Posted by John Kleeman
A large organization relies on a chain of actions taken by its geographically and functionally separated employees to execute its business. In order to comply with regulations, employees must act competently and follow proper procedures; employees’ weaknesses or failures can impact business and/or jeopardize an organization’s ability to demonstrate regulatory compliance.
Assessments delivered online to employees are one of the few ways — and likely the best way — to touch individually on your entire workforce and ensure that they understand their role in your business and what is required of them to meet business and regulatory needs.
Online assessments have always been heavily used in compliance, but now they are turning to assessments more than ever before. Why? Here are 7 good reasons why most large companies see online assessments as a critical part of their compliance programmes:
1.The most compelling reason to conduct assessments is that they are legally required! Many regulators specifically require periodic assessments, others require companies to ensure that their staff are competent without specifying in detail how this is to be done. But increasingly regulators are upping the ante, and requesting more evidence for compliance.
2. Another reason is to demonstrate commitment to complying with laws making it less likely in some jurisdictions that your company will be prosecuted if an individual missteps. By having assessments that everyone has to take, including senior managers, you are showing you take compliance seriously. To quote the US Department of Justice:

Prosecutors should therefore attempt to determine whether a corporation’s compliance program is merely a “paper program” or whether it was designed and implemented in an effective manner. … In addition, prosecutors should determine whether the corporation’s employees are adequately informed about the compliance program and are convinced of the corporation’s commitment to it. This will enable the prosecutor to make an informed decision as to whether the corporation has adopted and implemented a truly effective compliance program that, … may result in a decision to charge only the corporation’s employees and agents.

3. Assessments are the best way to document that training needed for compliance has taken place. See Proving compliance – not just attendance for more on this.
4. Assessments can give early warning of problems before they impact. With increasing fines, e.g. for corruption, this matters. To quote the UK Ministry of Justice:

“Staff surveys, questionnaires and feedback from training can also provide an important source of information on effectiveness and a means by which employees and other associated persons can inform continuing improvement of anti-bribery policies.”

5. Assessments can reduce time spent in unnecessary training by allowing capable employees to “test out” of compliance training. See Save Time by Testing Out of Compliance Training? for more on this.
6. As readers of this blog will be aware, online assessments help employees learn and help you direct where they need to learn. Most successful organizations don’t just train for the sake of compliance: they use compliance mandated training for business advantage by increasing employee skill and service levels.
7. Trying to get the information you need from your employees to prove compliance would be much more expensive and costly and error-prone without online assessment!
For more on this topic, click here.