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Ready, Set, Engage! 5 Steps to Improve Compliance Training

Blog posts | 05.05.2021


Shaping the future of learning

Remember when you were a kid? You sometimes had to do things you just didn’t want to do, even if they were good for you. Eat your vegetables. Take your medicine. Clean your room. Hug that one great aunt who always pinched your cheeks too hard.

As an adult, annual compliance training can sometimes feel the same way. You just want to get it over with and check the box for another year.

Why can’t compliance training be like the courses that you actually enjoy taking? Why can’t it have interesting content, engaging storylines, and interactions to reinforce learning? Why can’t compliance training feel less like…compliance training?

Mandatory Training: Reducing Risk

During the crazy ride that was the year 2020, organisations learned a lot of valuable lessons – one of which is that we must keep employees engaged.

Mandatory compliance training needs to move beyond the once-a-year “check the box” requirement. Compliance should become embedded into the everyday workflow to create a foundation of behavioural expectations that transform organisational culture.

And yet, a recent survey by Corporate Compliance Insights revealed that 73% of employees skim-read/skip-read, tuned out of the audio, and didn’t pay attention to the details.  And 70% of those surveyed used the word “boring” to describe their company’s compliance training.

The result?  The lack of engagement and interest in compliance training creates significant risk for organisations.  But what can be done?

5  Ways to Make Compliance Training Better

1. Measure what Matters

Creating a culture of compliance includes creating goals and KPI’s that target the outcomes and behaviours organisations want to achieve through mandatory compliance training. Emphasising behaviours instead of “checking the box” results in shifting from training to learning.   L&D teams should put as much attention on creating relevant KPIs for compliance programmes as they do for initiatives like management and leadership development.   Measurement shouldn’t just focus on the rate of completion – it should focus on getting to the bottom of what is actually solved by making the training mandatory, and how it improved the culture.  

➔    Do employees feel included? 

➔    Do employees feel safer? 

➔    Do employees feel more comfortable coming forward when they witness non-compliant behaviour?    

➔    Do employees trust each other?

➔    Do employees understand who to go to when they need help?

2. Involve Organisational Leadership

Organisations rolling out critical learning initiatives know from experience that programmes are more successful when support comes from the top-down.  Compliance should be no exception!  Leaders can help connect the dots for employees by communicating why compliance learning is essential and how it will benefit the organisation, thereby benefiting the employees.  And leaders can help crystalise the vision for the future of what a culturally compliant workforce looks like:  an ethical, collaborative, inclusive, responsible, and overall safer and more satisfying working environment for everyone!

3. Shorter is Better

In today’s uber-busy working environment where employees are continually pivoting from task to task, bite-sized learning embedded within regular workflow is more effective.  Yet, when it comes to compliance, this understanding typically flies out the window, resulting in long, drawn-out training that creates frustrated employees who just want to get it over with and get back to work.  We get it… there is a lot of information to cover.  However, breaking it all down and delivering it in manageable chunks will help employees digest information without feeling overwhelmed and pressured to click-through as quickly as possible.  Ultimately, this will help improve retention and reduce the eye-rolling and anxiety that typically results from mandatory training rollouts.

4. Make it More Interesting

We can no longer afford to simply spit back policy documents and manuals in a slide deck and call it training.   There should be as much investment and effort into developing engaging compliance content as any other topic.  Post-pandemic, traditional in-classroom learning has been significantly reduced, if not completely eliminated.  Digital compliance learning requires innovation to build connections between learners to make it relevant and impactful.  Modern and engaging compliance learning should leverage real scenarios, real people, and real imagery that align with your organisation’s workforce and workplace.  To be truly effective, it should create an emotional response. 

Organisations can nurture a strong, collaborative, and compliant culture by tapping into the talent they already have – the employees!  A key factor for creating more engaging compliance learning is employee involvement in the process.  Solicit their feedback and stories about experiences with non-compliant behaviours and incidents. Ask them for their ideas on how to make compliance learning better.  Recruit them to become the actors in the courses.  Make them a part of the cultural transformation!

5. Create a Campaign

In corporate-sponsored learning initiatives, organisations will often create a splash with glitzy, glamorous marketing campaigns.  But when it comes to a compliance training rollout, you can hear the crickets.  Go ahead and make a compliance learning splash!  

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Host a webinar with company leaders evangelising the learning
  • Leverage social media forums
  • Create a cool hashtag
  • Share employees’ personal stories
  • Create fun contests to encourage completion – like scavenger hunts
  • Solicit post-learning feedback and share the results with the employees 

Transparency is always critical to employee engagement. Ensure they know they are being listened to by sharing their collective feedback as well as the actions that will be taken as a result.



Your employees deserve more than just compliance training - they deserve compliance learning.  They deserve a compliant culture. Get your employees involved in the process and demonstrate transparency.  Create a strong culture of compliance – and reduce risk – by putting forth the same level of effort, innovation, and leadership involvement for compliance training as with any other learning initiative.  


Shaping the future of learning

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