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6 ways to make compliance training fun

Virtually every organisation has regulatory and compliance requirements that it needs to complete. This is even more true of highly regulated industries, such as automotive, airlines, pharmaceutical and life sciences, oil and gas, nuclear power and financial services. But there’s a stigma attached to mandatory training. It’s often seen as not effecting any real change but rather driven by a ‘box-ticking’ need to rush through the elearning as quickly as possible in the face of complicated, time-consuming and boring legislation. Compliance training is treated as knowledge training, but it’s really about behavioural change and instilling positive learner habits, although it is rarely treated as such. So the question remains: is compliance training doomed to remain ‘grudge training’ that employees feel forced to complete, or can you make compliance training fun and seem less boring?

We have worked with many companies (including airlines, banks, government departments, defence and security organisations, transport companies and a large appliance manufacturing company) on their compliance training – from creating it to evaluating the effectiveness of their existing training curriculum. In my conversations with our LEO consultants, our Director of Learning and People Imogen Casebourne and our sister company, Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) training consultancy Eukleia, some practical ‘next steps’ have emerged.

There are a number of ways to make compliance training fun
Mandatory training doesn’t have to be boring

Here are 6 practical ways to make compliance training fun:

  1. Make it emotional good compliance training should help people understand why it’s so important. There are a number of easy ways to do this. For one of our large international airline clients, we shot videos of actual airline staff talking about health and safety issues that they’ve witnessed in real-life situations. This helped to really bring home the message that understanding and adhering to the company policy really does save lives.
  2. Make it relevant successful and engaging compliance training should relate to the learner’s role and day-to-day work. It can be demotivating for teams to have to go through training when they know that the content isn’t directly aimed at them. One of the ways to make the mandatory elearning relevant is to use a role filter so learners only see the content that is relevant for them. Another is to use real-life case studies or scenarios – practical tips are always more useful and applicable than lofty ‘principles’ that make the learner think, “What’s this got to do with me?”.
  3. Make it short – if trainees know their stuff, then it’s not necessary to make them sit through reams of training. In keeping with the current trend towards microlearning, make the compliance training as succinct as possible and use diagnostic tools to tell where learners have knowledge gaps. You should be able to train once and test more regularly, if needed. If learners fail the test, then you can always point them back to the original training. The digital learning approach that LEO, in conjunction with KPMG, is currently developing for CSL (Civil Service Learning) is a good example of this. We are developing a tool that gives learners genuinely challenging dilemmas to see if they will do the right thing when faced with a real-world example. If they can, then the learner doesn’t have to complete the compliance online learning, but if they can’t, they will be directed to the relevant material. Another handy way to make compliance training fun is to think about using campaigns and internal communication channels to reinforce the message throughout the business. In other words, you don’t have to cram all the content into a single piece of training. Spacing the content out over time has the potential to increase overall engagement.
  4. Make it challenging – make any assessments and quizzes meaningful in order to test that your learners are truly applying what they know. Assessments shouldn’t just test parrot-fashion recall of information; they should also have real-world, practical scenarios that test applied knowledge.
  5. Make it motivational – autonomy is the key to motivating a disinterested workforce. Being told that you have to do something can be hugely demotivating, whereas studies have shown that managers who are actively involved in their employees’ learning activities get better engagement from their learners.
  6. Endorse it – having the senior team endorse the rationale and benefits of compliance training goes a long way towards getting people talking about the training. Attitude to mandatory training is cultural, so it’s all about the positioning – if management are seen to be fired up and motivated about the training, then that attitude trickles down into the rest of the organisation. But when management seems disinterested, learners can’t help picking up on this.

Group of business people doing compliance training
Compliance training can be fun!

It is genuinely possible to find creative ways to make compliance training fun. L&D professionals should keep their mandatory training programmes concise, with bite-sized chunks of microlearning. Learning programmes should be targeted only to the individuals who need them, endorsed by senior stakeholders and be challenging enough that learners don’t lose interest in the material.

Want a reminder of the ways that compliance training can be made fun and engaging? Then check out our infographic below.

Click here to chat to a LEO representative about ways to make your mandatory and compliance training fun and engaging.

An infographic on ways to make compliance training fun

Sophie Ryde is a programme manager at LEO.

Read about Sophie’s work to help one organisation embrace digital learning