Compliance in Totara
  • 13 May 2024
  • 4 minutes to read

Compliance in Totara

Article Summary

What is compliance?

Organisations in all sectors need to comply with legal, regulatory and ethical standards that apply to their industry. This means organisations and their people need to be aware of the legal requirements that govern their operation, and how to follow them in their day-to-day business.

Compliance is important for a number of reasons, including:

  • Keeping your employees safe
  • Operating within the law and protecting your business from legal repercussions
  • Identifying and mitigating risk
  • Maintaining your organisation's integrity and trust with partners, customers and the public

Delivering and monitoring learning, supported by ongoing performance management and peer support, is an important part of the true compliance picture. Watch the video below for a summary of how Totara helps you to support your compliance requirements and create a compliance culture in your organisation, then read on for more information.

Complete the Making compliance count course on the Totara Academy for if you want to delve deeper into this topic.

Compliance in Totara

Delivering training

Compliance typically requires employees to complete up-to-date training to meet regulatory requirements. In practice, this means users will need to complete the required training, and recomplete it after a specified time period to ensure that they're aware of the latest laws and best practices.

In Totara, you can deliver learning using courses, which can either stand alone, or as part of wider programs and certifications. For one-off learning initiatives, such as when rolling out a new policy, you could create a program containing a mixture of mandatory training and optional extras for users who want to learn more. For learning related to industry regulations that must be completed annually (or any other period of time), you should instead set up a certification. Certifications allow you to configure an initial set of learning that must be completed, and separately configure the learning that must be completed when the certification expires. This allows you to ensure that learners complete their required compliance training in an efficient way.

Reviewing skills and knowledge

Competencies allow you to map required skills to your employees, then map those competencies to relevant learning, external qualifications, or workplace activities. Competencies are a useful tool for compliance, as you can clearly set out which users need which training to meet regulatory requirements specific to their role and operations. You can set up competency frameworks to map out the skills and knowledge your people will need to meet compliance requirements.

Users and their managers can also review their competency profile, which shows the competencies they have achieved at a glance. This allows them to identify any areas in which they're not up to date with compliance requirements and complete additional training as necessary, or arrange for those skills to be developed and demonstrated in practice.

Another key component of compliance programs is regular reviews with users and their managers. Performance activities allow you to facilitate these discussions, enabling managers to ensure that team members are on track with their compliance training and broader professional development.

Notifications, reminders and ongoing discussion

With compliance training, it's important that users know what learning they need to complete, and when. You can use centralised notifications to notify users about assigned learning, when a due date is approaching, when a certification needs to be renewed, and more.

Programs and certifications allow you to set up spaced learning and nudge campaigns. For example, you could restrict access to reminder content that will be made available once a certain amount of time has passed. You can also use notifications to ensure that users don't forget about their compliance training after completing it, sending spaced reminders of key concepts.

While features such as certifications and competencies allow you to fulfil your organisation's compliance obligations, true compliance comes from supporting your people to embed compliance behaviours in their day-to-day work. One way you can do this is by creating workspaces, which you can use to start discussions and encourage users and subject matter experts to share knowledge by creating and curating resources. Additionally, these workspaces provide an extra channel to use for reminding employees about their compliance training and keeping concepts fresh in their minds. Finally, course forums allow you to curate discussions specific to each course.


Another important aspect of your organisation's compliance culture is reporting, as HR teams, managers and other users need to verify that employees are meeting their compliance requirements. There are a number of built-in reports to use, or you can create your own bespoke reports to show an overview of users' training, competency achievements, goal progress and more. Totara's report builder offers a lot of flexibility, meaning you can configure reports for the exact information you require.

Additionally, you may want to create reporting dashboards to provide managers with a convenient overview of their teams' progress against their compliance training and goals, and enable them to identify where their team members may not be compliant.

Case study: Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Compliance is essential for organisations in the healthcare sector, where effective training can have life or death consequences. Both clinical and administrative staff need frequent training to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to provide patients with the best care. 

Watch the case study video below to find out how the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust uses programs, certifications, dashboards and more to monitor compliance across a large and mobile workforce.

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