Delivering Learning Success for Royal Mail
Royal Mail, the pre-eminent delivery company in the UK were looking to further embed compliance within their business. Skillcast Serious Games delivered their ideal solution.
When Royal Mail approached Skillcast with a requirement for a compliance refresher they were facing a multi-million pound fine for breaches of competition law in one of its subsidiaries. Delivering high impact learning to 17,000 managers in 17 languages was key to fostering a culture of compliance ensuring it didn’t happen again. Within a year of delivery, the initial target audience of 17,000 had completed the training, contact with the compliance hotline increased by 281% and the fine was reduced by £4million. By year two, the use of the modules led to savings of over 1,500 hours of training time by personalising the training based on individual need.
For large global organisations, failure to comply with the law can have heavy financial and reputational consequences. In 2014, Royal Mail found this out to their cost when they faced a £40 million fine for anti-competitive practices in its European arm. Their reaction to this breach was swift, appointing both a global Group Compliance Director to ensure that all divisions of Royal Mail were compliant with the law and appointing an experienced compliance learning provider, Skillcast, to create a set of digital compliance modules and other digital assets to replace an approach to compliance learning that was inadequate.
Due to the limitations of their existing Learning Management System (LMS), Skillcast were also able to provide a data rich learning delivery platform that provided detailed Management Information to provide assurance to the business on completions, achievements and crucially those colleagues who were overdue completing.
An online compliance and business ethics game to further embed compliance within the business and continue to engage colleagues to make the right ethical decisions.
Many of our clients, including Royal Mail, have found games to be incredibly useful in helping to identify strengths and weaknesses as well as offering a clear focus for future initiatives.
Our scenario-based serious games present your employees with challenging propositions in a realistic context. They can accept or reject each proposition with a click or swipe as they try to answer questions within the time limit without losing any lives. It is a fun way to reinforce the serious training that employees receive.
Serious games have been proven to drive behavioural change and improve knowledge retention. A quiz is just one example of a kind of a serious game, and it can be a great asset to support compliance e-learning. Most people love a quiz. It makes people think and add an element of competition, which drives up motivation levels.
Royal Mail wanted to use the advances in e-learning technologies to best effect to raise the profile of ethics, integrity and compliance within the business.
Royal Mail identified its manager population globally as needing a suite of interventions to cover four key compliance areas: Postal Regulations; Competition Law; Anti Bribery; and Sanctions. In year 1 this covered 10,000+ managers working in sorting offices, collection depots and Head Office, plus another 7,000+ managers within Global Logistic Services (GLS). In total, over 17,000 managers in 17 languages.
Given that previous attempts at a “sheep dip” compliance approach had proved ineffective (breaches had occurred and there was no easy way of tracking who had undertaken any training with any confidence in the integrity of the data), it was important that our modules were a lot more than just a tick box exercise. If they were to work, the modules needed to foster a “culture of compliance”, ensuring that managers were not only aware of potential compliance issues but remained vigilant, whatever their role or work context.
It was strongly desirable that managers did not simply repeat the same training annually as it is both inefficient and ineffective, with managers spending valuable time on activities that provide little benefit. Learning and behaviour change would not be the outcome. It was also important to offer a differentiated and personal learning experience. The benefits of this approach were twofold. Firstly, from an academic learning perspective colleagues would receive the content relevant to them and as a result remain more engaged, leading to more effective learning. Secondly, there was a significant business benefit in not requiring colleagues to ‘waste’ time working through content that they had already mastered and understood. This approach would reduce time spent in training to the business whilst ultimately saving cost and also ensuring more effective learning.
To gain support for the initiative, Royal Mail engaged with the Chief Executive's Committee to gain support for the initiative. Once approved an assessment was made as to how to engage 143,000 people by giving them at least one touch point throughout the launch.
Then Royal Mail had to engage with their compliance network across the group including their wholly owned subsidiaries.
To create a culture of compliance, Skillcast and the Royal Mail team understood that the learning had to be practical and grounded in the day-to-day activity of managers. With many years under our belt of creating challenging and engaging content, we knew that memorising policies would not lead to a culture change. In fact, it often led to negative attitudes towards compliance, where being compliant is seen as an annual tick box training exercise to be endured rather learn from.
Our approach was based on three design principles:
- Contextualising the learning intervention- based on real life scenarios that colleagues face on a daily basis, and then delivering this content with media rich interactive exercises to ensure maximum engagement. This approach, proven academically and also backed up by our own experience, leads to effective and efficient learning.
- Enabling effective differentiation in the learning intervention - where managers are already competent this should be identified through an initial formative assessment in order to then ‘assign’ more content based on areas of weakness and less content for those already having good understanding. We wanted to use e-learning to best effect and achieve what is not as easily achieved within a face to face session or many traditional e-learning interventions.
- Use of data analytics to evolve and improve the modules- using thematic analysis of assessment data to identify areas of weakness through the organisation which can then be targeted in subsequent interventions.
The biggest challenge was that 90% of Royal Mail employees didn’t have IT access. This meant that a game needed to be devised that could be accessed outside of their network, with an opportunity for players to sign on via their own devices (BYOD concept).
To make this happen, Skillcast created campaign materials and a self-registration process that catered for the wide variety of job roles, devices and access channels involved.
An engaging communications plan was needed to ensure everyone was aware of the opportunity to get involved and compete to become the group's 'Integrity Champion'.
- More employees speaking up - 281% increase in phone and email communications to the Group Compliance hotline and mailbox in the first year
- Zero compliance issues – across bribery, competition law or regulatory breaches
- 99.9% completion rate - 17,000 managers across the business completed their training
- Hard to reach staff engaged - 7,000 Operations Managers (the hardest audience to engage), completed the training before head office staff
- Mitigation of fines - The commitment to training resulted in French authorities reducing the fine imposed on Royal Mail by 10% (£4m)
- Faster course completion times - Average completion times for the annual compliance refresher fell to 29 minutes in the second year saving Royal Mail 1,500 business hours
- Better targeting and planning – The detailed reporting and trend analysis helped to target additional training and create better, more closely targeted communications
- The road ahead - Ongoing improvements include a push on greater mobile access, enabling field workers such as postmen to access the training in the form of micro learning
Feedback & awards
As a result of our work in partnership with Royal Mail Group we won a Silver Learning Technologies Award for 'Best use of learning technologies to ensure compliance'.
We are also grateful for the appreciation we received from Royal Mail:
"The Skillcast Serious Games platform offered a fresh and exciting approach to engage our colleagues. It was against the clock and consisted of ethical scenarios and dilemmas applicable to the biggest compliance and regulatory risks within our Group. The information that we could obtain from the game was vital for us as it was a behavioural indicator for how colleagues would behave in certain scenarios.
The majority of those playing and learning were colleagues in our operational front line roles, which was our desired audience and the ones we wanted to impact the most. We had an increase in the amount of communications sent to the compliance mailbox asking general queries so that’s a huge success story!"
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