Is Your Current Compliance Training Effective or Simply ‘Checking the Box?’


Is Your Current Compliance Training Effective or Simply Checking the Box

Many companies provide compliance training because it’s mandatory, but are they really excelling at it? 

Organizations may be content to merely fulfill compliance training requirements that meet laws and guidelines, or perhaps they offer basic learning and believe that’s enough—or all that’s available—for employees to make good compliance decisions. Too often, these businesses find themselves burned by noncompliant employees ...

Companies with a “check the box” strategy towards compliance training may end up with minimum results for something that needs maximum efficacy. Moreover, many organizations go in thinking they’re doing enough to train their employees but don’t experience the shortcomings until it’s too late—after a compliance disaster has occurred. These companies may not even realize something better and more impactful is out there to teach and inspire their workers.

Fortunately, closing the gap between minimal and comprehensive compliance training isn't as hard as you might think. First, you must determine how effective your compliance training program truly is.

Why Training Programs Sputter

Even when companies take the time to develop a program that meets all the core requirements and looks good on paper, their efforts could still fail for one or more reasons, such as:

  • Not presenting the right scenarios: Compliance best practices—and the threats those best practices are intended to mitigate—are always evolving. If training doesn’t keep up with the changes, employees will receive substandard learning and miss out on the things they must know and react to in the present.
  • Right questions, wrong employees: One-size-fits-all compliance training gets only a few relevant points to each user and potentially subjects them to an overload of information that doesn’t apply to their jobs.
  • The same questions, over and over: Not updating training periodically—or even after a few years—results employees who tune training out, even when the material is actually new.
  • Employees fail to engage: If users don’t see the value or have a vested interest in compliance training—either before or during the session—they’ll speed through it, clicking as fast as possible just to get it over with. Subsequently, employees don’t digest anything they need to learn and are even less likely to apply the training in everyday compliance situations.

Assessing Your Program

Short of violations, there aren’t many good methods to assess the effectiveness of your program beyond hindsight data, such as completion rates and employee surveys. 

Although you might show that 90 percent of employees are completing training, that’s the sort of data that, again, merely checks a box. And when a compliance failure occurs, pointing to that stat surely won’t prove efficacy.

Once the decision is made to transform your training, great compliance platforms deliver insight that’s more proactive and less reactive, thus offering a true gauge of your program’s impact. You may not get that measurement until after you make the switch, but the transition is well worth the wait.

Escape the Box

Moving from a check-the-box compliance training approach to a dynamic, proactive program that gets employees excited to learn isn’t as big of a jump as you might expect. With the basics already in place, improvement can be achieved with the following upgrades:

  • Role-based learning: By individualizing and customizing the experience to the employee, role-based learning, also known as branching, ensures the right courses and questions are given to the right users. No valuable learning time is wasted, and employees are exposed to the information most applicable to their jobs.
  • Rely on an ecosystem: A comprehensive training ecosystem that incorporates other tools, such as, microlearning, job aids, and videos helps you operationalize your program by continually engaging employees and targeting specific areas in which certain employees are weak. Such an ecosystem also can introduce new concepts that should be taught immediately or put off until next year’s training (which, in an approach that doesn’t merely check boxes, should also be updated as needed).
  • Get adaptive: Good compliance training should teach something  to every user—no matter how the individual understands the concepts before and during the course. Adaptive training adjusts in real time to the user’s interactions. Employees learn through whichever path the platform deems best aligned to their knowledge level, and they are never let “off the hook” because the course won’t let them speed through the session. This kind of training recognizes how users are interacting and delivers a focused, practically personalized approach so that employees—all employees—walk away from training with new skills and information. 
  • Embrace real data: Robust metrics—beyond mere completion rates (the unfortunate go-to stat of check-the-box training)—offer incredible insight into how employees are engaging with, absorbing, and benefiting from compliance training. Then, apply this training data to craft short- and long-term strategies for identifying strengths and weaknesses and, ultimately, reducing risk.

Checks and Balances

Busy companies may accept a  check-the-box approach because it satisfies mandatory requirements. But when you fail to optimize learning for your workforce, you may be creating more work resulting from noncompliant decisions made by employees who never internalized crucial training. 

Compliance training can be made a priority without draining resources or disillusioning employees. Partnering with an innovative training expert streamlines and enhances the process and maximizes learning. This strategy offers tremendous potential to create smarter employees who better understand and execute their roles in keeping your company compliant and safe.

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