Relatability: Connect Compliance Training With Your Audience

Make Your Compliance Training Relatable

Many compliance training courses miss the mark when it comes to relatable storytelling. They may present a lesson plan that is rife with useful information but they usually fail to grab the attention of participants.

Without a clear narrative, there is little opportunity for participants to retain the information learned in their training let alone apply it in a constructive manner within their organization. Individuals become more engaged in a learning process when they’re able to relate the circumstances or experiences in the training to their own lives.

This article explores how a personalized, narrative-driven approach to training raises interest and morale within an organization.

Use Real-Life Case Studies

Introducing real-life case studies of compliance violations encourages critical thinking by the viewer, and allows participants to take on character personas as they navigate each situation.

Most of the compliance training process is about applying common sense in these situations. So you can think of a case study as an opportunity for participants to calibrate their common sense principles to specific, viable situations. Participants should then be asked to identify each violation and present their responses in a “what would you do in this situation?” type fashion. 

Another way to mimic the real-life work environment is to introduce a sense of urgency by making the participants’ responses time-sensitive. Adding this time constraint encourages participants to focus on hitting deadlines and helps them complete the training lessons more quickly.


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Personalization Increases Awareness

When participants can relate training to their own personal experiences, they become more aware and more interested in the content itself. One way to personalize is to customize the compliance training storylines. 

Let’s say you have John who is an administrative specialist and Rachel who is a marketer. You wouldn’t want to give both participants the same type of compliance training. Instead, tailor each individual’s experience to their position and responsibilities. For instance, you probably wouldn’t focus a marketer’s compliance training questions squarely on privacy issues, whereas you would for an administrative specialist.

Participant Driven Courses

Another aspect of personalization involves the dynamic nature of the course itself. The participant should be able to “drive” their training, where each answer determines the next question or scenario that’s presented.

This way, as circumstances change, the participant is able to apply compliance principles to each issue that arises.

Present Real Employee Experiences

The most authentic training characters are real people. Presenting your participants with anecdotes from employees will show how compliance questions arise in the real work environment. These don’t have to be real anecdotes of course. Use hypothetical scenarios in the training, but include employee faces and names to increase the level of realism. 

Remember – you’re telling a story, not just presenting a bunch of isolated situations. Try formulating a longer-form narrative that takes characters from one compliance scenario to the next, culminating in a reward for pointing out the infractions.

For example: Pretend as though an employee, John, saw a top-secret document left on someone’s desk and didn’t inform anyone about the matter. You could use this scenario followed by the question, “what would you do in this situation?”  By using John, someone that everyone in the office knows, your training instantly gains a level of credibility that will help participants relate.

If the participant can envision themselves involved in each scenario, they will be far more likely to remain attentive during the training and far less likely to commit compliance violations in the future.

Segmenting the Compliance Training Process

Segmenting the training can be another way to meet learners where they are. Some individuals excel in a more visual, illustrative environment while others prefer to learn through text. Based on different learning profiles, segment your customized training into sub-modules and provide style options that suit the learning habits of your employees.

Segmentation may also be necessary when training employees across different departments; like in the previous example of an administrator versus a marketer. You don’t want the same content used across disciplines.

Ethics and Compliance decisions differ across the various levels of an organization and relatable training should address these differences in order to drive behavioral change.


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Reward Familiarity

Many employees will have taken compliance training multiple times, especially if they’ve been at your organization for several years. There’s really no reason why long-time employees should be required to take the same course as a brand new employee. Their time would be better spent learning new compliance policies rather than rehashing old ones.

Reward these tenured employees with trackable course progress. Every time they score a correct answer, they can be quickly ushered forward into a more unfamiliar phase of the course. It will save time and allow the employee to focus on mastering new material.

Teachable Moments

And finally, aim to turn wrong answers into teachable moments. Instead of making participants try and try again, give them a new situation that attacks the problem in a different way. It could be a similar question but worded slightly differently, or it could be a follow-up to the original question that explains how they can find the right solution. 

The goal is to point the participant in the right direction, not to denigrate them for getting answers wrong. Every piece of feedback should provide valuable information that improves the learners comprehension of the material. 

As you develop your training program or work to improve the one you have, we hope these tips help you to make your compliance training more relatable. 


Watch the Webinar:
How to Update Your Compliance Training
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