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5 Ways to Improve GRC Training at a Distance

This blog article was written prior to LEO Learning becoming part of GP Strategies.

As mass remote working continues to be the norm for many and is becoming a permanent part of the world of work for some organizations, it’s vital we look at how best to maintain and develop regulatory training programs.

What Is Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Training?

GRC training is an ever-expanding topic, so it can be hard to pin down. GRC covers mandatory training topics set by law and regulation, but it increasingly encompasses a broader set of topics selected by the C-suite of the organization itself, including culture, respect in the workplace, and leadership skills.

Whatever your organization’s definition of GRC training is, it’s likely to include mandatory and non-mandatory training across a range of topics. So let’s take a look at how to manage those things in the world we now find ourselves in.

Managing GRC Training Virtually Isn’t New

When you think of GRC training, you might think of the Health & Safety eLearning module you took when you first started at your organization (and likely have to take again on a yearly or six-monthly basis). Or perhaps you think of the Anti-Money Laundering module recently rolled out to employees internationally. 

Ultimately, GRC training has been managed via digital learning for a long time. So managing this virtually, on the whole, isn’t a new thing. Despite the “new normal” we find ourselves in, it’s reassuring as L&D professionals to know that this vital part of employee onboarding and training doesn’t have to be overhauled in the way that other types of training now do.

However, there are elements of GRC training that will need to be moved from face-to-face to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) environments. One example of this is management and leadership training, another is small group training on specialist GRC topics including Client Assets, GDPR, Vulnerable Customers, The Volcker Rule, and Regulatory Updates.

Handling Management and Leadership Training at a Distance

A common theme we’ll see throughout this article is maintaining the human element or connection in training. This is possibly at its most important when it comes to management and leadership training.

In this sense, the need for human connection is two-fold. It’s:

  1. in the way the training is handled
  2. and in the behavioral changes required from your leaders in this newly distanced world of work we find ourselves in

VILT can be a vital tool for helping to both shape management and leaders in the way you had before, but there’s also a distinct need to change both the way this training is run and the areas your leaders and managers are trained in. Managing and leading people at a distance requires a very different approach and skillset to managing people directly in person. So keep that in mind as you read through the rest of this article.

While the format of most of your GRC training may not need to change, there are a number of considerations to make when it comes to the content, delivery, and context of the training itself. Here are five ways to adapt your GRC training to meet the challenges of the ‘new normal’.

1. Keep Training Targeted and Effective

As an increasing percentage of people are working remotely, we’re spending more time than ever looking at screens. Zoom and screen fatigue are on the up. Yes, it’s important to keep learners engaged in this content, but it’s also important we don’t keep them in front of screens for longer than necessary, especially with content that isn’t relevant.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for GRC training to be targeted, addressing the right group of learners about the right topics. Need GRC training that works for both new starters and existing hires? Ask your learning content creator about creating two options in the same module, one for complete training and the other as a refresher.

As L&D professionals, we’ve been pushing against the idea of “one size fits all” training for a long time, but with more distractions and less motivation for training, it’s more important than ever to look at tailored learning solutions. The use of diagnostics and adaptive testing ensures that every minute of learning seat time has purpose and value for both the learner and their organization.

2. Reading Your Audience at a Distance

So what happens when you’re faced with delivering GRC training in a VILT environment? Although these sessions may be for only a select group of employees, it’s still worth knowing how to handle the challenges of virtual classrooms.

LEO’s learning consultants have been researching and compiling learner archetypes and how these change when you’re in a virtual setting. We believe there are four main archetypes that learners move between: The Achiever, The Thinker, The Showperson, and The Dormant. Each will express different levels of internal and external engagement and managing these levels of engagement is vital to success.

3. Changing Learning Content to Reflect the World We Live In

One of the biggest challenges of moving to mass remote working is not only keeping up with GRC training remotely, but adjusting the content available.

With more people than ever working from home, regulations around information security and data protection are especially important to consider. For example, have you considered the repercussions of people taking calls in non-private spaces within their home? Or the possibility of employees logging on to public WiFi?

Also worth considering are the ways in which we deal with vulnerable customers and, of course, with COVID safety measures. GRC training not only applies to those working from home but also to those on the front line, working in healthcare, in essential retail, and in some hospitality venues.

These are all things that need to be considered and covered in your GRC training now that people’s working situations have changed. It’s also worth considering how this will change your organization’s approach to these areas in the future, in a world post-COVID.

4. Adapting GRC Training for Availability and Internet Connectivity

Another challenge we need to face when adapting GRC training to a world where many work from home is accessibility. GRC training would typically take place in an office, with a strong internet connection using office WiFi. As many households now have multiple people working from home, and in some cases children schooling from home, internet connections are under strain.

So it’s worth considering the format of your training. Media-rich content and video-based training may struggle to load or crash while your learners are taking the course(s). There are also many more distractions in the home, so attention may be split between minding children, other people working different jobs in the same room, and other distractions that come with working from home.

In this case, we can look at implementing microlearning practices and reducing the amount of video used in eLearning content. Animation can be a great substitute that requires far less bandwidth, and can therefore be more accessible to your employees regardless of their internet connection or homeworking set up. 

5. Measurement and Data Capture

When it comes to user-friendly eLearning content, and the Learning Management System (LMS) or Learning Experience Platform (LXP) it’s hosted on, it’s always important to account for connectivity issues, timing out, and any other reasons learners may not be able to complete training in one go.

It’s vital that your systems are able to allow learners to pick up where they left off on their training, the same way we see with streaming services like Netflix—even if they have to switch devices to complete their training. Without this, you may see completion rates decrease as learners find it more difficult and time-consuming to complete training, especially if they have to start again from the beginning.

With this comes a consideration of measurement and data capture. Capturing accurate completion and progress data are vital to rolling our GRC courses in any setting, but especially remotely. In a situation where you can no longer provide your learners with a dedicated time and space to complete their learning, it’s incredibly important to ensure accurate measurement can take place from a distance. Robust testing must take place for all content before it’s released to a remote workforce, to ensure higher completion and compliance rates once passed on to your learners.


While GRC training may have traditionally taken place online, there are still a number of factors to consider when creating accessible and manageable training for learners to complete at home. Whether you’re directing leadership training in a VILT session or rolling out a new course about money laundering, keeping the above in mind can help you to maintain completion rates and keep your training relevant to the “new normal” much of your workforce will find themselves in.

Need help with delivering GRC training at a distance? Get in touch.

About the Authors

Liz Hornby
Liz joined the GP Strategies Learning Experience team (previously LEO Learning) 13 years ago and acts as an in-house compliance content specialist. After studying at Nottingham and Cambridge Universities, Liz qualified as a barrister and went on to work for both the London Stock Exchange and The Securities Association (a predecessor of the Financial Conduct Authority). She then moved into compliance, working for Nomura International plc and Goldman Sachs, before becoming a compliance consultant in 1994. As a consultant, she advised and worked with a broad range of financial services firms. Liz has a Masters Degree in International Business Ethics and Corporate Governance from the University of London and a PhD on whistleblowing in the UK banking industry. Liz was Deputy Chairman of the Compliance Forum Committee of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) for many years and is a part-time lecturer in Corporate Governance and Ethics at the University of London.

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