Training is not always a choice, in some cases it’s the law

It is important to make the right choices when it comes to staff training, but as Nimble Elearning points out – make the wrong decision and you could fall foul of the law!

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
As Nimble Elearning explains, businesses need to be aware that some of the training choices it might want to make are not their own.
As Nimble Elearning explains, businesses need to be aware that some of the training choices it might want to make are not their own.

As Nimble Elearning explains, businesses need to be aware that some of the training choices it might want to make are not their own.

Few would doubt staff training is important for a business and can even be transformational. It can increase productivity, staff retention, standards, reputation – the list goes on.

And while this is recognised by businesses – it remains a balancing act for many as they weigh the benefits against the costs.

But there is some training that is essential – and which employers are legally obliged to provide for their staff. Failure to do so is quite simply breaking the law.

About the expert – Hannah Davies, learning adviser at Nimble Elearning

Hannah Davies

Nimble founder and managing director, Neil Hyde, was convinced there was a clear gap in the market for a product that would make it easy for companies of any size to build their own engaging online courses, release them to their teams and track results.

From its official launch in 2014, Nimble has attracted customers nationally and locally and continues to evolve. But its mission remains the same – ‘to empower every company to provide quality, online training to their teams, easily’.

Is there some staff training that companies simply must deliver?

Absolutely. There are some things that are a matter of compliance: these aren’t training courses that are a nice-to-have, but simply must be completed in order to fulfil the requirements of the law.

Of course, it’s important for organisations to invest in the professional development of their staff – but here, we’re talking about boxes that must be ticked to protect employees, customers or data.

Can you list the kinds of topics we are talking about?

Depending on the sector or industry, there may be a range of topics that are required, but generally speaking we encounter these common requirements for compliance training:

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) training for those organisations handling sensitive data that passes through the EU, and UK GDPR for all UK businesses working with certain categories of data,as mandated by the Information Commissioner’s Office..

Information security training to ensure best practices are followed when working with IT equipment and company data.

Anti-bribery and anti-money laundering training to ensure employees can spot potential criminal or fraudulent activity.

Health and safety training as legally required by the Health and Safety Executive, potentially including fire safety, working at height and manual handling (plus of course specific requirements for certain industries, such as food safety)

Safeguarding principles for those working with children or vulnerable adults.

And a big one for many organisations now adopting a remote or hybrid working model: Display Screen Equipment (DSE) training to ensure that employees have set up their workstation safely – actually a legal requirement for employers whose staff use a screen for an hour or more each day.

Is a business likely to feel the full force of the law if it is not compliant?

That is a possibility. I’m sure we’ve all read stories of organisations being caught out, both large and small; in 2020, several large UK companies were fined over £1 million for health and safety breaches, while Amazon incurred a massive £636m fine for contravening GDPR rules.

Even if a business evades its legal obligations and gets away with it today, they are setting themselves up for a much bigger problem down the line.

As a company owner, imagine the reputational damage (let alone monetary cost in terms of fines!) if one of your employees is found to have sent sensitive customer data via inappropriate channels, accepted a gift that could be construed as a bribe, or unwittingly processed a fraudulent transaction?

We all make mistakes – but if, as the leader of an organisation, you have failed to provide the necessary training, you will be the one held to be at fault.

Consider also the potential for injury to staff if critical health and safety training is neglected. Keeping safe at work may seem like common sense to you, but we all come to the workplace with varying levels of experience – and failing to provide safety training will perpetuate a culture of cutting corners and taking unnecessary risks that could cost someone their livelihood (or even their life).

Businesses will still be looking at its costs – worrying if the courses they pay for are adequate. What can you say to reassure them?

Choose your method of training (and training provider) wisely, and you can ensure you and your employees are fully compliant – without breaking the bank.

The first thing to consider is the possibility of using elearning to deliver critical compliance training; for many businesses, this will be the best solution (and if hands-on training is also required in your industry, elearning can provide a solid foundation for any in-person workshops).

One of the biggest benefits of online training is the reduction in cost compared to face-to-face sessions: no travel time or expenses, just a course that your employees can access anytime, anywhere.

You’ll want to choose a course provider you can trust, who use subject matter experts to ensure their training is always up to date with the latest legislation. Look out for CPD certification too.

Can an employer have an open conversation with Nimble Elearning to run through what it may or may not need to cover off and how they might do so?

We’re always open to a conversation and providing advice where we can. At Nimble, we pride ourselves on providing a personal service to every customer; we’d love to chat with you and help you navigate the legislation that applies (and doesn’t apply!) to your organisation.

Can Nimble Elearning tailor its courses for individual sectors/companies which might have specific requirements and need a flexible approach?

One of the great things about Nimble Courses is the option to use our simple authoring tool, Nimble Author 2, to make any tweaks or quick edits yourself.

Many of our customers find that this gives them the flexibility they need to add branding and logos, or to personalise the course content slightly to make it more relevant to their industry.

However, we also offer more comprehensive support for those organisations wanting to take their training to the next level, and perhaps even create courses of their own – Nimble will be there every step of the way.

If a business takes on a new member of staff after everyone else is trained, or need to train just one or two members of staff, how can that still be cost effective for them?

This is the real beauty of delivering elearning using a Learning Management System like Nimble LMS! The course is ready to go, so if a new starter joins, you simply enrol them via the LMS.

Within moments, they’ll receive an email and can get going with their training – and as your employer, you can easily see when they’ve completed it (and if there were any areas they struggled with).

At Nimble, our pricing is simple, fair, transparent, and we display it on our website. It’s all down to the number of learners you have. We have flexible pricing plans to suit all budgets, and we’re the only elearning company that has a pay-as-you-go plan, which is perfect if you have less than 150 learners.

If there is a need to update training as legislation and guidance changes, can the employer rely on the training partner to inform them so they can ensure their staff are up to date?

We make every effort to ensure our off-the-shelf courses are continually updated to reflect any changes and we communicate those changes to organisations who are using them. We always ensure there are new versions of a course available to our customers. This is something that every course provider should be doing!

When it comes to deciding on training generally, how would you suggest a firm looks at deciding its priorities and working out the best return on investment?

First, get the basics covered: check you’re compliant with any relevant legislation and your employees are equipped with the knowledge they need to stay safe at work. Once that’s in place, consider performing a training needs analysis.

This is something that learning and development (L&D) professionals will usually undertake in a larger organisation – but if your business is a little small to have a dedicated learning department, it’s still a worthwhile exercise!

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are our main goals as an organisation over the next year?
2. How are we performing in relation to those goals right now?
3. What’s currently holding us back?

By thinking about what the whole business is aiming for, you can begin to pinpoint where training might be required; for example, it could be that the average sale amount is too low, or that customer satisfaction is lagging behind.

Consider how your whole organisation can work together to improve the picture, with training being just one piece of the puzzle.

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