Mandatory compliance courses are one of those facts of life nearly all of us encounter throughout our work life. But it's not the kind of training most people get excited about.
I could hit you with a long list of reasons, but it boils down to two problems:
- The training isn't interesting.
- People can't relate to the content.
The first problem isn't too surprising. After all, compliance isn't known for being an entertaining, engaging topic regardless of the subject matter.
The second problem, when addressed, could actually solve the first. But you have to abandon the predictable, formulaic presentation of compliance training.
Compliance training doesn't have to be a slog for the people who need it. Here are five ways you can give your compliance courses an overhaul that can make a real difference.
1) What's in it for your audience?
There's a purpose for the training and it may have been shared with the people attending. But just in case it was a dry explanation, give it to them again in your own, more interesting words.
What are they going to learn and how will it change how they work? In other words, why should they care?
If they have a clear idea of how the training is valuable to them, they'll be more inclined to take it seriously and absorb the information.
Then reinforce the objectives throughout the session with the rest of these tips - especially this next one.
2) Make it relatable to each person
Your training materials are probably top-notch and thorough. But if I can't see a connection to my work or my life, your message is going to go in one ear and run out the other.
Take some time to get to know the audience so you can tailor materials to be relevant to their unique situation. (Unless it's an online course - here are some tips for that.) We're all human - we like to hear how the information applies to us straight from the source.
When you know your audience, you can share examples that help them more easily connect to the information. The bonus impact is that this is one more way to build a connection between you and each attendee, which can help keep people awake and paying attention.
3) Boot the bullet lists and start using stories
Raise your hand if you've ever been to a compliance training session that didn't rely heavily on wordy slide decks weighted down with uninspiring lists and text.
I'm just gonna assume there aren't many hands up out there.
Bullet lists are unmemorable. Stories are not. Bullet lists keep your audience at a distance, in a perpetual bored-learner mode. Stories draw them in and create a connection.
Find a way to share the all-important lists by weaving those thoughts and ideas into a story that people can relate to or that builds empathy.
I attended accessibility training a number of years ago and it was chock full of stories about everyday accessibility challenges that many don't think about. I left looking at my workplace with a new lens and that's powerful.
4) Be creative with activities
Compliance training inevitably has group work periods when people get together to talk through an issue and then one stands up to be the spokesperson and share their takeaways. Another popular option is role-playing activities.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
These activities can be well received by some, but they can make others uncomfortable. Why not mix it up and use a variety of interactive training techniques?
They help you break up the day so you don't get stuck in a lecturing rut. But the point is to give your audience a chance to practice what they've learned and/or make deeper connections to the material that will help them internalize and remember it. That's an important step, so giving options that appeal to more than one group will help people engage better with what you're doing.
5) Don't limit learning to the session you're in
When you're done with the compliance training, the people you're sharing the information with need to apply it in their everyday work. What can you do to facilitate that after the certificates have all been awarded and the training room is empty and quiet?
The importance of compliance training makes it imperative that good strategies for learning transfer are used to reinforce the material after the fact. Leave time at the end to build an action plan for your audience to help them keep the knowledge top of mind.
Make compliance less cringeworthy
Compliance is a different animal than typical skills development learning. The bar is higher for competence. So, if people stop dreading compliance sessions, so will trainers and your business will benefit from people who know better what they need to do to stay compliant.