Try This Two-Pronged Approach For Compliance Training That Sticks

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Education is always an opportunity to elicit connections, emotions and new approaches to longstanding organizational challenges. This lesson might go unheard by many, but not by GRC Solutions’ Justin Muscolino. One of the latest to join eThink Education‘s relentlessly paced partnership program, he shared his insight on effective compliance training programs through cutting-edge technology in a guest post.

What is compliance training

Out of the gate, the first challenge is apparent. Is it even possible to find instructors and designers who are passionate about compliance? Building a course has never been easier, and when it comes to compliance training, attention and research can make or break a proper course.

Then the regulators come.

To some extent, the initial reception to mandatory compliance training on the part of employees is linked to culture, as well as the historical background of people’s relationship with authority and government officials. But there’s a catch. On the one hand, there is a substantial body of evidence as to what makes a compliance training intervention effective:

  • Focused on values that are reiterated throughout the intervention, starting with integrity.
  • These values must be promoted from the top. Course participants must see the training as a way to get acquainted with the organization’s leadership and its values.
  • Embracing those values on the part of the employee must demonstrably be linked to increased opportunities, and eventually opportunities with higher scope of action and autonomy.

Designed not to excite?

From a sustainability perspective, it makes sense that the values practiced by the top-level leadership are those most spread out, and that those willing to embrace them are brought into inner circles. Provided those are values worth pursuing, of course.

Another consistent body of evidence involves the way in which compliance content is absorbed and enforced according to the region, or country; and how it correlates with a culture of innovation. Therein lies the catch: Ensuring that only people sharing the same vision and values can be a part of training, from compliance to professional development going forward, can be detrimental to a culture of innovation. Let alone the consequences on workplace diversity. But it makes for a more steady training, and even be more cost-effective.

A tricky reality: You may not want all your employees to be perfectly in line with training.

The two pronged model: Emotional—Efficient Compliance Training

Muscolino’s 7 tips can be seen as a compliance training veteran’s way to address the double need of compliance training that speaks to a diverse audience, including those on the skeptical edge.

  • Retention. Whether people agree or not on the value of compliance training, they must be informed enough to be a part of the debate. The instructor must ensure everyone is knowledgeable enough to be a part of the conversation.
  • Creativity. What better way to test new ideas, or current ideas in new contexts (and vice versa) than allowing for “what ifs” contrary to what is, often literally, the norm. If the body of the compliance is reasonable, scenarios where it cannot be properly enforced should make its necessity evident.
  • Interactivity. Between people and content, people and technology, people and other people. Freedom of interaction is a time-tested approach to convince.
  • Budget. Resourcefulness should be a mandatory skill for a workplace trainer. Economic considerations supporting the rationale of the compliance are also key selling points.
  • Integration. If many areas across the organization are due compliance training with overlapping subjects, make it an opportunity to further integrate people working from different angles.
  • Timeliness. Tied to the element of resourcefulness. Making the training as short as possible while keeping it effective is a valuable (dare I say, braggable) skill. It also reinforces people’s ideas that their time and work is respected.
  • Conciseness. Ultimately, compliance training should focus on drive an actionable point across, and nothing else. Allow for people to get involved into “higher power” debates, just not on the company’s time.

It becomes clear that authenticity is fundamental to make sure different points of view enter into consideration. It is the leader’s purview to establish limits, but dialogue and interaction can make wonders for effective compliance training.

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