Action-packed Compliance Training

Consider the opening of a typical compliance training course. It looks something akin to this. 

It's followed by series of riveting slides that cover the following points:

  1. The (fill in the blank) regulation prohibits the following activities...
  2. If you observe non-compliance, contact the Compliance Department using one of these methods...
  3. Our non-retaliation policy states (insert the entire policy verbiage onto one slide, if possible)
  4. Remember that compliance with our code of conduct is a term of employment
  5. We strongly support compliant behavior and a culture of compliance

Let's cap it off with a knowledge check:

  • What does the federal regulation say we must NOT do?
  • How should you contact then Compliance Department if you observe non-compliance? 
  • We strongly support a non-retaliation policy. True or False?
  •  One of the terms of employment is _________________ with the code of conduct.

Is it any wonder that employees dread compliance training? What's missing in this course? Action!

Design for action

What action is at the core of Compliance Training? Do the right thing. (Make ethical decisions. Make safe decisions. Speak up when you see something that is out of compliance.) Do the right thing. It's a simple action, but one that's not easy to do, nor to convince people to do.

Underneath this overarching action are some smaller actions that need to take place to achieve the ultimate performance objective of doing the right thing. Let’s take a look at the objectives stated at the beginning of the cour

  • Be aware of compliance issues
  • Know the resources available if you observe non-compliance
  • Understand our non-retaliation policy
  • Be able to avoid non-compliance

here’s the action? Non-existent. So how can a compliance course transform from "Click Next as quickly as possible" to an action-driven course that employees look forward to...or at least don't dread? 

Start by asking the right questions

Don't take the word of your stakeholders to identify the action in your training. You will have to dig deep to unearth the real action employees should be taking. Many times, subject matter experts are so immersed in the legal nature of their jobs (as they should be), that something as obvious as identifying the action they want employees to take is difficult for them to articulate. You can help them. Ask some of these questions and keep asking until you have a nice list of observable actions you can train on. And don't take, "It's required. They just have to be aware of our policies," for an answer. Be persistent.

  • What will employees do once they are aware of compliance issues? 
  • How do employees use these resources?
  • If employees understand the non-retaliation policy, what will they be able to do? 
  • What observable actions can employees take to remain compliant? 

Compile your list of actions. Organize them logically in an action list. Already, the training is beginning improve drastically. You have actual things that employees can do as a result of training! That's more than most compliance courses offer!

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