A lack of engagement in mandatory compliance training is putting organizations at risk. Elucidat Founder and CPO Simon Greany discusses using a more targeted and impactful approach to ensure your training sticks.
Whenever the calendar flips to January, it marks a fresh start for many. But it’s safe to say 2021 brings us to a fork in the road, as we seek a renewed sense of purpose and optimism after a tumultuous year on many levels. For compliance professionals, it’s no different, as you work to find the way back to at least some form of “business as usual” in the new year.
Leaders in compliance would be wise to continue, with purpose, many of the changes implemented during the pandemic. There were invaluable lessons learned while having to transition on the fly, in a year marked by work-life disruption. Looking back, I believe one of the biggest business lessons we’ll draw from this time is how critical it is to keep employees engaged.
This is, of course, a particular problem in compliance, where keeping employees engaged with their compliance training is an age-old problem. However, 2020 shined a particularly harsh lens on the issue, as employees increasingly worked from home. With that, we wanted to understand just how serious the issue was, so we surveyed employees in finance and insurance to see what they thought about their company’s compliance training.
While the survey’s findings aren’t exactly rosy, there is optimism that the ways we’ve pivoted during the pandemic may provide a path forward in boosting flagging employee engagement numbers. A big part of that going forward will be a blended learning approach that includes e-learning.
Compliance Pain Points
Our survey of professionals in U.S. finance and insurance organizations with over 1,000 employees found that 15 percent of respondents say they clicked through mandatory compliance training without listening or reading, while 34 percent say they only skim-read the content and tuned in or out of the audio. Also, a hair under half of the respondents (49 percent) skip-read or didn’t listen to their mandatory compliance training in detail.
But lack of employee engagement isn’t the only consistent theme pulled from the findings. Forty-four percent of financial services employees say they do not feel very well equipped to protect themselves or their company following mandatory compliance training.
Another finding is the significance of respecting employees’ time during compliance training. Seventy percent of respondents shared their compliance training runs 30 minutes or longer, with the most common word used to describe it being “boring.”
Between lack of engagement, long training sessions and material that doesn’t hold people’s attention, the findings should raise a few eyebrows for L&D teams focused on compliance. That’s because not engaging employees in mandatory compliance training puts the whole organization at risk, particularly with regulators, who seek compliance as a result of training that’s targeted and effective.
Resolve to Engage in 2021
The data tells us that we won’t likely revert fully to the traditional ways of training, which is a positive in getting out of the engagement predicament. Brandon Hall Group benchmarking data released last summer showed that 0 percent of companies have plans to increase face-to-face over a year’s time. That syncs with our research, which found that just 12 percent of organizations plan to fully revert to pre-pandemic levels of face-to-face training.
So, where do we go this year in terms of training and engagement? Learning and development (L&D) teams have to be creative, specifically with the use of e-learning, which according to the Brandon Hall Group nearly doubled in use during the early months of the pandemic between April and June of last year. The pandemic forced the hand of many organizations, as they employed e-learning to solve immediate issues. But what these same organizations are finding is that a digital approach to training and learning offers huge potential for 2021 and beyond.
From innovative ways of building connections between learners to enabling on-demand training, people-centered e-learning offers wide-reaching opportunities for compliance and L&D. For instance, we’re witnessing more engaging approaches to e-learning content that ensure training lands in a way that is targeted, more relevant and impactful.
L&D that focuses on delivering more engaging experiences while using less employee time is proving far more successful. Looking ahead, short, bite-size e-learning modules that are personalized to be relevant to people’s roles and context will be a trend this year in compliance training. From using imagery in e-learning that looks like your employee’s workplace to offering role selectors up front so people can access the content that relates to their roles, there are plenty of ways to personalize training content to raise the bar when it comes to engagement.
So, how can compliance teams take advantage of this? Employing a scalable platform and process that guarantees impact on organizational KPIs is one way; this also addresses engagement. To do this, view L&D as not the order takers for training, but instead a center of excellence. With an e-learning authoring platform, L&D can empower a network of experts within an organization to become collaborators, overseeing it all and not just switching their focus onto niche flagship projects. Ideally, this model also means they can do more immersive training tailored to specific teams.
These are just a few of the solutions to address employee engagement in compliance training this year, but it is important to remember that no matter the organization, there is no magic bullet approach here. Instead, use e-learning as a tool in your arsenal, one that will help employees embrace and become positively engaged with their training throughout 2021.