POPI training – Who needs it?

We’ve all been there: the stuffy room with the uncomfortable seats, the monotonous drone of the facilitator reciting legislation – he’s somewhere in the middle of a 144-slide PowerPoint presentation and you are somewhere else completely. When I get confronted with this type of compliance training I am reminded of the expression ‘one size fits all, fits no-one’. This has led me to adopt the following mantra when designing training: If I don’t want a person to do something different tomorrow, I don’t train them.

When it comes to POPI, training is incredibly important, because POPI compliance requires a series of small behavioural changes. These changes often fall within two categories:

  • Slight mind shifts. For instance, most people don’t realise how dangerous it is to throw paper with personal information on it (such as statements) in the bin. We made a video about it…
  • Changes in processes. POPI compliance often requires changes to policies and processes. In other words, employees will be asked to do their jobs differently, to follow a new policy or to use a new system.

There will be very few people in your businesses who does not need POPI training – most people come into contact with personal information at some point during their day. The key to successful training is to differentiate between requirements.

The first step in designing effective training is to divide them into audiences. Here are some typical groupings:

  • Management: They will need to understand wat the impact of POPI will be on the business and employees at a high level.
  • Sales and marketing: There are very specific rules about the collection of personal information and how information is used to analyse trends and market to people.
  • Customer services and the call centre: They will need to understand how to handle customer information. Poorly trained call centres are a treasure trove for identity thieves.
  • Human Resources: HR handles very sensitive employee information. Many of their processes will have to change.
  • Operations: They will need to tackle many of the practical problems created by POPI. For example, how are we going to archive and destroy personal information?
  • Finance: Always remember that companies are also protected by POPI. This means that finance will have to look at how the personal information of vendors is processed.

The list goes on, but the point is simple: Always ask ‘is this relevant to this person?’ or ‘what needs to change about how they do their jobs tomorrow?’ You will find that your training will be much shorter and less boring.

Here are 10 reasons why we believe e-learning is the way to go.

#1 E-learning can be customised for your company, but also for each individual user. It is the best way to ensure that training is targeted.

#2 Employees can learn when it suits them without leaving their desks (unless they want to leave their desks, e-learning can be delivered via mobile too). There is also less expensive downtime than when you train large groups of people in a workshop setting.

#3 They don’t have to do all the training at once. This means that when they start feeling overwhelmed they can stop.

#4 E-learning forces all of the trainees to interact with the information, not just the nerdy types who sit in front and put their hand up in workshops.

#5 There is a saying in compliance circles: ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.’ The biggest problem with sage on the stage training is that you have no way of measuring whether the training was successful. With e-learning you know exactly how each employee fared, because it is possible to generate reports based on participation and assessment.

#6 It is easier to make sure that everybody is up to date with new developments. When things change, users can be alerted and trained.

#7 Training someone once, does not mean that their behaviour will be changed forever. E-learning platforms make it easier to assess when people need refresher training, by testing them from time to time.

#8 We tend to focus on the people working in the business at the time when the compliance training is needed, but forget about new employees. E-learning can form part of induction training.

#9 Unlike facilitators in a workshop setting who disappear after the session is done (and if they are outsiders, are often never seen again), e-learning sticks around for as long as you want it to. This means that employees can use the material as a guide long after they have completed the training. So it is like e-learning and an online guide rolled into one.

#10 E-learning shows the business that the compliance department has arrived in the 21st century. Unless you still use Latin, in which case we cannot help you.

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