At first glance, corporate compliance is a fairly dry topic, but it’s vital for ensuring your organization is run safely and efficiently. It means keeping up to date with all the corporate and regulatory policies, laws and accreditation requirements set out by the government and other bodies.
Failing to comply can lead to lawsuits, fines, penalties and even criminal charges in some cases. While it’s clear that compliance is therefore very important, it remains a subject that can be difficult to get employees interested in. The challenge is to deliver training they’ll engage with to make sure it’s effective.
What is compliance training?
Effective compliance training is used to make sure employees know and understand all of the rules and regulations that affect their work. It encompasses everything from internal policies to the laws of the land, which can often be confusing or filled with jargon, making unpacking them essential.
By the time they’ve completed their training, staff should be in no doubt about their responsibilities and be able to work more independently. Employees need guidance on how to deal with new situations that require them to make judgment calls in relation to ethics and compliance issues. This makes it different to other types of training that are often more process-led.
How to make compliance training engaging
Traditionally, compliance training can be seen as a tick-box exercise that fulfills a business’ obligations but doesn’t properly engage employees. This can mean it has minimal real-world application and can lead to staff not being compliant, risking financial and reputational damage to the organization.
Taking a different approach and including more engaging elements in your training can make it much more beneficial for everyone involved.
1. Harness digital resources
Staff have become accustomed to engaging with visually stimulating content in their personal lives through search engines and social media, so it makes sense to harness these techniques for training. That means stepping away from the outdated classroom-based model and using video, visuals and dynamic content to convey messages in a much more effective way.
2. Implement gamification
Motivating staff to learn by making training part of a game, challenge or quest can be much more effective than passive techniques. They’re encouraged to discover and apply solutions for themselves, helping the lessons to become more ingrained in the memory. Add to this scenario the idea of pitting a participant against a competitor and the desire to engage is increased further.
3. Add context
Compliance training shouldn’t be treated as an abstract idea, but rooted in the real world, with relevant context and examples of it being used. With storytelling and the construction of scenarios, it becomes believable and applicable to future situations employees come across in their working life. This is a great way of unlocking the dry language associated with regulation to make it accessible.
4. Improve personalization
A targeted approach to training will mean employees don’t need to sit through lots of information that’s not applicable to their job. Segment your workforce into groups that have similar responsibilities and deliver compliance training personalized to them. In the same way that we’ve come to expect brands to adapt their offerings to our individual needs, trainers can too.
5. Use question pools for assessments
Assessment is a critical element of compliance training, but doesn’t always properly measure how much an employee has retained. Question pools are an effective way to ensure testing is robust and there’s less opportunity for staff to share answers as they’ll be given different versions of the assessment. The ideal is to maintain engagement throughout the whole process, even the testing.
6. Take a test-first approach
Since compliance training is an annual requirement, one of the reasons employees become disengaged with it is because trainers roll out the same content every year. If you can determine what information staff have remembered from the previous year, training can then be designed to top it up and address any changes in the industry. This approach can improve engagement and save company time.
7. Encourage multiple training sessions
Developing training that can be undertaken in multiple sessions is an effective way to make it more engaging. Splitting the content into topics and allowing staff to access resources at times that are convenient for them will facilitate engagement and encourage short bursts of focused learning. Putting employees in control of their training can help to make them feel less negative towards it too.
8. Incentivize completion
Despite compliance training being mandatory, it’s worth considering incentivizing employees to get it completed in a timely fashion. Discourage procrastination by offering a benefit or a perk to staff that finish all sections of the training by a certain date and give them a positive experience to associate with the task.
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