Is Your Compliance Training Too Simple?

Let’s face it. Most required corporate training is boring.

Even more concerning, most training is more likely to irritate your employees than educate them. To meet legal and regulatory requirements many companies rely on rote, entry-level courses. While your employees may walk away with a tidbit or two of interesting information, it is just as likely that they will leave the course feeling frustrated, disengaged, and put-upon.

Fostering such negative emotions in employees is particularly damaging for ethics and compliance departments because we rely on the actions of employees from all areas of a company to succeed. As E&C professionals, our job is, in large part, to win the hearts and minds of our colleagues. If they think we’ve wasted their time, they are less likely to take our advice seriously.

Solving the boring-training problem requires a recognition of the issue, a keen understanding of what you actually need to communicate, and a willingness to take a creative, non-traditional approach to getting your message across.

This is part one of a two-part blog series on fixing bad training. Part 2 to come soon…

Recognizing The Problem

As with many other challenges, the first step to fixing your training problems is acknowledging that you have training problems. Training can be boring for many reasons. One common reason is that the people being trained already know the information they are being trained on. Take a typical annual compliance training, for example.

For many, annual compliance training is a refresher. However, if you give everyone the same training every year, that refresher can feel repetitive, and many employees might think you are being disrespectful by forcing them to repeat training on something they already know.

The Challenge with Customization

It can be extremely effective to offer all employees customized training appropriate to their knowledge.

Think about the dilemma commonly faced by schoolteachers. Educators recognize that not everyone learns the same way. However, with large classes filled with learners at all different levels, teachers often end up teaching to the middle. This approach leaves the advanced kids unchallenged AND risks the kids who are struggling getting left further behind. It is, in many ways a lose-lose situation.

Compliance training can have the same problem. Trying to walk the middle road may leave out crucial topics that those with little exposure to corporate compliance need to know. But focusing on the basics is likely to bore more senior or long-term employees, resulting in resentment and training fatigue.

Providing different training paths may be a good solution. However, doing so can be expensive and challenging to implement and monitor. So, what is the solution?

Don’t Give Everyone the Same Information

The cure for boring training starts with taking a deep look at what information you actually need to present to the population you are training.

Don’t be afraid to decide that certain populations do not need to be trained on the basics every year. While some review might be appropriate, such as discussing the speak-up options, other topics might not warrant in-depth repetition on an annual basis. You can, instead, present some or all learners with a more advanced compliance training.

Step 1:

First, think about who you are training and what they already know about the topics you will be covering. If most of your employee population already knows about ethics and compliance, you may want to focus on more nuanced challenges.

Step 2:

In most companies, your learners won’t all have the same knowledge basis. For ease, consider what information will be needed by beginners, those with intermediate knowledge, and your advanced population.

Step 3:

Next, for each group, think about what you want them to take away from training. Do you plan to focus on proper procedures? Will you be highlighting the values of your company? Perhaps your primary goal is to simply ensure employees know where to go for help.

If you’re performing live training, swap out one or two slides for different audiences of varying sophistication. If you’re using eLearning, find a vendor that offers branching pathways or slightly different courses for differing employee populations.

Step 4:

Finally, challenge yourself. Many compliance and ethics professionals are rule followers and it can feel more comfortable to take a belt-and-suspenders approach to training.

However, if our goal as ethics and compliance professionals is to spread our message far and wide, getting people to engage with the training material is one of the greatest results we could hope for.

To get there, all you have to do is be willing to set aside traditional ideas about what “has” to be presented during a compliance training and how it “should’ be communicated.

Need some help making the leap?

Let’s talk about how we can bring fun, facilitated customized compliance training to your business using the Compliance Competitor game today.

Get in touch through and we’ll reach out to discuss the ways we can tailor training scenarios to your needs.