What you’ll read:
- Review compliance training best practices that work
- Discover how to shorten the expertise gap
- Review the questions that will ensure continued success
Build Successful Compliance Training by Identifying Industry Standards
Compliance training for sales professionals should look, feel, and read very differently from compliance training for technical specialists in manufacturing. Obvious, right? Every job in every industry has unique ways of communicating and handling information, and because of that, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all training solution that will be effective across all job types. This is especially true for compliance training, which must address unique issues of legality and effectiveness within a particular industry, and yet compliance training tends to involve the least creativity, customization, and pizzazz of all training types. Instead of tailored content designed to meet the specific legal and performance needs of one industry or job, most compliance training is too cautious, erring on the side of dry legalese, black-and-white hypothetical scenarios, and lackluster lists of acceptable and unacceptable actions that are too boring and oversimplified to be of real practical use in the workplace.
Understanding our clients’ professional context and communication styles before designing solutions is one of the training industry’s most important best practices. With that in mind, we want to share a few of AllenComm’s go-to strategies for identifying a client’s important industry features and designing compliance training that speaks to their unique informational style and needs.
Before the Project: Research
At the beginning of a project in a new industry, there’s always an expertise gap. The people you’ll be working with know a whole lot more about their industry than you do. However, you can’t come to the table empty-headed, and doing your homework beforehand shows respect for the client and their industry. So, before you ever talk to a client or a subject matter expert (SME), take some time to do some research. First, identify the fields involved in the project, and be as specific as possible. For instance, during one of AllenComm’s recent compliance training projects, our target learners were physicians in various medical fields, but our client was an insurance company, providing physicians with ongoing professional development and compliance training. There were two industries involved—medical providers and insurance providers—so our solution needed to speak well to both groups.
To better understand the industries involved, start immersing yourself in the content that people in those industries work with most. Read what they read. Take note of the look and feel of relevant, reputable websites that people in the industry might visit for work. Do research on how industry professionals stay up-to-date on the most recent developments in their fields and observe their preferred media formats: Do they go to conferences? Read papers? Watch videos? This kind of research will help you to better understand how members of a particular industry are used to communicating with one another, which will build a solid foundation for future conversations and design decisions with your clients.
During the Project: Listen
Even with all that prior research, you’ll still never be an expert in your client’s field. So, to design effective compliance training that will fit your client’s needs, you have to listen. Come to meetings prepared with specific, thoughtful questions, and tune in to more than just the content of the answers—also try to notice the way your client answers. If their answers are thorough, nuanced, and precise, take that as a clue that the compliance training you design should have those characteristics as well. Open, ongoing dialogue with clients helps to ensure that your compliance training is accurate and clear. It doesn’t matter how interesting or engaging you think your content is if your target audience won’t be receptive to it.
To optimize your project’s effectiveness, be flexible with your personal vision and make sure you’re thinking of solutions that meet your audience’s specific needs, rather than solutions that show off the latest L&D trends. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice innovation—just be prepared to explain how training elements or styles that the client isn’t familiar with will contribute to meaningful learning and growth for people in their industry.
After the Project: Reflect
Over the course of creating any training, you learn a great deal about the client and the industry to which they belong, so find a way to preserve that knowledge for future projects that will be interwoven with similar themes. Ask yourself and your team:
- What kind of innovative solutions did you come up with to make the training engaging and effective?
- What did you learn about working with this particular industry?
- Which specific compliance issues did you need to investigate and address?
- What questions or communication styles opened the most doors with this client?
- Did the client prefer certain kinds of media over others? If so, why?
- Did you use any resources to learn more about the client’s industry or compliance training needs?
Keeping track of what worked well for specific clients, industries, and training needs will help you the next time you have a similar project. These notes will by no means be a perfect guide or a fill-in-the-blank template for your next project, but it will keep you (or any new team members) from having to start back at square one with similar project types.
As professionals in the custom training industry, it is essential that we research, understand, and design with our clients’ industry standards in mind. When we take the time to study industry standards, we can build effective, resonant training solutions that still use innovative strategies to help our clients do their jobs effectively, mindfully, and conscientiously.
If you don’t know where to start as you’re building your own corporate compliance training, let us help. Reach out and talk about what you’re working with and how we can help.