The GDPR has arrived: 6 ideas for training up your employees

Although the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) brings with it a number of challenges for companies, one of the most important concerns is employee training. If your employees don’t know the key points of the new legislation, they’re unlikely to be able to follow it and respect the rights of European citizens, which can result in substantial fines for the company.

To avoid this, here are 6 tips for training your employees in the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

1. Take it seriously

Above all else, it is important that you take it seriously. The GDPR, with its 88 pages and 99 articles, touches on many topics and includes technical and legal aspects that you should know in detail. Start by training yourself in the new data protection regulation, talk to a consultant if necessary, and set up an ambitious, progressive, and detailed training program that takes the complexity of the law into account.

2. Start with what’s important

Because it is highly technical, when it comes to training your employees you run the risk of overlooking the most important thing of all: the substance of the new data protection regulation. Don’t forget that the regulation’s purpose is to respect and protect the rights of European citizens, including the right to be informed, the right of access to their data, and the right of rectification. It is clearly important to explain which concrete mechanisms need to be put in place to achieve this, but it is also vital that this general principle (respect for the rights of European citizens) is understood by the whole company.

3. Develop a global GDPR training program

Although the GDPR is European legislation, this does not exclude companies or departments physically outside the European Union from the training program. All those that collect or store European citizen data (regardless of where the servers or the company’s registered headquarters are located) must respect the new data protection regulation. So, if you work for a multinational organization or your company has several locations around the world, make sure everyone managing European citizen data understands the GDPR in depth.

4. Training adapted to each professional profile

Of course, not all employees need the same level of knowledge concerning the new data protection regulation. Departments such as marketing, customer service, telecommunications, and data analysis will require specific, more detailed courses depending on the type of data they manage. Therefore, a GDPR training plan must be designed to adapt to each of the company’s professional profiles.

5. Use a combination of training formats

As this is a complex regulation with many implications, it’s important that your training program incorporates different formats. You can start with a classroom session for more senior roles and department heads, continue with online training to get to the bulk of the company, including blended learning and gamification models. The more formats you use, the easier it will be for employees to internalize all the information.

6. Accessible and downloadable materials

To avoid overwhelming employees, GDPR training course content must be well structured, accessible, and easy to understand. We advise limiting bureaucratic, legal, and administrative jargon as much as possible so that employees can grasp the essence of the new data protection regulation.

Furthermore, try to make the materials available for download (so employees can consult them later) and easily editable in the future (for any modifications down the road).

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