The Antidote To Compliance Training Fatigue

The Antidote To Compliance Training Fatigue
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Summary: To gain a better understanding of how to combat compliance training fatigue, let's examine compliance training from the viewpoints of both the learners and the Learning and Development team.

Compliance Training From Two Perspectives

Increased regulation, as well as increased risk management across several industries, is boosting the demand for compliance training. The learning function has struggled to keep pace and, as a result, compliance training often represents the bare minimum of what would count as training. Learners click through as fast as possible—and they will slog through any sort of quiz or assessment without any long-term recall of the content. At the end of such an experience, stereotypically, there may be a checkbox for the learner to indicate that they have completed the training.

Here are just a few of the complaints typically registered by learners:

  • Monotonous, boring
  • Difficult-to-retain, legalistic information
  • Lack of engaging activities
  • Irrelevant or not interesting

When learners disengage from the content, the information fails to stick. This leaves both the learner, personally, and the organization, as a whole, vulnerable. The consequences can be huge. Investing in high-value, engaging compliance training can do more than just mitigate risk—it can foster a culture of compliance, responsibility, and awareness that goes far beyond the details of policy.

To better understand how to effect change, let's consider compliance training from two perspectives: that of learners and that of the internal L&D team.

Learner Needs

First off, compliance training often places regulations and policies as the primary focus, and yet we know that a learner-centric approach is required to really change behavior. The specific needs of the learners need to be considered. What do learners need to understand in order to achieve the desired impact? They need to see the value to be gained, relevance to their role, and consequences of policy violations.

Establish Value To Be Gained

Training materials should make clear to learners what they gain from their participation. Learners need to understand how this training will contribute to their success within the organization, and more importantly, they should see proof that their professional skills and knowledge are developing. Understanding the "what's in it for me?" will develop motivation and dedication to their learning.

Show Relevance To Their Role

Learners need to understand how training materials apply to their job duties. Without a clear understanding of how they will use this information, learner motivation and engagement will decrease. Rather, when the learner can anticipate how the policies covered will apply to their job duties, they can better contextualize the content. This context is invaluable for information retention and application.

Demonstrate Consequences Of Policy Violation (And The Positive Outcomes Of Compliance)

You can also help learners retain content by illustrating the consequences of noncompliance and benefits of compliance. By seeing what may happen when a policy is violated, the importance and value of compliance is emphasized to the audience. Desire to avoid negative consequences can also be a powerful motivator for learners and increase the likelihood of compliance when on the job.

At a Fortune 500 bank, compliance training for software developers needed a fresh approach. Analysis revealed the old training was ineffective and consisted of just reading slides. With AllenComm, this organization developed a new, more interactive training that required learners to engage in a variety of ways, including real-life scenarios, interactive infographics, audio, social application opportunities, and multiple assessment styles. Data collected after the training program was implemented showed a decrease in internal policy violations.

L&D Team Needs

The team developing the compliance training, likely an internal L&D team, an external vendor, or a combination of the two, needs to establish the goals and objectives for the training as part of the design process. This is an important time to establish a vision and develop strategies for production. To achieve success, you must begin with the end in mind. This is a chance to expand the measures of success beyond just a completion report. What other data should be collected to indicate policy retention? What behaviors do learners need to demonstrate to prove the training's impact? How should this training influence the organization and individual performance? Let the answers to these questions guide your design considerations.

The L&D team would also benefit from considering how the compliance training will be maintained. Legal language and internal policies are often subject to ongoing changes, so it is prudent to develop assets that are maintenance-friendly. You can reduce maintenance costs by identifying what changes are likely and how the training delivery may be adapted over time. For example, the course may employ a modular style so that portions of the course are easy to administer or tailor for unique audiences. Investing in assets that are easy to update and maintain will increase the ROI of the compliance training.

Consider the following: the L&D team for an air travel company determined early in their course design to develop assets that could be easily maintained with the least amount of effort. The team identified the internal policies that changed often and ensured that content could be easily edited so future updates would be efficient. They also identified policies and messaging that rarely changed and took more liberty with developing audio and visuals for these components. Because of this forethought, the training was much more efficient to maintain than past solutions.

 Strategies For Increasing Engagement

Creating an engaging training should be a primary goal for the L&D team, as this will prepare the learner and the organization to achieve the desired outcomes. The following strategies can be implemented to increase the engagement of a compliance training:

  • Bite-sized learning. Serve up content in small chunks to complement learner attention span and provide flexibility in the training schedule. Small, direct, and concise learning experiences will yield greater retention.
  • Variety of engagement styles. Changing the way the learner interacts with the material provides variety and holds learners' attention. You should aim to incorporate a diverse range of assets, including audio, visuals, infographics, assessments, and games. Think about what cognitive demands you are placing on the learner. Are you only asking them to "understand," or are you asking them to "compare," "analyze," "apply," or "arrange"? Create robust training by engaging the learner in a variety of ways.
  • Storytelling. Humans retain information better when it is delivered as a story. Using storytelling is a sure way to make the content "sticky" for the learner. Use real-life scenarios or case studies to show how policies or regulations apply in real life.
  • Available resources. Make needed information, policies, or procedures easily available both during and after training. Providing easy access to resources encourages learners to own their learning experience. Resource hubs or links in compliance training make it easier for learners to get what they need, when they need it.

At a large healthcare organization, compliance training on HR policies for managers heavily utilized branching scenario activities that featured real-life applications of policies. Learners followed the stories of employees and made decisions about how they would handle different situations. The training provided a clear vision of how policy compliance led to personal protection and success in their role. This organization gathered extremely positive feedback from learners about this training, many saying that it was enjoyable, interesting, and that it prepared them for difficult aspects of their role.

 The Time To Invest Is Now

According to Michael Noble, VP of AllenComm Advisory, "The unseen risks of poor compliance training go beyond noncompliance, this type of training also damages the reputation of the learning team and often results in a generalized fatigue with all learning."

The time, energy, and costs required to make high-value compliance training are worth the investment. High-value training can cultivate a culture of learning and growth within your organization and increase your ROI and employee engagement. Most importantly, high-value compliance training is a protection from undue risk and the consequences of policy violation.

eBook Release: AllenComm
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