Developing New Compliance Training? First, Answer These 5 Questions
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5 Questions To Answer Before Developing New Compliance Training

If your client’s about to invest in new or updated training in topics such as bribery, anti-money laundering, data security or safeguarding, it’s almost certainly because they have regulatory and compliance requirements that need to be met. Employees will need to take – and comply with – the training so that the business meets legislative requirements and can uphold its reputation with clients and within the relevant market.

But is that really all we can hope to get out of an online training course: inexpensive eLearning that ticks a compliance box? With personal development time at a premium amongst staff, and new generations of employees looking for rewarding roles and career progression, why not aim higher? As a good place to start, make sure your client has asked themselves the following questions:

1. Why Are We Commissioning Compliance Training?

Sure, you need an annual compliance module. But why now? Has something happened internally to trigger the need, or is it in response to new legislation? Are there specific employee behaviors that you’re keen to enforce, or that you’d like to change?

These kinds of questions can help you decide what, specifically, you want your learners to get out of the module, and what changes they should make in their day-to-day roles as a result. Because if you see no change, then what was the point of the training? It may be the case that your compliance track record is 100% and every last one of your employees engages positively with your policies. If so, congratulations! But dig a little deeper, and you’re almost sure to find your company’s unique pain points, recurring issues or process niggles. And this is where your training needs to focus.

The more relevant your module is to your learners’ specific training needs, weak spots, and knowledge gaps, the more likely they are to see the value in the training, connect with the content, and put into practice the new behaviors you want to see.

2. What’s It Worth To The Business?

So, you’ve answered the first question, and now you are putting training in place for all the right reasons. But how do you gain buy-in from others in your business, especially if the training you propose is more focused and tailored than they might expect?

As well as being a positive and relevant learning experience for participants, this initiative should be demonstrably worthwhile for your business. All good compliance training, whether standalone or part of a broader training or communications initiative, should deliver measurable results which will need to be defined and agreed upfront. Rather than treating it as a tick-box exercise, define what success would look straight after the training is completed and again in six months. This could be anything from the learners finding it a worthwhile and enjoyable/educational experience –and so embedding a culture of learning – to reducing instances of a certain unhelpful activity to a satisfactory degree, or uptake of a new process.

But whatever it is, make sure it links back to the reasons why you’re commissioning training at this time so that you can show a clear and measurable change. This approach, and the data you can gather on completion of the training, will help to convince the senior team that your training works. And once endorsed, this is a positive step towards mandatory training becoming more embedded in the wider culture.

3. What’s The Content?

There’s always a lot to learn in compliance training. You’ve got the legislation, your policy, the international view, the relevant terminology, and nice healthy lists of what to do and (more importantly,) what NOT to do.

But in reality, how much of this content will help your employees to do their job well? Research using the Hermann Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve suggests that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50% of the new information they are presented with – increasing to 75% or above within a week. But is that such a problem? In this digital age, we have information at our fingertips, so it’s arguably much more useful to have a list of practical resources to hand than to ask your employees to remember all that information for themselves. They should have your policy, code of conduct and any practical process documentation no more than a click away for point-of-need when completing relevant tasks.

This allows your eLearning to be short and impactful, containing only essential information that learners need to help them excel in their roles… which ties nicely into my previous point about ensuring your modules are, above all, relevant. We naturally hang on to information that is important or useful to us. So, draw out the detail that will drive the behavior change you’re looking to achieve, and make sure the learner can clearly see how it will help them thrive in their role.

4. What’s My Hook?

Once you have the right content, you need to think about how to present it in a way that strikes a chord. It goes without saying that learning should be an engaging and active experience, but how will you make it truly memorable?

We live in a society that consumes media obsessively, most of which comes in a narrative format. Whether a film, box set, advert or news article, your learners will be immersed in stories every day and will keep coming back for more. It makes sense, then, to capitalize on this when designing eLearning: provide a story they can relate to, a challenge that needs to be overcome, consequences of certain actions or inactions. This doesn’t have to involve video, animation or complex branching (although of course, it can). What’s important is that the information you need to convey can be recalled in the framework of the scenario and that the story you tell motivates your learners to behave in certain ways.

Think about the last time you were motivated to do something – it may have been based on a recommendation, or because failing to do it would have negative results, or even because of an inspiring advert. Whatever it was, you were most likely telling yourself a story of the positive outcome. So, tap into your learners’ aspirations and learning needs to help them connect to the story you tell.

5. What’s Next?

Don’t expect organizational change to happen over the course of a 30-minute training intervention. It can act as a catalyst, and provide a great basis for change, but it needs to be supported throughout the company culture. If you only bring up compliance issues once a year and then assume compliance has been embedded, your employees will most likely see this as a tick-box exercise to get through quickly before returning to their real work.

Instead, map out the best way for your business to reinforce key issues on an ongoing basis. This could involve including the topic in performance reviews, providing bite-sized or game-based refresher training, face-to-face sessions for key staff, or developing practical just-in-time job aids for all. Whatever your approach, ensure your learners have the support and tools in place to keep compliance in mind, and not as something that imposes rules about what they can and can’t do, but as something they can use to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

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