How to make compliance training not so boring


Harshit Garg

What is compliance training?

Compliance training educates employees on company policies, regulations, and legislation. In other words, it’s content that organizations are legally on the hook for teaching their employees.

The idea is that it helps keep employees and customers safe (and reduces the risk of legal action). To that end, compliance topics can include:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Workplace safety
  • Diversity
  • POSH- Prevention of Sexual Harassment

Factors that may make compliance useful for managers include:
  • Fewer lawsuits: Employee training on pertinent laws governing a sector can aid in safeguarding a business against future legal claims.
  • Reduced workplace injuries: Safety-aware employees are usually less likely to sustain workplace injuries, which might lead to a decrease in employee absenteeism and injury claims.
  • Employee awareness regarding risk management: When employees understand the value of compliance, they take an active role in the organisation's risk management strategy.
  • Increased productivity: Employees that receive training are likely to make better decisions and behave more responsibly, and positive behaviour can boost productivity at work since self-regulatory employees typically need less management intervention.
  • ESG Mandates: as per the GRI framework, companies who focuses on social and governance trainings for stakeholders such as employees, off role workers, supplier and distributors are better in mitigating their risks and perform better in managing the crisis.

Common issues with compliance training

One reason companies may not be tracking ROI is that there’s not much to track.

While completion rates might be high (courses are mandated), engagement and satisfaction are low. Per Gallup, less than one in four employees (23%) who have participated in a compliance or ethics training session within the past 12 months would rate that training as "excellent." Additionally, the most common course delivery methods suffer from learner net promoter scores well below the average across all software types.

That’s because:

  1. Courses are too long. Miller’s Law notes that the average human mind can only process 7 (plus or minus 2) pieces of information at a time. Most compliance training is hours long (some up to 250!), and no one can possibly pay attention to the whole thing. That means there are likely important concepts they miss.  
  2. Courses are often complex. Technical cybersecurity and data privacy topics are tough to grasp and are usually irrelevant to the learner's job. To get higher engagement, you need to segment your courses for better applicability and understanding.
  3. Content is boring. There’s nothing worse than a monotone voice droning on about password vaults. Plus, most compliance courses are often completed independently, so there’s no reflection or engagement with other people either. Learners tend to skip through lessons just to ace an extra easy quiz.
  4. It’s hard to practice. Chances to do so are so seldom that learners forget what they’ve learned — and don’t know how to implement it when it counts.

How to make compliance training fun and easy for everyone

1. Make training reach your learners

Typically, compliance takes a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, and that doesn’t work.

Some learners aren’t always close to a desktop or laptop, making it tough to access an LMS or LXP. Even for those that are, it takes an average of 7 clicks alongside a poor learning experience to find LMS content.

Others only have five to ten minutes to spare between meetings, going out into the field, or seeing patients.

To increase adoption, L&D teams must think carefully about a learner’s day-to-day and why compliance training is relevant to their job.

2. Make it Frictionless

Compliance training shouldn’t happen in multiple tabs, signup, logins, opening another app or going through multiple desktops.

Delivering lessons through applications learners already use, like WhatsApp or Slack, or devices they already use, like their cell phones, boosts engagement and helps people learn in the flow of work.

A 7-click task was perceived as 50% more difficult than a task with fewer clicks. And selective sustained attention only lasts for up to 15 minutes. Sending key information in short bursts with limited clicks can improve knowledge retention while increasing the chances of future application.

Learn how to deliver training in the flow of work over WhatsApp, SMS, Email or Slack

3. Embracing continuous learning

Compliance isn’t something you can set and forget. You need to ensure learners retain the information they’ve learned over the long term.

And that takes reinforcement — learners forget more than 70% of information from one-off trainings within 24 hours.

So send nudges to remind them of what they’ve learned or use poor behavior to trigger new lessons or courses that review concepts they’ve already learned. For example, tools like Leap10x can help in cybersecurity trainings not just for employees, but vendors and partners who hold your valuable data. Trigger small courses which contains the basics to advance not just once a year as a check box but in the form of small 5 min modules for better attention and impact. Make them easy to access, fun and engaging for the learners of all levels. This also helps your ESG mandates and mitigate potential risks.

4. Analyze compliance outcomes

We know that, broadly, the ROI of compliance training is not measured. It’s more about “just getting it done.”

But the problem with that is learners are paralyzed in moments when they should be springing into action. To truly internalize compliance material, they need to engage with it. And the way to make sure they’re doing that is to measure, analyze, and iterate.

To do that, you need data. One way to get more of it is to increase learner touchpoints. Besides breaking down your courses into more manageable chunks, consider using a tool like Leap10x to blend your learning with quizzes, polls and feedbacks.

As you sift through the data, pick up on patterns that can help you optimize the timing of your lessons, channels which work best with your employees and follow-ups and refine your content to best fit your ideal learner profiles.