regular audits to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and our own written policies and procedures. Even though I had been in HR for a number of years, this was my first taste of a regular audit (something that doesn’t really happen in HR). Outsiders would come in and review your files, ask questions of you of staff. They weren’t trying to trip up anyone, but it certainly felt like it sometimes. But I enjoyed seeing how it all fit together and I also started seeing how we needed to reframe the conversation. We shouldn’t do what the laws and regulations said because they were there, but because most of the time it was the right thing to do.
Part of the audit is always on training. Today, I did some of that fun, annual training that everyone needs to complete because we have a policy that says we do or there’s a law that says we have to. So, we look for the easiest, quickest, cheapest way to complete the training and check off the box on each employee so we can tell the auditors that “Yes, see, we do provide training. They even took a short quiz to prove they completed it and understand it.” And will forget it as soon as we close the browser …
I get that we can’t give everyone individualized training. And I understand the challenges of getting staff to actually read those emails you send, much less understand and ask questions if they don’t. I’ve been doing this long enough. But can we start being a little smarter about some of this training?
As a hospital employee, I had to attend training on the safe handling of blood born pathogens. After 7 years of training, do you know what I remember? “If you see blood, call someone else.” I worked in an office with zero patient contact. Any blood I came into contact with in that office was most likely my own. Was that worth the time? I don’t know, but I can tell you HR was always the one department with 100% compliance for test completion. We were able to check off that box!
With all the technology today, it shouldn’t be that difficult to assign modules to people based on their position and current skill level. Does it make sense to have your experienced HR people take an intro to interviewing? Probably not. The new secretary that will participate in an upcoming interview? Probably. And is it perhaps better to look at just-in-time training for some situations (like interviewing) so the information is fresh rather than a year or so old by the time the opportunity arises
As we look to being compliant, I’d like to propose we start looking for new and different ways to get training to people so they have it when they needed it and have the necessary information to do their job. Some times we might want a one size fits all approach but let’s look at different options. Our employees will get more out of the compliance training if we can figure out how to make it more meaningful than just being able to check the box.