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It's an on-going struggle for most companies to engage their staff with compliance training. There's a constant stream of new regulations and tweaks to existing ones. And many of these require regular training intervention - every year or every other year. 

For the vast majority of your employees, compliance isn’t their job. And none of them are exactly thrilled to be doing anti-money laundering training for the nth year running.

So how can you keep them engaged on these critical issues for your company?

As human beings, we focus our work on what we are being judged and remunerated for. If a person is employed to sit at the counter in a retail bank, their job performance will be determined by day-to-day task efficiency and the level of customer service they provide. Their bonuses will be based on meeting their targets, on how they score in customer satisfaction surveys, etc. They know they need to adhere to certain rules and follow best practice, but completing the next round of compliance training naturally just isn’t at the forefront of their mind.

So, let's see.

Making it applicable

The secret to engaging people with compliance is to make training applicable to their role.  This means using practical examples that show them what their responsibilities are from a personal perspective. 

It also means not drowning them in the names of specific laws or acts. It’s not their job to know the technical names. But it is their job to know what their responsibilities are. As soon as staff see how compliance relates to their ability to do a good job, they will naturally become engaged.

The value of bespoke content

The most obvious way to make compliance training relevant to your employees is with bespoke content.

Organisations need bespoke training programmes that are fully personalised, not just to their company but to the employee in question. Using your company name, the names of your policies, the terminology you use within the business, as well as the names of specific individuals makes training much more real and meaningful for your employees.

Reinforcing the ‘why’

If your employees understand why it’s important that they complete compliance training, they are much more likely to be motivated to both participate and pay proper attention.

Staff need to understand why it’s important to comply with rules and regulations, not just for themselves and the company, but for their customers too. Staff in a retail bank need to know not just how they can prevent money laundering, but why they need to prevent it.

For example, money laundering happens when people don't pay income tax on the wages that they earn, which means we all have to pay more tax to support things like the NHS and the police service. This will appeal to people as it makes it meaningful to them, their customers, their colleagues, friends, family and so on.

The power of choice

Research shows that using a variety of training methods is important for employee engagement. Short videos and apps make it easy to access content at any time and anywhere, which reduces the barriers to completing training.

Sometimes, just giving people a choice can be enough to make a difference. While some employees may prefer desktop learning options, where they can complete training at their desk, others may prefer mobile learning options that allow them to choose when and where they learn. We all learn in different ways. By broadening the options, we give people a chance to learn in a way that is better suited to them.

Keeping it fresh

The purpose of compliance training is to change people’s behaviour, knowledge or both. And to trigger change, people need to feel inspired. This means you can’t just roll out the same messages year after year. 

Training needs to be refreshed regularly so that it stays relevant. For instance,

  • Use recent news stories to illustrate points and make the training feel current.
  • Try rolling out micro-learning modules that make the point with access to more details in a separate document.
  • Try out interactive scenarios where your employees have to apply the knowledge that they've previously gained.
  • Try an annual refresher - where you can combine several compliance topics - again to save time, and get buy-in from your staff.
  • Use non-traditional means, e.g. games - to achieve your objective of assessing and informing but without the drudgery that people sometimes associate with traditional learning.

Compliance fatigue is a real problem that many companies face. But the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to motivate and engage your employees with the training that is necessary for ensuring a compliant workforce.

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