Compliance training: Seven innovative ways to get the business on board

March 21, 2018
Compliance training: Seven innovative ways to get the business on board

If you could read the thoughts of staff when compliance training’s mentioned, we’re sure it would go a little something like this: “wake me up when it’s over”. Let’s face it, delivering learning about your industry’s rules and regulations in a way that people will understand and care about isn’t an easy task.

We’ve shown you why compliance is good for business. Global companies have been obliterated due to lack of compliance. Enron and Lehman Brothers are just two business powerhouses that no longer exist because of regulation-flouting. Closer to home, Barclays was slapped with the UK’s biggest fine of £284m for failing to tackle traders using unacceptable trading practices.

Compliance adherence must soak into every aspect of the organisation. This can only be done with engaging and consistent training.

Don’t be that guy/girl

It’s important to get as many people as possible on board with compliance. For the most part, people are social and want a sense of belonging. Your goal should be to ingrain compliance into the work culture.

The feeling of being the ‘odd one out’ might stop someone who’s tempted to stray off the compliance path. Who wants to be known as that guy/girl who did something that resulted in tougher working conditions or worse still job losses? Think Nick Leeson bringing down Barings Bank.

Driving the compliance message home

Thomas Smith wrote a book called Successful Advertising detailing how it can take up to twenty attempts to get people to buy a product. Remarkably, this book was published in 1885 centuries before the internet and the digital age. Just imagine how many times a message will need to be driven-home with competition from social media, blogs and other distractions. This is why you need to find new and ingenious ways of delivering the compliance message.
Start the cultural shift in the compliance direction by using some of these ideas.

1. Compliance training: seriously?

Appropriate humour can be your secret weapon when delivering compliance training. You’ll need to judge the tone according to your company’s culture but a bit of light-hearted banter can work wonders. Make your humour motivational and positive to achieve the right results.

2. Be a story teller

Most people can’t resist a good story. Couple this with the fact that the truth can be stranger than fiction and you have a compliance training gem. Seek out some compliance faux pas and turn them into tales of intrigue. Ask people to guess whether stories are true or false and what they would do differently?

Things that make you go ‘hmmm…’

To really put a twist on storytelling, why not consider hiring a film company to do a short series about compliance? Create storylines that present real life quandaries where lines can be blurred.

This will get people thinking that compliance rules often need to be applied to unclear situations. Arming them with visuals about how to navigate the compliance maze should make them feel empowered.

Have you noticed the amount of reality TV shows that are popping-up? Why not ask staff if they would like to play a part in the short series about compliance? If there are any takers, this will boost engagement because the team can relate to the people in the videos. They’ll also want to see their colleagues on ‘TV’ (well, their PCs).

Developing an emotional connection to a story will increase the chance of the message ‘sticking’.

If there are there no takers for your compliance docu-drama and you don’t want to go through the hassle of dealing with professional actors, why not consider using animation? There are hundreds of companies that can produce animated explainer videos. They will work with you on the script, you choose your characters and then you’ll have short personalised films.

Here are some other ways to include storytelling in compliance training:

  • Ask the team to share their stories of when they’ve used compliance.
  • Give a small weekly/monthly prize for the best story.
  • Ask questions about how easy people would find it to ‘tow the line’ when in difficult situations.

3. Tagline time

What comes to mind when you hear ‘because you’re worth it’ and ‘I’m lovin it’? If you thought of L’Oréal and McDonalds, you’re absolutely right. The reason that these brands are instantly recognisable is because we’ve seen or heard these taglines a ‘million’ times.

Choose a tagline that’s synonymous with compliance. Stumped for ideas? Draft-in the marketing team to help come up with something catchy. When you think you’ve narrowed down a few good taglines, get reactions from your team. After the final tagline has been chosen, get it stuck into people’s heads by repeating it as often as possible.

Use your tagline on:

  • Online courses.
  • Posters.
  • Classroom training.
  • Company screen savers.

4. Go visual

The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ can prove to be true when compiling compliance training. Compliance is about following rules and regulations, so providing lists of do’s and don’ts is unlikely to enamour people to the cause.

Using pictures and images to represent the key message is a worthwhile activity. Posters can be designed and put up in central places.

Cartoons can also be used to good effect. See how Sponge UK used cartoons to implement compliance training to Tesco employees.

5. It’s in the numbers

We’re going to continue along the lines of trying to replace reams of written documents with material that will make your compliance training more engaging.

Combine the visual of infographics with interesting facts and statistics. Take the example of the Barclays fine mentioned above. Writing out all the numbers in £284m will certainly be a head-turner:


To bring the message home, show in numerical form:

  • Fines for non compliance.
  • How many jobs the fine could equate to.
  • The number of people that could be indirectly affected by compliance lapses.

6. Let the games begin

Our article on gamification explains how companies are using games to drive efficiency, so it makes sense to include games into your compliance training box of tricks.

Work with your IT department to create online quizzes. Use a little competition to spur engagement by offering a token gift to the winner. If you plan to make quizzes a regular fixture, why not offer a bigger prize to a team member who collects the most badges within a given period?

7. Reaping the rewards

Disillusionment might set in if it’s seen that the compliance message is being badgered home but there’s no acknowledgement when applied.

Seek out team members who provide good examples of applying compliance good practice.

Acknowledging good behaviour in small ways can encourage others to get on-board.

Some ways to give the compliance praise due is to:

  • Include the story in the newsletter.
  • Give a short presentation in front of the team.
  • Present a coffee shop voucher.

Training staff in compliance can be a tall order. However, the process need not be painful if you use simple strategies to bring the subject to life. Think outside the compliance box for different ways to provide training on one of the most crucial aspects of your business. Your staff, shareholders and customers will thank you for it.

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