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15 questions to ask when purchasing a compliance management solution

As compliance teams look to meet ongoing regulatory requirements, they are often faced with a dilemma: Should they adopt an internal training solution managed by other corporate functions such as HR or IT, or investigate the market for a purpose-built ethics and compliance management solution? The US Department of Justice’s evaluation of corporate compliance programs (updated June 2020) notes that a “hallmark of a well-designed compliance program is appropriately tailored training and communications.” DOJ guidance also notes that an organization’s E&C program must be clearly separated and distinct from wider organizational training and communications. Therefore, the ability to deliver customized learning that is well integrated with the overall compliance program of the organization is key. This is where a compliance management platform makes a big difference. 

What is a compliance management platform? Is it an LMS solution? 

A world-class ethics and compliance management solution is not a learning management system (LMS). A true solution that caters to the needs of chief ethics and compliance officers (CECOs) blends in the best elements of compliance management, such as: 

How to find the best ethics and compliance management solutions 

As part of redesigning LRN Catalyst, LRN’s ethics and compliance management platform which recently launched, the product team spent many hours having deep conversations with CECOs, compliance owners, and industry experts to understand the key questions to ask when evaluating a world-class compliance management solution. If you are in the market evaluating a solution, these 15 questions will help guide your decision. 

Does the learning content cover relevant compliance risk areas? 

Regardless of the tool you choose, content that is relevant and applicable to your organization is critical. Make sure that the content library contains relevant risk topics, that the content is updated, and that its tone will appeal to your organizational culture.  

Can I easily make the content relevant to my organization’s needs? 

Getting great content that cannot be edited or tailored to your organization will reduce effectiveness of any training delivered. Ensure the tool comes with editing capabilities that allow you to edit the text, add organization branding, images, audio, video, and quizzes.   

Does the compliance management platform have an easy way to keep up with legal updates? 

Once you have tailored courses to your organizational need and completed the translations required, it can become very time consuming to merge legal updates into each course. A tool feature that allows your organization to automatically merge legal updates with existing edits would ensure longevity of your compliance program and reduce vast manual work needed every time a rule is changed. 

Does the tool have adaptive capabilities to personalize the user journey? 

Having an ethics and compliance training course that does not tailor the content based on user profile or knowledge will quickly bore your learners. A good tool will have the ability to add a role-based profiler to tailor content, test out and test down options, and other scenario capabilities to customize the user journey. 

Does this ethics and compliance management solution support localization? 

As organizations typically support a global workforce, both the courses delivered and the end-user interface must support a multilingual interface. Ask about the internationalization capability and number of languages supported by the product. 

Does it allow users to disclose conflicts of interest? 

A compliance management platform with integrated disclosure capabilities can enable you to capture conflict of interest information right after employees have been trained on topics like code of conduct, company policies, and giving/receiving gifts. Chief ethics and compliance officers tell us they receive a lot of disclosures from employees right after their major campaigns. 

Does it provide a clean and modern user experience? 

A modern user experience that is line with consumer software is a baseline expectation for most users. Business users now expect the same capabilities in the software deployed in the enterprise as they are getting with the apps on their phone. Any tool you purchase must meet this requirement. 

Do the courses and platform meet accessibility standards? 

Hand in hand with user experience is the need for accessibility. The WCAG 2.1 AA is a current guideline—and the de facto standard—for accessibility on the web. The compliance management solutions you are looking at must meet this standard both visually and programmatically. Ideally, the tool should go beyond the basic accessibility standard and focus on inclusive design to meet needs of variously abled users. 

Does the compliance management platform work for mobile learners? 

With the pandemic, many users continue to work remotely. Most organizations also have a significant number of mobile employees such as sales, operations, and services teams. It is important that a tool you choose follows a responsive design and works seamlessly on multiple browsers and device combinations. 

Can I drive completion through automated and tailored reminders? 

Compliance training is not on the top of everyone’s to-do list, so a tool that can remind users to go back in and complete the course removes the task of manual reminders. In addition, the tool should have strong segmentation capabilities so you can send tailored reminders based on users—for example, someone who has only two pages to finish should get a different reminder than someone who has not started the course.   

Can the tool track compliance analytics beyond completions and pass/fail scores? 

Most tools can track course completions and pass/fail scores but fail to capture rich information about culture and user performance. For instance: Are users passing their quiz on the first attempt or fourth attempt? Is a particular team or division scoring the bare minimum on a particular topic and require remedial training? What do the responses about organizational justice and speak-up culture tell us about the culture of our organization? Look for a tool that can provide this level of detail. 

Can I benchmark my compliance program with similarly sized organizations? 

Because of the often small number and idiosyncratic nature of reports and incidents over time, it can be hard for any organization to know if they are improving compliance. So, how do you know if you are making progress? That’s where benchmarking comes in. A world-class tool will not only capture data, but also let you compare your progress across time and with peers in training, learning effectiveness, and culture across multiple dimensions.   

Can I reinforce ethics and compliance learning through campaigns? 

In additional to delivering courses, ask if the compliance management platform can also deliver reinforcement learning. This can be in the form of email tips, infographics, or actual quizzes from content. 

How does the tool meet performance and security needs? 

Selecting a compliance management solution that does not run on an enterprise cloud platform will likely have uptime and responsiveness issues. Inquire about the tool provider’s infrastructure and security standards, such as ISO 27001. 

What is the roadmap of the ethics and compliance management product?  

A technology tool that does not have an active development queue will quickly get left behind as new user experiences are developed. Ask about how the tool vendor is innovating, how large the development team is, and what features are planned for the short- and long-term roadmap. This will give you a sense of both the health of the vendor and the heath of the tool.   

The key takeaway 

An effective compliance management solution should include a powerful set of capabilities and complementary tools intentionally developed for the ethics and compliance market. Benchmarking data, flexible course editing, defensible disclosures, and superior accessibility via UX and instructional design are all essential features to look out for in your next solution. If you are in the market for an ethics and compliance management platform, check out LRN Catalyst for more information.