How AI Is Changing the Compliance Function
The use of AI continues to draw the attention of compliance departments and ethics teams that are concerned that technology could expose the organization to greater risk. After all, AI is developed by humans who have biases and may overlook other risk areas as they develop the technology. As a result, the idea of using AI to bolster and even teach compliance concepts may seem at odds with the common perception.
Equating the use of AI in HR or other commercial use cases with internal workflow processes would be a mistake. For compliance futurists, the automation that AI unlocks is a powerful tool to assist busy teams, empower employees, and, ultimately, decrease risk. The evolution might be moving along in baby steps—but it is happening, much to the benefit of companies willing to embrace AI in this space.
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The Quest for Efficiency
For many businesses, compliance training is one of the few tactics that touches almost the entire workforce, from rank-and-file employees to the C-suite. Generally, the compliance-professional-to-employee ratio at these companies is low, meaning teams are trying to make the most impact with limited resources to reach as many people as possible.
AI automation technology offers a way for compliance to fill the gaps that currently limit teams. Consider compliance disclosures—reports employees and supervisors make regarding violations or potential violations. Sorting through the data and narratives generated by these disclosures takes time and pulls compliance personnel away from other responsibilities. AI introduces automation to the process, resolving a majority of the disclosures while identifying similarities and trends that inform the compliance team’s follow-up actions and strategy.
Compliance training also benefits from the efficiency AI delivers.
For example, based on training results, AI can personalize learning journeys in the future years, provide targeted nudges personal to each employee even though only one central course is deployed, and even automate workflows that trigger reinforcement tools to be sent to employees struggling with a particular risk area. In a large organization with thousands of workers, attempting this strategy would require a monumental human effort. With AI, it happens with minimal hands-on time while reducing the possibility of human error. The efficiency created isn’t replacing compliance professionals but instead is helping them do their jobs in a better, more data-driven way.
AI Saves Time and Money
Compliance training can be an expensive endeavor—not necessarily in the cost to create training but in the time employees need to complete the training. If a company with 100,000 employees is administering an online ethics course that takes 40 minutes, that’s about 8,333 working days that must be devoted to training. If the average employee at this company makes $25 an hour, that’s $1.67 million in lost productive time, minimum, to simply train employees on one course.
AI can make this training more efficient by adapting the course to the individual user’s needs in real time with every interaction. If seat time is reduced by 10 minutes per employee, that’s more than $400,000 and 2,000 days of productivity saved on just one training. In real life, most companies that use AI in their compliance training experience 30-50% seat time efficiency gains.
Besides these concrete numbers, AI can strengthen learning by analyzing past and real-time performance, thus resulting in fewer or less severe compliance incidents after training ends. Quantifying this benefit can be difficult—after all, how do you track money saved from a risk emergency that never happens?—but the budgetary benefit is there. AI solutions in compliance are relatively inexpensive, providing a strong ROI, both tangible and invaluable.
AI Is Already Boosting Compliance Training
Although AI in compliance is a somewhat recent development, it is already benefiting early adopters. It has been especially impactful with compliance training, from the actual online training itself to the steps taken after courses are completed.
Notably, these three AI functions are leading the way with training:
- AI Reward: The training system’s AI recognizes when a user either knows the material presented or is fully comprehending it. That user may then be rewarded by being put on another learning path or simply be allowed to finish early. Seat time decreases, and employees come away with a more positive opinion of training because they weren’t stuck learning the same low-risk concepts of which they already were experts.
- AI Nudge: AI identifies areas that individual users or even teams and departments are struggling with and automatically sends them “nudges”—additional resources outside of formal training to shore up their compliance understanding. This helps build a continual learning cycle in which employees are expanding their compliance knowledge throughout the whole year and not just at the annual training.
- AI Demographics: No two learners are alike, but coming up with multiple training packages for multiple employees often isn’t feasible. AI looks at the knowledge demographics of each employee and assembles a training path uniquely geared for them.
Introducing AI to compliance processes—and particularly to training—opens up exciting possibilities for organizations looking to more effectively implement ethics and learning. They won’t replace workflows or compliance teams but rather will supercharge them. Compliance becomes smoother, more efficient, and, perhaps most importantly, employees become smarter and better prepared to handle the many ethical and legal dilemmas of everyday work.