Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. 

In 2019 the total number of users hit 3.484 billion across a wide array of social platforms.

And it’s not hard to see why. 

From Facebook to Twitter to YouTube, social media platforms have revolutionised the way we connect with the world around us. We can share information instantly on a scale never seen before to create online communities that exist for our personal and professional use. 

But it’s not just down to the individual. Social platforms serve as the perfect place for brands to create a connection with their customers in new and exciting ways. Social media — when used strategically — can be one of the most engaging platforms for marketing today. 

Despite how influential social media is today, 73% of companies don’t have an official social media policy.

“It’s a dialogue, not a monologue, and some people don’t understand that. Social media is more like a telephone than a television.” Amy Jo Martin


Social media can have a huge impact on your organisation, from the productivity of your staff to the way that you use it to interact with your customers. Without a clear and concise policy, your organisation and your employees are at risk in more ways than one. 

What is a social media policy? 

A social media policy serves as a set of guidelines that lets your employees know how to act appropriately regarding the use of social media, whether on a personal or organisational level. 

Employees should have access to your social media policy as part of the on-boarding and induction process, and be able to consult it at any point during their employment. 

What should your social media policy cover? 

Your policy should clearly outline the appropriate and inappropriate use of social media in your workplace. At its most basic level, it should align with current legislation and the security needs of your organisation, coving topics such as:

  • Sharing confidential information or in-house operations
  • Posting information or pictures that imply or depict criminal actions
  • Posting defamatory, inflammatory or dangerous content.

However, like other policies, your social media policy should take in to consideration the needs and goals of your organisation, and they can come in all shapes and sizes as a result.

Here are some of the key things your policy should address:  


1) When to use social media in the workplace. 

Social media can blur traditional boundaries between work and personal life, so it’s important to set out clear guidelines for when, if at all, employees can use social media in the workplace.

Outlining when it’s appropriate to use social media in your policy depends on the aims, goals and working culture of your business.

If your organisation chooses to prohibit the use of social media during working hours your policy should state this clearly, particularly if it relates to workplace safety and security. You may also want to outline if and when social media can be used during breaks and at lunchtime. 

Some employees may use their personal media accounts as a way to create professional connections across their industry. If this is true for your organisation, your social media policy should include acceptable time frames that highlight when and how long employees are able to use their accounts during work hours.   

No matter what your organisation’s position is, it’s important that your employees know exactly where they stand on when, if at all, it’s appropriate to use their personal social media in the workplace.

2) Appropriate use of personal social media policy

It’s important to remember that, while you may want to protect your brand, you can’t control what people write about your organisation, including what your employees say on their personal social media accounts.

Discussions surrounding free speech and freedom of expression online have been around longer than social media has, and there are certain laws that your business needs to consider. 

The Human Rights Act 1998 – ensures that all individuals have the ‘right to respect for their private and family life, home and correspondence.’ In short, employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to separating their private lives from the workplace.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 – Details the extent to which employers can monitor or intercept employees’ communications on private and company networks. 

Although you have a responsibility to respect the rights of your employees, they also have a responsibility to you. While your social media policy can’t dictate what employees can and can’t say, it can outline the responsibilities that employees have to act reasonably and responsibly online.  

Organisations can bring disciplinary action against an employee for online behaviour in cases where their actions are unlawful, unfairly brings their employer’s reputation into disrepute or causes harm to their colleagues through online harassment. 

While these issues may be covered in your code of conduct and anti-harassment policy, they should be reinforced in your social media policy so that employees are aware of the impact their social media activities can have.

Ultimately, your social media policy should be fair and balanced -be mindful of your employee’s rights, but also be clear on what you consider appropriate online behaviour regarding your organisation and current legislation. 

3) How to use your organisation’s social media  

If your organisation decides to use social media as part of its marketing strategy,  your policy should highlight the best practices you expect your employees to follow. 


Audiences should feel comfortable engaging with you online, so the tone you use can have a big impact on engagement. But in a world of highly competitive brand personas, mistakes can be easily made, which can damage your reputation and create a PR meltdown.

Be mindful of the language you use online, and include it in your social media policy to ensure a consistent tone and messaging across your platforms. 


As a result, your policy should include clear guidelines on how to create posts and establish a process to ensure that your social media posts are aligned with the aims and goals of your business. 

Providing a clear guide on how to engage your audience can help your team to build rapport with your customers, get ahead of any issues, and may even give rise to positive and organic customer experiences.

Responding to conflict 

Whether its a customer service issue or an online faux pas, tensions can rise online if not directly addressed or responded to appropriately. Maintaining confidence and using the right tone for the situation in all of your online interactions is essential to prevent an issue from becoming a PR disaster. 

Use your policy to provide guidelines on appropriate responses, and that staff members know who to go to within the organisation to handle any issues that develop online. 

Editing process 

It’s important to ensure that any information that your organisation posts are well researched and accurate. If your audience thinks you are careless with your content, it could damage your reputation and credibility not just with your customers, but within your industry as well. 

Outline the editing process that your employees should engage in from start to finish and make sure that everyone knows their role in ensuring the accuracy and quality of the information you put on your social platforms.

4) Security

Like many other internal systems, social media can come with its own security risks, so It’s important to establish a clear process regarding access.  

Who has the authority to post on your accounts and engage with customers? How are passwords/created/changed/distributed? How is access assigned or removed? What are the potential risks?  

Having a policy that addresses these questions can ensure that your employees are aware of how social media can affect your organisational security.  

5) Relevant legal guidelines 

As we’ve seen, social media can often be a grey area in terms of legislation, so it’s important to highlight these concerns in your social media policy.

Things you may want to cover include.

  • Privacy and disclosure procedures
  • Copyright law 
  • How to credit sources 
  • Industry-specific regulations regarding content (e.g medical, legal, financial) 
  • Disclaimers

Including a section dedicated to these legal considerations in your social media policy ensures your organisation remains compliant and that your media activity is above reproach.


Every organisation will have a different approach to social media, but one thing is certain – the needs and goals of your business can play a big part in determining your approach. 

As a result, creating an effective social media policy in the workplace can feel like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be.

Remember, a policy not just about setting restrictions – it’s about ensuring that everyone understands what’s expected of them regarding the use of social media in the workplace. 

So conduct research, assess your roadmap, examine your work culture, and even ask your employees what they think. The information that you find can be the first step in creating a fair, balanced and effective social media policy in your workplace. 



Global social media research summary 2019

Digital Marketing Journal – 73%  of companies don’t have employee social media policies 


Need to train your staff in the appropriate use of social media in the workplace? Check out the EssentialSkillz Internet, Email & Social Media course.

This article is purely for informational purposes. Follow these links to find more information on the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000


To operate, legally, as an organisation you have to conform to an array of legislation, regulations, mandatory and voluntary standards. The regulations can come from a wide variety of places. For example your national government, the European Union, organisations such as the World Trade Organization, trade agreements (e.g NAFTA) or foreign government legislation. Adhering to these is what we mean by compliance

There are direct financial and legal reasons for having a compliance programme. When handing out the largest ever fine (£20m) for a breach of environmental standards the judge in the case cited the organisation’s ‘history of non-compliance’. A chief executive of a financial organisation was fined almost £1m for being non-compliant with regulations in relation to whistleblowing. 

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Compliance areas like money laundering, modern slavery and whistleblowing could seem abstract to some organisations. Many managers would be forgiven for saying ‘We aren’t a financial organisation so maybe compliance isn’t for us.’ However, the introduction of GDPR meant that organisation can’t ignore their compliance obligations, no matter their size or scope. With the threat of fines up to €20 million, or 4% of their annual revenue, organisations across all industries and sectors moved quickly to ensure their operations were and remain compliant with the new guidelines. 

There is another major reason to be compliant

The quality of your service or product is, of course, the key to success. However, most business leaders will point to brand name and reputation as the second most important factor in the success of an organisation. Indeed, being compliant helps to protect against unnecessary damage to your brand name. If your organisation loses important customer data on the street, your reputation and credibility can suffer, so when it comes to deciding between your organisation and a competitor that has never lost data, your prospect will probably go for the safest option. This can have an incalculable negative impact on your profit margins and reputation, which could potentially have been avoided with proper IT security policy and effective training.

From 2008 to 2017 there was a £40 billion growth in the ethical goods* market. This growth is the result of the spending power of millennials, generation y and generation z becoming a bigger factor in the market. These demographics care more about the ethics behind the goods and services they use than previous generations of consumers. They care that your organisation is compliant with modern slavery legislation, they care about environmental standards and they care that their data is secure. They care about this as consumers and also as employees.

Note: Ethical goods are goods which were ethically made or do not harm the environment and society. Organic, free-range food and fairtrade products are examples.

The United Kingdom enacted its Modern Slavery Act in 2015. One of the principles behind this legislation is that reputation matters to organisations and business ethics matter to consumers. The legislation requires certain organisations to publish annual statements on their efforts to combat modern slavery. The Secretary of State can force compliance through the high court. However, the government expects stakeholders (e.g consumers or shareholders) to hold companies to account. 


How do you implement a compliance programme?

Implementing a compliance programme is a large project. A good compliance programme will look something like this:

1) Knowing the scope is the first step and also an ongoing step. You need to know about all the regulations that govern your industry. You also need to list the internal compliance requirements.

2) Gather information from inside and outside your organisation. Leverage the knowledge of board members, managers, and employees. There is likely to be a wealth of information here. Research industry developments, analyse how your competitors implement compliance programmes and perhaps consult with relevant professionals.

3) Set down the goals that you need to work towards.

4) A risk assessment will help you prioritise. You will not only identify risks but will also be able to analyse the probability and potential damage of each risk. This means you can appropriately focus your efforts.

5) Align your policies, procedures and processes. They need to work together to have a meaningful impact. 

6) Is everything understood? Stakeholders need to know their roles. Does a policy assign responsibility to someone specific? They need to know this. Does a policy create a new process? The relevant parties need to know. Communicate with anyone with responsibilities and encourage feedback.

7) Is there a buy-in?  It is easy to have policies. In fact, there are some freely available on the internet that are ready to go! However, the organisation needs to be ready and willing to embrace them. You might want to gauge buy-in with surveys or reviews.

8) Ongoing assessment, e.g reviews, audits, monitoring and continuing oversight, is needed. Once things are in place, you need to make sure everything operates effectively. Ongoing monitoring also helps to find gaps not previously considered in the risk assessment.

9) Employees, managers and executives will need targeted, periodic and recurrent training.

10) You should define your key performance indicators and any other quantifiable outcomes of your compliance programme. Gather the relevant information and share it with all the relevant stakeholders. You need to measure your success and your failures!


What do you have to comply with?

The regulatory and compliance landscape facing organisations is constantly changing and expanding. PwC remarked that regulation and compliance legislation is a ‘growth industry’. The annual Cost of Compliance Survey released by Thomson Reuters analysed on average  216 regulatory updates a day in 2018 (this was increased from 201 in 2017). 

The specifics of what your organisation needs to comply with depends on your organisation. There are broad topics that apply to all organisations, for example, health and safety, fraud prevention, equality and diversity, and GDPR. 

There are industry-specific compliance issues. For example, companies in the food industry have numerous standards they have to adhere to. Certain types of financial organisations have specific and strict rules to follow in relation to money laundering. The majority of public organisations (e.g state-owned)  have to follow guidelines in relation to the Freedom of Information Act.

Does your organisation operate in multiple countries and across different regions? This could heighten your responsibilities in terms of anti-bribery laws and anti-modern slavery laws. Your organisation might also have to consider the subtleties of country-specific legislation.

The two pillars of compliance 

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. It doesn’t matter whether your organisation is big or small, or even whether it is publicly or privately owned. There are two pillars on which a compliance programme rests:

  1. Policies
  2. Training

These pillars work in tandem. When these pillars are absent or poorly implemented, the results can be disastrous. In a worst case scenario of a violation by an employee for example, you will want to show that they have read the policy read the policy and completed their training.


Why are policies so important?

Policies are important as they:

  • Outline to employees what is expected of them in terms of their behaviour, ethics, and performance standards.
  • Enable an organisation to have clear and consistent responses across different departments of the company
  • Demonstrate to regulators that the organisation is serious about being compliant with all relevant standards
  • Are necessary to be compliant with certain legislation

Policies set the tone for an organisation and have an important impact on an organisation’s internal culture. This was demonstrated starkly in 2018 with the collapse of facilities management and construction company, Carillion. The collapse was a result of ‘rotten corporate culture’, ‘incredibly poor standards’, ‘conflicts of interest’ and ‘basic failings of governance’


Why is compliance training so important?

Your organisation could invest time researching the regulatory framework in which it operates. It could hire internal or external compliance experts and consultants. It could put in place technology, procedures and equipment to ensure compliance. The compliance team or management could write policies and email them to staff to finalise the compliance project. 

This will all be undone if employees do not understand the policies and procedures. All it would take is one accident or one misunderstanding by a staff member to expose the whole organisation. Training is the thread that holds compliance together. Employees do not need to know the minutiae of the regulation – just the basics, how it affects their role and why it matters. 

PwC Denmark commissioned a report called ‘Getting ahead of the watchdogs: Real-time compliance management 2018 State of Compliance’. The report ranks organisations into categories of Leaders (i.e those with the best compliance programmes), Fast Followers (second-best) and finally Strivers. The report states:

‘Compliance training and communications are more comprehensive and up-to-date at Leaders than at Fast Followers and Strivers. Leaders also are more often using multiple sources of information to inform and target their training and think creatively about new ways to digitally engage employees in training activities. All of those actions positively affect their orgainisations overall risk profiles. Employees are familiar with the risks and behaviors that are permissible and those that are impermissible, and they’re therefore less likely to do things that would place the organsations at higher risk.’


How do you choose compliance training that’s right for your organisation?

The compliance training topics your organisation needs should become apparent during the risk assessment and research stage. For example, a financial organisation might need policies, procedures and therefore training on the fair treatment of customers. However, how you choose to deliver the training might be less clear. 

Increasingly, companies are turning to eLearning to provide training for their employees. Some companies use only eLearning content and others use a blend of instructor-led training and eLearning. The eLearning market has grown year on year since 2009.

But what’s the reason behind it?


One study found that for every dollar spent on eLearning there was a $30 return on productivity. eLearning is cheaper, takes less time to complete, requires no travelling to and from a classroom, and some research indicates it might improve knowledge retention over classroom study. 

The case for eLearning

In the 1990s IBM made a conscious effort to reorganise and modernise the organisation. They had employees spread across the world, high staff turnover and challenges to their revenue. Their cumbersome internal training systems were one aspect of the business they tried to improve. One pillar of the solution was eLearning. They credit eLearning with annual savings of $350M and with a more loyal, more flexible and more productive workforce.


Content is king

To get the most out of your eLearning and maximise compliance, choose a well-constructed course with clear, accurate and engaging content. One term to keep in mind while looking is active learning.

Active learning is a teaching methodology that is used in all levels of education. From the early years of education up to third level and adult education. Active learning might have been a part of your own education. Group discussion, debates, brainstorming activities and different types of educational games are common examples of active learning in a classroom setting. The opposite is known as passive learning. An example of this would be a student listening to a lecture. 

The goal of active learning is to engage the learner in the process of knowledge construction. Through active learning, learners internalise what they have learned and increase their ability to recall (i.e use knowledge) when called upon. This is crucial to help employees act in a compliant manner during the hustle and bustle of the average (or not so average) workday!  

Examples of active learning strategies

Pre-testing: You learn from your mistakes. It is common knowledge. You make a mistake with a recipe, you figure out what went wrong and resolve to improve the next time. This translates to formal learning as well. Research into the educational value of pre-testing (test questions being asked before learners read content) concluded:

‘Even if tests are not answered successfully, they have the potential to improve future learning, as measured by both immediate and delayed performance measures. This finding suggests that using tests as learning events in educational settings could have lasting benefits for learners’ content acquisition, and that tests should be considered a potent learning opportunity, rather than simply as an assessment measure.’

eLearning is a good environment for this type of pre-testing. The environment is risk-free. Any fear of public embarrassment (i.e fear of being wrong publicly) is not present. Ungraded pre-test questions in an eLearning course allow learners to make and learn from their mistakes without these risks. 

Source : Source

Case studies: In educational theory, cases studies are stories or narratives with information written to invite analysis by learners. They will include a description of a problem and provide some important data (e.g stats, quotes, images). In many cases, some data will be purposely left out. Learners are put in the position of making decisions or evaluations based on the information available. Connecting theoretical information with real-life (or like real) case studies engages learners in many ways. Depending on the specifics of the case study they develop problem-solving, analytical abilities and decision making.

Source : Source

Interactivity: Multiple choice, drag and drop, true or false and hotspots. The nuts and bolts of a traditional eLearning course. A good eLearning course will combine high-quality information screens with a quiz section. A sprinkling of traditional eLearning quizzes helps keep the learner actively engaged. They force the learner to think about and process the content. Importantly, it does not allow them to passively click the next button over and over! Avoid courses without the nuts and bolts. 

Branching: eLearning branching scenarios are similar to choose your own adventure books or a recent Netflix special. They build on case studies but allow learners to see the consequence of an incorrect action. There is strong evidence in the academic literature of the educational benefits of branching scenarios. For example, a study of the use of such scenarios in third-level engineering courses concluded:

A well-designed scenario both intellectually and emotionally engages the learner, increasing motivation, knowledge acquisition, and most importantly the ability to synthesize and apply knowledge with prudence. Good scenarios also ensure that learners can practice in a safe, yet lifelike environment, and can be comfortable experimenting with different approaches. (source)

‘Synthesize and apply knowledge with prudence’ is an important outcome for compliance training. Many compliance topics have grey areas. They can require employees to make judgement calls or to apply existing knowledge in an unfamiliar context or scenario. Being free to make mistakes and being allowed to explore the ramifications of the mistake gives the learner a thorough, well-rounded understanding of the subject.



To operate legally as an organisation you need to be compliant with a vast array of legislation and regulation. Depending on the age of your organisation you might be building a compliance programme from the ground up or maintaining or expanding an existing programme. In either scenario you will need: 

  • Policies that establish procedures, processes and company ethics. You need a mechanism to ensure they are read and understood by individual employees.
  • Training that teaches employees how to work in a compliant manner. Many leading and forward-thinking organisations use eLearning as part of their compliance training programmes.
  • Active learning is an important learning methodology to look for when comparing eLearning supplier.



(1) Business Anti-Corruption – Compliance Program Success Guide 
(2) Corporate Compliance Insights – Effective Corporate Compliance Programs  
(3) Thomas Reuters – Corporate Compliance and Ethics Toolkit 
(4) Deloitte – Corporate Regulatory and Ethical Compliance
(5) Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner – Implementing Strong Corporate Compliance Programs
(6) State of Compliance Study  – Real-Time Compliance Management 
(7) Modern Slavery Act: An Emerging Picture of Non-Compliance
(8) Reducing the Risk of Policy Failure – Challenges for Regulatory Compliance (2018)  


Disclaimer: This article is purely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. For more information on business protection and compliance in the UK, visit
For more information on EssentialSkillz, visit our About Us page.


If you have never had an enticing or deceptive email designed to encourage you to click a link or disclose sensitive information, then you are in the minority. According to Symantec, phishing rates have increased across most industries with no size or type of organisation being immune. The need for a Phishing eLearning course has never been greater.

To combat the fraudsters, VinciWorks has added an eLearning course specifically about Phishing as part of their Business Protection Pack.  The Pack now contains 17 Courses, all of which are accredited for CPD.

According to the cybersecurity company, WEBOOT, Phishing has displaced malware globally as the number 1 attack that IT decision makers believe their organisation will be most vulnerable to in 2018.

Google is also taking steps to try and address the threat, the July 18 update for its Chrome browser will mark any website not served over HTTPS as “Not secure” in the address bar to warn users when they are at risk.

Although there was already a Cyber Security course within the pack, Phishing scams are becoming ever more elaborate, Spear Phishing, Whaling and the Waterhole are all specific subgenres that people need to be aware of. That’s why we thought the topic deserved a course of its own which could address each element in detail.

Cyber Security threats are continuously evolving, so employee training must evolve with them. Just training during onboarding isn’t enough. Employees need ongoing training to address the latest and most devious tactics scammers are using to ensure they and the companies they work for remain protected.

The Phishing eLearning course lasts approximately 45 minutes and is designed to examine how scammers use Social Engineering to manipulate people into giving away passwords, bank details or other sensitive information.

In summary, the Phishing eLearning Course:

  • Describes what phishing is and why you must remain constantly aware of the threat.
  • Outline the distinct types of phishing attacks and how you can identify them.
  • Highlights how to prevent phishing attacks and what to do should you fall victim to one.

If you are looking to train over 100 employees why not request a free trial of the course:

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If you work in the UK or US, you’ll have heard about the rise of the gig economy. But how much time have you spent thinking about what it means to you as an employer in terms of training, policies, and workers’ rights?

Viewed more positively it’s an opportunity for employers in a tight labour market to stand out from the crowd.

In this post, we explore what the gig economy looks like, your responsibilities as employers and the opportunities it presents.

What is the gig economy?

While there are different definitions, the gig economy can be boiled down to this: a labour market where individual workers take on individual short-term projects, or gigs. For some, this means the ultimate flexibility – work when they want it, not when they don’t. For others, it equates to low paid, insecure work with minimal employment rights. Whatever the view, it makes up a significant part of the labour market, with estimates of between 1.1 million and 1.8 million workers in the UK, and 16 million in the US. And nearly half of all Millennials are already working in the gig economy. These individuals are doing work for companies like Uber, Deliveroo, and Hermes.

However, the boundaries relating to employment have become blurred. Recent court cases have demonstrated that employment rights within the gig economy are a contested area. These concerns have led to an independent review of working practices in the UK, itself leading to draft legislation, in an effort to provide greater clarity about the status of these workers. The spotlight has been shone on enforcing holiday and sick pay entitlements, allowing flexible workers to demand more stable contracts, and giving all workers the right to demand a payslip.

What is the impact of Gig Workers on training, policies and rights?

But introducing these entitlements alone isn’t going to enable you to meet the requirements you have as an employer. Think about health and safety. How can you guarantee that your contracted freelancers meet the relevant standards and practices? And how can you make sure that your data is protected if you don’t train your gig economy workers on GDPR? How will be you be able to demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid a data breach? And for those employers who want to make the most out of their freelancers, what extra steps could you take to add benefit to your workers and make you stand out from the crowd? Training, policies, and rights are key for all workers, not just those with traditional contracts.

We believe that the answers lie in making your compliance based training and resource provision available to all your contracted staff, no matter the status of their contract. Why? We think taking action is essential for three main reasons:

  • You’ll ensure that all your employees are trained in essential compliance issues, like health and safety and GDPR. This will help you manage the risks of non-compliance as well as creating better-informed workers.
  • You’ll increase the knowledge across all your workforce, meaning they’re better placed to deliver the level of service you demand. In turn, this will improve the service you offer to your clients and customers.
  • You’ll build loyalty across your worker base and become known as a good company to contract with. If you treat your gig economy workers well, these brand champions will sing your praises.

And with an online training platform like WorkWize LMS, meeting these demands won’t mean vast additional costs. Rolling your resources out across your workforce can be done at costs that are manageable at the same time as mitigating risks and offering greater benefits.

The challenge of training, policies and the Gig Worker is not going away…

Perhaps the biggest driver behind this change will be the projected growth of the gig economy as we head into the future. According to Forbes, freelancers within the gig economy are expected to make up the majority of the workforce by 2027. If you’ve not thought through how you’ll manage this significant segment of the workforce, then you risk your business falling behind, or worse – failing to comply with key regulations. Take the opportunity now to stand out from the crowd and open up access to your training to all your workers.

Looking for in-depth and engaging business protection training? Explore our comprehensive eLearning library and try any of our courses for free.

Tune into any news channel on any day of the week and you’re likely to hear about the problems afflicting UK productivity. What’s causing them? One reason is a mismatch of skills. In this post, we look at the current skills challenges and the role eLearning can potentially play in addressing them.

The challenge for UK skills

Recent reports looking at recruitment and skills in the UK demonstrate that there is a real challenge for employers. Whilst employment rates are at a record high, businesses report that they are struggling to find the right workers.

Some Examples:

Hardhat Clouds Construction Sky Brick Layer Man
  • 60% of construction SMEs – businesses with fewer than 250 employees – say they are having trouble hiring bricklayers,
  • 58% say they can’t find the right carpenters and joiners,
  • 45% say they’re facing challenges employing plumbers.

In fact, 40% of construction SMEs report that skills shortages are at their highest since 2013. Research carried out by Totaljobs, which surveyed 1,355 employers, found that nearly two-thirds of employers believed that their businesses would suffer because workers lacked key skills. And over half of these employers concluded that the skills gap would mean that the UK would no longer be able to compete on the global stage. In fact, according to the Local Government Agency, by 2024 there will be a shortage of 4 million highly skilled workers and 6 million low skilled workers working within the UK economy.

Why is this happening?

That’s hard to say for certain, but recent studies point to two core reasons. The first is education. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, (OECD), measures educational attainment across its member countries. The UK is ranked 20th globally for attainment in English and math, with a fifth of young adults below a basic level. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has predicted that the proportion of the adult population qualified to intermediate level is likely to fall to 34% by 2020, placing the UK 28th out of the 32 OECD nations.

The potential Brexit effect?

  • First, people are worried about the future, so are staying in their jobs for longer. This means that there are less available skills in the recruitment pool.
  • UK government restrictions on migrants mean that fewer people are coming into the country to take up vacancies.
  • Studies have shown that as many as a third of non-UK workers are thinking about leaving the country in the next five years.

Why does the skills gap pose such a problem?

Simply put productivity. The UK government has estimated that better skills could improve productivity by 20 percent. There are other reasons, too. Recruitment is taking longer. Companies are making more use of recruitment agencies and temporary staff. Finding the right people often means offering higher wages. All this means that the skills gap is costing firms money. Estimates put this cost at as high as £2 billion per year.

What can we do – a role for eLearning?

The skills gap is a clearly a long-term challenge for the UK economy. And there are long and short-term ways to address it. One would be for UK companies to work more closely with schools and colleges, to make sure the skills being taught are those required in the workplace. This will take time.

A quicker course of action is for companies to invest much more in training. This shift in focus would mean that businesses would be better placed to upskill their existing employees and cast their net more widely, looking to other professions to recruit new staff and offering training packages that develop the specific skills they need. Such an approach is already being seen. The British Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey shows that both the manufacturing and services sectors have increased their investment in training in 2018, by 22 percent and 18 percent respectively. eLearning is becoming a focus for training investment. Partly, this is due to the generational shift in the workforce with Gen Y and Z  being digital natives and expecting to learn from screens rather than whiteboards. eLearning is also more agile, and better able to keep pace with the constantly changing technology that is present in today’s workplace.

Delivering in-house training through eLearning

This investment calls for a new approach to delivering in-house training, one that focuses on company-specific, rather than generic, needs. That’s where VinciWorks can help. Our approach couples a Learning Management System – used to deliver the content – with a rapid authoring tool – used to write the content. This means that each company is in control of the content they deliver. The authoring tool enables subject experts within your company to create bite-sized chunks of training materials, couched within your specific culture and context. These chunks can then be delivered through the LMS, which can also track who’s taken part, and how well they’ve understood the information. This saves money and time. But, more importantly, it puts you in control of your training.

Plan for the long term but react to the short term

Building Education Studying School University

Obviously, eLearning is not the answer when it comes to equipping the next generation of Bricklayers, Carpenters or Plumbers, with the practical skills they need to do their job.  However, if you are hiring people with scarce skills training counts. Having a comprehensive internal training programme that includes Health & Safety, Compliance topics and company-specific learning on values and culture is a way to show your employees that they are valued and reduce turnover while increasing productivity. A well thought out programme will also help in the battle for talent when applicants have choices on the table and are looking beyond the salary and at the company as a whole.

There is an urgent need for employers to engage in longer-term training partnerships involving government, schools, colleges and trade bodies. In the short term, the priority should be controlling your environment and ensuring employees are inducted correctly – trained and invested in from day one.

So, if you need to address a skills gap in your business, get in touch today. Our solutions could be just what you need. We offer over 40 pre-written courses, however, they are all editable by you, so they can be made specific to your companies culture, language and procedures.

If you would like to learn more about creating eLearning content for your organisation, why not register for our free webinar:

“Micro-Learning: Can you create an eLearning course in less than 30 Minutes?”

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Can a comprehensive corporate governance training program prevent disasters? In January 2018 the giant construction company Carillion collapsed dramatically in the UK, resulting in a debt load of over £1.5 billion and the loss of more than 2,300 jobs. HR Magazine UK edition quoted a scathing government report which concluded that the collapse was “the result of moral failings on the board,” and that Carillion “ harboured a rotten culture.”

The unsightly demise was reminiscent of the implosion of U.S. energy company Enron at the beginning of the century. Investopedia reports that CEO Jeffrey Skilling used a questionable technique called “mark-to-market accounting” to hide the company’s huge financial losses from investors, employees and government overseers. Playing fast and loose with the accounting rules, however, eventually proved disastrous, leading to the loss of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, and several criminal convictions.

Although governments scramble to prevent similar corporate disasters from recurring companies need to place an intense internal focus, from the top down and the bottom up, on spotting, whistleblowing and eliminating bad corporate behaviours. Corporate governance training that focuses on setting proper guidelines is a good start, but companies also need to ensure policy compliance throughout the entire organization, so everyone is aware and accountable.

Visible signs Compliance KPI’s are monitored sends the right message from the top.

Whether the scandal relates to finance, discrimination, or regulatory failure it usually requires more than a single individual to be complicit. Setting out high standards and providing training during the onboarding process is a great start. However, HR can’t tackle the issues alone. Ultimately the tone is set from the top. What can be done?

  • Put in place an affirmative approach to whistleblowing
  • Create a leadership team that values an open culture
  • Monitor compliance levels to ensure that everyday behaviours follow the ethos laid down in the written procedures.

Corporate Governance Training can impact many areas:

The role of eLearning in Corporate Governance Training

eLearning courses such as the CPD Accredited Business Protection Pack can play a part in creating a robust corporate governance training programme. Training teams across a business to understand the broader threats the organization faces helps in reducing the risk of financial and reputational damage. There are in total, 16 courses in the pack, these include:

  • Anti-Bribery and Corruption: This eLearning course outlines core principles in relation to ethical standards, including hospitality and the giving/receiving of gifts, defines clear responsibilities for spotting and reporting corruption, and outlines standards for holding government officials, private organizations and individuals to account for acts of malfeasance.
  • Fraud Prevention: This course explains how employees can recognize red flags, report suspected fraud, and prevent organizational fraud.
  • General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR): GDPR, what does the new data legislation mean, and how do you ensure compliance.
  • Modern Day Slavery: This lesson provides a clear understanding of the different types of modern-day slavery, and discusses how businesses can prevent this heinous crime from occurring at every point in the supply chain.
  • Money Laundering: Because criminals may target business organizations for money laundering purposes, precautions need to be in place to deter this possibility or report any suspected illegal activity.
  • Whistleblowing Procedures: This course helps organizations clarify their whistleblowing procedures so employees can raise genuine concerns about suspected wrong-doing, and feel protected as a whistleblower.

The VinciWorks course content consistently evolves to keep the courses aligned with the latest in best business practices and keep subscribing organizations in step with the latest in corporate governance training.  The courses can all be branded and edited to provide a bespoke learning experience for each individual business to reflect their precise training requirements.

Don’t forget Policies: Ignorance is not an excuse.

Alongside eLearning courses, Policies, and Risk Assessments can be fully automated and deployed through WorkWize, the market-leading Closed Loop Compliance System. Adding tests to policies ensures that all participants read and understand the relevant information. A digital audit trail provides for future accountability. Taking policy compliance seriously sends a message and helps to reinforce the need to act responsibly, right from the top down.

“The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world.” UK Digital Minister, Matt Hancock.

Data Protection is changing and soon.  Will your organisation be ready to comply with these significant and extensive changes?

You have probably heard the term GDPR but, does your business fully understand the changes to be made to data protection laws and, the consequences for non-compliance?

What is GDPR?

GDPR (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation where the European Parliament Council for the European Union and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for all in the EU.

Why the change?

The reason is twofold.  Firstly, the new regulations are designed to provide greater control for individuals over how their personal data is used.  Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook all frequently swap data.  The Data Protection Bill hopes to build trust in an ever-developing digital age.  Secondly, the regulations aim to provide a clearer and safer environment to work in.  The regulations which have taken four years to draft, introduce tougher fines and penalties for breaches and is intended to streamline laws across the EU.


The Go Live date for GDPR is 24th May 2018!

So, time is of the essence.  Are you doing enough to stay in step with data protection?

A recent survey conducted on I.T. professionals by Imperva, revealed that 43% stated that they were assessing the required changes, approximately one third said they weren’t preparing for any changes and 28% were ignorant of any changes their employers were making in preparation for GDPR.

These are worrying statistics.  The rules of the game are changing and that means our behaviour and systems need to change in line, or face the consequences and the consequences are severe!

Does GDPR apply to your organisation?

If you use and hold data then the answer is, yes!

How many data lists do you have stored away in your business?  How much personal data is being held and is it being held securely?  Do you have a process in place to show an individual what data you hold on them and, if necessary, can you delete that data?

GDPR covers ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’.  A controller states how and why data is processed and a processor is the party who actually processes the data.

Controllers must ensure that data is used in a lawful manner and then delete this after use. A record of consent must be given before personal data is utilised.  Personal data includes IP addresses, economic, cultural and mental health information.  People have the right to know if data is being processed and how long it is stored for. Also, they have the right to ask for it to be deleted.

So, if you have staff in your organisation who think it is alright to carry data on memory sticks or leave laptops on trains with information saved on local drives, then you are failing to keep up with current best practice let alone be ready to comply with GDPR next year.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

If your company choose to ignore the basic principles for processing data, your business will bear the reputational and financial consequences.  Fines for non-compliance are set at 4% of turnover or €20 million (whichever is the greater) and 2% or €10 million, for less serious failures such as failing to keep an up to date audit trail of your assurance policies and procedures.

According to analysis by NCC Group, fines levied by the Information Commissioner’s Office against businesses in 2016, would have been £69 million and not £880,500 had GDPR been in place.

Where do you start? 

Each organisation may face different priorities depending on the sector you are in, but a good starting point is your data storage.  Do you know where all your data is stored and critically, who has access to it?  Look at all your departments across your organisation and assess the data that is stored.  Ask who has access to that data and should they have access to it?

It is crucial to get all your staff on board.  This is a team effort.  Your whole organisation should be working together to change old practices and mindsets, and adhere to new policies.

How can GDPR Training help with compliance to the new regulation?

Training your staff is paramount and this should be ongoing.  Your personnel need to be informed regularly and any new systems or suppliers assessed appropriately. Keep GDPR at the top of your agenda!

If your staff do not understand the basic principles of data processing, VinciWorks’ cyber security training can help raise awareness of the potential threats to your business and how digital information can be compromised.  It shows how individuals can develop good security practices with recommendations for avoiding malicious activities.

VinciWorks’ GDPR compliance training course outlines the new General Data Protection Regulation. The course covers how GDPR is different from the Data Protection Act, what the changes mean for those who process personal data and what is required to remain compliant.

By providing GDPR training to your staff, you are ensuring that they understand the importance of GDPR to their role and to the organisation. These include the financial and reputational risks as well as the risk of disciplinary action if they were responsible for a data breach which harms the organisation. It is vital that staff know what to do if there is a data breach and how all data across the organisation is affected by the new Regulation.

The GDPR training also needs to be relevant. Employees should feel that the training material relates to them with links to relevant policies and procedures. VinciWorks’ GDPR compliance training is fully editable, so you can amend the content to make it relevant to your own approach to GDPR.

VinciWorks has just completed an update to its Anti Money Laundering eLearning course.

The course which was first launched in February 2017, defines the term Money Laundering and explains the different forms Money Laundering can take. It effectively highlights how criminals can target organisations and describes what should be done if illegal activity is suspected.

The recent fines of £6.2 Million levied on a leading high street bookmaker have brought the issue of Money Laundering back into the public eye. This follows events last year which saw the bookmaker return £500,000 to a Scottish council when it failed to spot £1m that was stolen and gambled through them by a council employee.

Completion of this course helps enable employees to identify the possible signs of Money Laundering. Factors such as business type, suspicious behaviour, payment patterns and geographical location are all addressed.

This interactive Anti Money Laundering eLearning Course course covers the following areas:

  • Enables users to understand the importance of regulatory bodies and what regulations are in place.
  • Describes the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
  • Explains the significance of the Proceeds of Crime Act (PCA).
  • The importance of the National Crime Agency (NCA) is explained, the significance of risk assessments and need for a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO).

This course highlights the various stages of Money Laundering, including placement, layering, integration and payment methods. It discusses how to ensure your business is dealing with a legitimate organisation or individual.  The four stages of Customer Due Diligence (CDD) is explained and what to do if you need to report suspicious activity.

The update, prepared in conjunction with the Regulatory Team of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP, includes additional optional content for people working in regulated sectors but is also applicable to anyone who handles money at work.

Looking for more in-depth and engaging business protection training courses? Explore our comprehensive eLearning library and try any of our courses for free.

Employer Responsibility for Online Sexual Harassment

The recent Financial Times investigation into the men-only Presidents Club dinner has become the latest in a string of sexual harassment scandals. Another FT investigation found that technology is fuelling harassment. So can HR  do more to control the use of technology at work?
In an interview with HR Magazine Employment Solicitor, Orla Bingham from Payne Hicks Beach stated:

“Employers owe employees a duty of care to protect them from such behaviour in the workplace, but it is more problematic when this takes place through social media or technology; not least because it can be harder to detect.

Robust social media and technology policies that strictly prohibit harassment through digital means should be disseminated and the consequences of this behaviour made clear. As evidence of online behaviour is more traceable it should be collected and relied on to discipline the offending employee(s) where appropriate.

However, this evidence is not always easy to access. Close monitoring of employees’ technology use is therefore a necessity to tackle this problem, but this must not be excessive or overly intrusive. Where a clear and legitimate reason exists, for example to safeguard workers, monitoring is likely to be justified as long as the workforce are made aware of it, which in itself may be a deterrent.”

Where does the policy audit trail go cold?

Having a robust social media and technology policy is positively the first step.  However, the missing piece of the puzzle is often the resources within an HR team to ensure that the policy is distributed to everyone, collate proof that everyone has read and understood what it means, and finally, a signature which closes the loop and creates an audit trail to ensure they have agreed to it.

How can you close the compliance loop?

WorkWize from VinciWorks offers a complete solution to the problem of distributing policies and managing compliance.

  1. Upload your existing policies and procedures
  2. Automate the distribution of them to all employees
  3. Add a test to each to confirm understanding

WorkWize not only keeps a record of the test but also collects a digital signature to confirm acceptance.

Add in our Business Protection Pack which contains 16 CPD certified eLearning courses covering the major HR Policy issues, and you are in a position to educate your teams on everything from GDPR and Cyber Security to Code of Conduct.

VinciWorks has successfully achieved certification for their Business Protection pack of 16 eLearning Courses from The CPD Accreditation Service.

With Sexual Harassment, Modern Slavery, and Data Security in the news on an almost daily basis, training employees to understand these issues is a challenge that many organisations are struggling to meet.

From MP’s in the House of Commons to Hollywood moguls, through to the owner of a bed factory supplying high street shops jailed for Modern Slavery. When failures occur, the penalties in terms of reputational and financial damage can be severe.

The eLearning courses are designed to address the full range of Risk and Governance issues faced by organisations in today’s highly legislated environment. The 16 topics covered by the pack include key issues like; GDPR, Fraud Prevention, Modern Slavery, Cyber Security and Equality & Diversity.

Each of the courses lasts around 30-minutes with a mandatory test at the end. The courses are SCORM 1.2 compliant, for use in any standard Learning Management System. Organisations can edit and customise the content using the WorkWize Author tool to add additional content or align them with their corporate brand.

With over 1000 Institutes and Professional Bodies in the UK now seeking to provide Continuing Professional Development for their members, the demand for training which not only informs but can be

counted towards a CPD target is rapidly increasing. Couple this with constantly evolving legislation and organisations are looking for smart ways engage their employees and keep them up to date.

Courses from VinciWorks are regularly reviewed and updated by a dedicated team of researchers and instructional designers. This means they provide ongoing assurance that the advice given will be aligned with best practice. This alleviates the strain on internal HR and L&D Teams to continuously write and update internal courses.

Looking for in-depth and engaging business protection training? Explore our comprehensive eLearning library and try any of our courses for free.