Organizations have to follow a set of laws that govern their sector and the country in which they operate. Noncompliance to these laws can result in damage of the organization’s reputation and financial loss, attracting huge penalties. For example, in Australia, failure to comply with a health and safety duty may cause organizations to pay a penalty of $1.5 million.
No organization can ensure compliance until its importance is effectively communicated to its employees, as they are the ones who need to make decisions while doing their jobs. Realizing this important aspect, in recent years, many companies have started implementing training to address this issue. Traditionally, this was done through face-to-face training in an engaging manner. But with strict timelines, budget constraints, and expansion of organizations to different locations, e-learning has become a viable option to train the workforce. According to the E-learning magazine, almost 65% of the content delivered through e-learning is compliance training.
However, as the subject deals with legal jargon, policies, and rules, the courses are not welcomed by the employees. This results in high dropout rates. But if you have to adhere to regulatory demands, each employee needs to score a minimum of 80% to record course completion.
What do you think is the reason for the high rate of dropouts? I feel that language barriers, no engagement, and poor instructional strategies are the main reasons for the failure.
Content translations for addressing language barriers
If you have your workforce spread across different locations, then translating the online courses into multiple languages is the common requirement. English may not be the primary language of communication for your employees located globally. Any misunderstanding of a rule or law may increase the chances of violation. Language barriers thereby lead to serious problems and heavy financial implications.
Translate your course into employees’ local language to get the best of your courses. Many of our clients get their compliance courses translated into a minimum of 12 international languages.
Authoring tools to develop engaging Course
With the advent of technology, there are many authoring tools for developing courses. Tools such Articulate Storyline, Captivate, Lectora, and others come with interactive built-in templates that can be used to create visually-rich learning content. Irrespective of the strategy, the course can be made interactive and engaging.
These tools also make it easy for translating courses and also quickly update them whenever there is an update in compliance policies or rules.
Instructional strategies that work for global audience
There is no thumb rule for formulating the instructional strategy. The type, complexity of the content, aim of the course, and the target audience must be considered to decide on the strategy. Compliance covers a range of topics such as ‘Code of conduct,’ ‘Ethics,’ ‘Sexual harassment,’ ‘Workplace violence,’ ‘Conflict of Interest,’ and ‘Employee health and safety,’ and others. These courses are usually aimed at creating awareness and behavioral change in all employees irrespective of the hierarchy.
Here are a few strategies that we have used to design a few compliance courses for our clients.
Case-study Based Approach
Case studies that closely mirror situations that employees are likely to come across can be used in courses, rather than explaining an isolated piece of rule. This makes training more relevant and engaging.
We weaved a case study for a course on ‘Unlawful Harassment’ linking the do’s and don’ts of the law. The employees are given a situation, asked to answer and then explained what they are not supposed to do. The types of discriminations were presented using real and vector images reflecting the various ‘job contexts’.
Explore and Learn Approach
Adult learners love to be equal partners in the process of learning. Learners get better motivated and engaged if they are asked to explore something. This enables active learning.
We used the ‘explore and learn’ approach for designing a course on ‘Trade compliance governance’ (book form with icons). Learners were allowed to click on icons to explore each point to be administered as part of the policy, and then go on a “web trip” to learn more.
Guided Approach- An Avatar
Compliance content is usually text heavy and boring; so introducing a character can add human touch to the course. This enhances the quality of learner engagement by retaining his attention.
For training the employees of a manufacturing company on ‘Code of Conduct,’ we used a character representing the senior manager to create seriousness among the employees and guide them through the do’s and don’ts.
Real Images Approach
Using real images/photos is a powerful means of communicating the message to the learner. Real images help learners to get quickly connected and relate to the context.
We used real photos to make an Office of Ethics and Compliance Induction course engaging for the employees. The course included information on brand promotion, support to HCPs, usage of free samples, and conducting health camps. We, therefore, used relevant real images of people to present all those areas that added a lot of value and realism to the course.
Integrating short, realistic stories into the courses can help us draw learner’s attention. When you present a situation, the learner imagines himself in that position and starts thinking. This improves his knowledge on the subject and decision-making skills.
This is a great way of teaching employees on the topic of ‘Sexual Harassment.’ We have collected a few scenarios that the employees may face in their job role and presented them after explaining each rule. This helped learners gain invaluable experience that they could use on-the-job later on.
Comprehensive Feedback Approach
Compliance training is not said to be complete if you have not assessed the learner after the course. Do you know that you can also make them improve their knowledge while assessing? Comprehensive feedback given to the learner based on his response, that is, explaining why he is right or wrong can add to his subject knowledge.
Effective compliance training will ensure that employees work within regulatory parameters. With the changing needs or constraints, it’s time to rethink the approach to design, develop, and implement compliance training. What do you say? Do share your thoughts on the same.