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Culture and Compliance Training: How to Make Learning Engaging and Effective

Creating compliance training that is more engaging, while still adhering to the mandated standards of its content and delivery, can seem like a challenge. But the best principles for making an engaging learning experience can often make the content of a compliance course stick that much more. One key factor for success is how well the organization’s culture embraces compliance as a whole, increasing buy-in and motivation for employees.

Disengagement can often make it harder for employees to adhere to compliance guidelines.

Regulatory compliance training seems to be a pain point for both employees and leaders. It often feels like a burdensome chore that has to be completed for completion’s sake. Compliance training assets tend to take the form of information dumps with assessments throughout. Disengagement can often make it harder for employees to adhere to compliance guidelines. After all, if the training feels like a waste of time, then remembering the critical information from the training will feel that way too. This holds especially true for fields with rigorous requirements or highly technical compliance training content. But even if external departments or other entities have mandated the content of these courses, and how and when they should be taken, there are still ways to make it not just engaging, but more effective for learners.

Best Practices for Engagement

On the face of it, many of the ways that compliance training can be made more engaging are applicable to just about any kind of training. Compliance trainings don’t have to be delivered behind closed doors like a lecture; they can be done on-the-go with expanded options for mobile learning, where learners are more likely to be self-motivated to learn. They should be relevant, immediately applicable to the job, and appeal to the senses. Customize your training with rich multimedia; create gamification that challenges learners to put what they know to the test; personalize the experience with custom learning paths for their role in the organization; expand access by adhering to 508 compliance; include relevant scenarios and stories that draw the learner in—all of these can all turn walls-of-text rules and regulations into something tangible, and will help learners retain information and stay engaged with it. And to help with on-the-job application, you can create ongoing learning experiences that come in bite-sized chunks rather than a single hours-long session.

But even with a nice custom eLearning set up, that initial buy-in won’t be there if those at the top don’t.

It Starts with the Culture

Embrace compliance as part of the organizational culture.

Compliance will often be mandated in a way that will feel like it has very little to do with the way the company runs its business. In fact, many executives find themselves comfortable without following compliance as closely as they should; according to the 2006 Global Fraud Survey from EY, 42% of executives said they could justify unethical behavior to meet financial targets. With that kind of attitude leading a company, how will employees see compliance as anything but a trivial checklist to endure and then swiftly forget about?

On the other hand, when executives embrace compliance as a foundational strength of its culture, the buy-in will continue down to everyone in the company. You can make your compliance training an exciting and gorgeous work of eLearning, but the engagement won’t be there if the culture doesn’t support it.