Sweet from Sour CPD

Sweet from Sour CPD

Compliance requirements are often viewed as an onerous set of obligations that can contribute to the drag on uptake, retention and completion of training, particularly in response to shifts in regulatory and consumer expectations.

Reframing the discussion as part of an educational toolkit to help lift your personnel, an organisation or public reputation presents a unique opportunity to address the pitfalls of compliance training.

Where to begin?
In order to correctly frame the benefits of compliance training, it is important to first establish the rigor of the compliance itself.

Some professions have lower obligations than others and may only have to meet general requirements around workplace health and safety, finance and taxation matters, non-discriminatory hiring or fair dealings with clients and customers.

Others such as healthcare, community services, construction and organisations in the finance sector have a wide range of compliance obligations and in many cases have external penalties for non-compliance.

For some professions, however, the requirements are mandatory and a condition of remaining registered as a practitioner in the profession.

Architects, for example, must accrue CPD points annually to remain registered with the Australian Institute of Architects or state Architect registration boards. This registration is the key that unlocks commercial opportunities, and without it, a practitioner cannot legally use the title ‘architect’ in their business dealings.

With these different tiers of compliance requirements in mind, understanding how best to articulate the benefits of CPD becomes easier.

As an organisation, the ‘you’ in this case, it is important to think about the broader benefits of CPD when planning for your people. There is more to compliance with any statutory or industry CPD requirements than just ticking the box and moving on.

No profession operates in a void, and CPD is an effective way of ensuring your organisation is across any important regulatory changes, market trends or new innovations.

CPD has also been shown to increase staff engagement, generate greater job satisfaction and build organisational reputation. Stakeholders and clients feel greater trust in professionals who can demonstrate they have continued to grow their knowledge and capability.

With respect to individual members, practitioners or personnel, the figurative ‘me’ in our discussion, framing the direct benefits they can accrue outside of the broader industry can be critical to uptake and completion.

Highlighting some forms of CPD such as workshops, seminars, conferences and field trips can be a valuable opportunity for networking, profile-building and broadening knowledge for the individual. As a spill over benefit, it can also help position your organisation as an employer of choice that recruits, retools and retains the best talent.

As discussed, many professions are subject to continually evolving regulation and compliance obligations. Social, safety and economic drivers for the broader public, ‘us’, can effect these changes directly. For these industries, framing the benefit of these most stringent requirement is actually the simplest. It is an all or nothing proposition with the end result being loss of practising license or accreditation if incomplete.

Chartered Accountants have mandated CPD to remain registered, with a requirement to complete at least 20 hours of CPD annually and at least 120 hours over every three-year period, comprising at least 90 hours of formal CPD.

Given the way taxation and finance regulations constantly evolve and change including personal taxation rules, company reporting obligations and the growing emphasis on reporting on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters such as carbon emissions or Modern Slavery in the supply chain, staying current is vital to providing the best level of service for clients.

Likewise, the construction industry is now in a process of transitioning to a greater degree of mandatory CPD requirements. In NSW, for example, the Design and Building Practitioners Act is requiring all builders, engineers and many of the key sub-trades to provide evidence they have completed formal CPD. This is a condition of the practitioner retaining a license to work on commercial construction projects.

More broadly, as part of addressing issues of quality and construction code compliance within the industry, the Australian Building Codes Board has developed CPD courses that assist builders, engineers and trades to improve their understanding of specific parts of the National Construction Code. The NCC CPD is not mandatory, but as it is formal CPD, completion can contribute towards any mandatory CPD requirements the participant is subject to.

The benefit here lies not only within the organisation or the individual but ripples outward and resonates with the wider public, ensuring a better reputation for the industry and its participants.

So regardless of the mandatory or voluntary nature of the CPD training, the key to avoiding the drag on engagement is properly articulating the benefits beyond the obligations themselves.

Who knows, with a little bit of sugar, CPD training can be turned from a pile of lemons into capacity-building, morale-boosting lemonade.