Contact us today 703.467.8600

How Compliance Training Gets Its Groove Back

In this article, I am going to be talking about compliance training. NO WAIT, COME BACK! I am going to be talking about what it is, why it can be so bad, and how we can make it better. OK? Read the first few paragraphs, and if that does not do it for you, then go back to what you were doing and we will call it even. Deal?

So, what is compliance training? Well, in my experience, there are two types. One is the type that most of us have taken at some point, which I will call “Corporate” Compliance Training. This annual training covers things like workplace harassment, cybersecurity, and other HR focused policies. These are usually the same training every year and they are reassigned to the same learners every year, and those learners have memorized the scenarios and questions and can finish the course without much thought. These courses are what is known as “click-through learning”, no thought required, just click “next” and you can check the box that you have taken the training. You may be starting to see the problem here, but we will get more into that in a little bit.

The second type of compliance training teaches people inspection or investigation skills they need to verify that other people are in compliance.  These are actual hands-on jobs like pipeline inspectors, hazardous materials investigators, and infrastructure workers. These folks must know what the federal, state, and local regulations are for their industries, so they must be trained in the regulations themselves as well as the processes to use when inspecting or investigating them. Unfortunately, the content for these courses can be a little dry. We are talking about federal, state, and local regulations here, so we run into the same issues we have with corporate compliance training.

Now that we have established what we mean when we say compliance training, why is it so hated? Compliance training has a reputation for being bland and boring, with ridiculous situations that do not correspond to the actual workplace, and to some degree this is a valid criticism. As you can imagine, most companies don’t want to spend a lot of internal time and money to create something that could potentially take months to build when they are so readily available in a lot of LMS packages, as generic as they may be.

In addition to that, compliance is typically annual, and if it was approached like any other training item, L&D would typically start re-analyzing the content as soon as all employees completed it for the year, if you were to give it the proper attention a course deserves before the following launch. However, as you can imagine, most companies do not have someone that they can dedicate to compliance courses, so they just use the same courses every year, and the learners take the same courses every year. This makes sense from a time and budget perspective, pay once and just assign it multiple times throughout a multi-year period, but from a learner perspective, it is terrible. Taking the same generic course over and over again can cause your learners to actively ignore the content and just take the course to “check the box.”

So, how do we solve these problems?

First, we acknowledge that compliance training has the potential to make some people feel uncomfortable. That’s why corporate compliance training should be made in a collaborative effort with your DEI team, your HR team, and your learning team. This way you can ensure that you’re creating the right level of discomfort for your learners to create lasting memories, but you are not causing additional stress through something unintentional.

Second, we must give more time to updating these learning courses every year. Things change in the world, and in our business, that affects the content within these courses. If you are paying for these types of courses from a vendor, find out how often they update them. Laws change, regulations get updated, and outside events can change the way that these courses are perceived. This means that you need to reevaluate if your training is still as close to real-life situations as it was when it was released, or if you need to tweak or rewrite the scenarios. Your outdated training could end up doing more harm than good just because the company did not take the time to look at the changing cultural landscape.

There you have it – we have solved the mystery of how to give compliance training its groove back.  Just give it time and money.  Isn’t that always the way?  In all seriousness, we need to start treating compliance training the same way we treat all other training projects, with a true analysis of learning objectives and existing materials and give it the design and development time that it deserves.  It is not rocket science, to create fantastic training, you need enough time and a solid process. I know, easier said than done, but that is what it takes, and I think we can do it.

Share this post:

Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Share to LinkedIn
Share by Email

Tell me more!

Want to learn more about this topic? Listen to our podcast episode!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.