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Should learning and development departments build or buy compliance training?

When it comes to training, learning and development departments often have to choose which programs to develop in-house, where they serve as their own subject matter experts, and which program development should be outsourced. Because time and staff are limited, rarely do they have the luxury of developing a custom training program for every one of the organization’s needs.
Many learning and development departments question where compliance training fits in its hierarchy of needs. Here are some tips on how to help make that critical decision.

Focus on unique features of your organization

If resources are limited, it’s best to focus on the training needs that are unique to your business. These are programs that center on your individual sales process or customer service programs. They are the products or services that differentiate you from other providers. It’s what you know and what you do best. If an outside training company took over this responsibility, it would require a substantial learning curve to learn the process and be able to accurately communicate it to employees and thus, effectively improve performance.

Where compliance training fits

Compliance training and topics like civility, diversity and inclusion, or sexual harassment are highly specialized, but not unique to your company. The acceptable behaviors and rules are consistent from company to company and training does not require the same type of customization as, for example, a sales process requires.
An outside vendor who lives and breathes compliance will naturally be aware of all the requirements and nuances that a compliance training programs requires. If your learning and development department took on this initiative, it would require a substantial amount of time and consultation with subject matter experts—and it doesn’t stop there.

It’s more than just a presentation

Topics such as harassment, duty to act, and retaliation are rooted in employment law and can require specialists from across an organization. This will likely require engagement from multiple departments including Human Resources, Legal and Employee Relations. Once the actual content is complete, the message will need to be communicated in a way that is impactful, interesting, interactive, and realistic. To do the job right, this can require video and audio production, script development, editing, lighting, actors, and more. Lastly, compliance training is not static and requires periodic updates. The information must be kept current with changing laws. It’s a laborious process that requires a significant amount of time and resources.

Make a smart investment

Businesses today realize the benefit of focusing on what they do best and leaving other experts to do the same. If your learning and development department is well versed in compliance training and has the bandwidth to create custom programs, then it may make sense to leave the course development in-house. However, if your group is already over-committed or doesn’t have experience in employment law, the subject matter is too important not to give it the attention it deserves.
Ultimately, you have to make the smartest choice for the investment of your resources. Regardless of whether it’s staff salaries or outside vendor costs, your ultimate goal is to earn the highest return on your investment. We can all agree that the best advice is to leave the training to the experts. Whether those experts are your learning and development team or the trainers from an outsourced company is for you to decide.

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