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Using new thinking habits to increase the impact of your compliance solutions

In part two of her blog series, Learning Strategy Expert Michelle Ockers examines how L&D professionals can reinforce new thinking habits and increase the impact of their compliance solutions.
Michelle Ockers - Guest Contributor

Written by guest blogger Michelle Ockers, Learning Strategy Expert and host of the ‘Learning Uncut’ podcast. Michelle helps build future-ready learning organisations. She is a leading contemporary learning practitioner at the forefront of modernising learning and keeping the profession relevant and impactful in organisations.

Recognising your thinking habits and being willing to think differently allows you to see alternative solutions in the system you are trying to change. Let’s revisit the three compliance training challenges raised in part one of this blog to see how shifting our thinking habits can open up alternative approaches. 

If you haven’t already, be sure to read the first part of this blog Thinking differently about compliance training for a quick refresher. 

Increase effectiveness

The business first thinking habit helps you move away from completion rates as the primary measure of successful compliance training. Instead, it makes you look for more meaningful indicators of success.

Here are some practical tips that emerge from the business first thinking habit:

Use meaningful metrics:

  • Move on from course completion. Instead, ask whether people can understand and follow policies and procedures to gauge their attitude toward compliance.
  • Review business KPIs and measure what’s most important e.g. improved risk management, reporting of breaches or suspicions.

Analyse data to gain insights to inform and evaluate your solutions:

  • Gather business data and get someone to help you interpret it.
  • Speak with department heads to identify the risks that are most relevant to them.
  • Collaborate with a range of stakeholders to identify the root causes driving these areas of risk. 
  • Identify what is happening in the business and what needs to change.
  • Use current business data as a baseline, set objectives for the future, and compare over time.
  • Use technology to gather data e.g. internal audit tools, phishing emails.

 Improve training governance:

  • Form a compliance steering group to oversee compliance programs across the entire organisation.
  • Integrate the perspectives, skills, and work of people from different areas of the business to create coherent campaigns.
  • Take a user-centric view by mapping all of the mandatory compliance programs targeting different roles or groups to understand the load and overall experience they face. Seek to streamline this. 

Enhance experience

The empathetic explorer thinking habit can help you explore the experiences people have with compliance in their daily work. You can also hear first hand about their attitudes towards compliance. This approach can help you uncover what is important to individuals in their work and how to make compliance programs more engaging and memorable.

Here are some practical tips that emerge from the empathetic explorer thinking habit:

Listen and involve end-users in design:

  • Conduct empathy interviews to understand the everyday experiences of staff with compliance, processes, and training. Use these insights to inform your design.
  • Engage SMEs in your exploration so they can learn about the experiences and attitudes of your people first hand.
  • Use storytelling to bring it alive — gather and use real stories from the workplace.

Make it engaging and memorable:

  • Use spaced repetition to aid learning retention. Run a drip feed campaign via email, messaging, or apps.
  • If using third party content, review it critically to check that the content is relevant and engaging.
  • Strip out unnecessary content and provide the detail in other ways e.g. performance support.
  • Draw learning scenarios from real-life situations using mediums such as video, photos, and case studies.
  • Develop games and simulations that allow people to learn from their mistakes.
  • Run engaging campaigns incorporating training, communications, and other behavioural nudges.

 Personalise it:

  • Use adaptive learning to modify the learning experience based on knowledge and performance.
  • Use technology to provide a personalised touch e.g. tailor learning experiences to roles and/or context, use a chatbot.
  • Engage managers by supporting them to role-model behaviours, providing them with resources to encourage their people to adopt compliant behaviours, and keeping them updated on relevant, meaningful outcomes.

Improve efficiency

The move on thinking habit can help you learn from the past while also allowing you to embrace alternative approaches to compliance solutions. Some of these approaches are indicated above. Stretch yourself further when it comes to thinking about risk and innovation in compliance to improve efficiency while simultaneously increasing effectiveness and enhancing the experience.

Here are some practical tips that emerge from the move on thinking habit:

Take a risk-based approach:

  • Personalise programs for high-risk job functions, concentrating your efforts on areas with the biggest business impact.
  • Lighten up approaches for other roles and teams to scale delivery across all teams.

Support learning in the flow of work:

  • Review processes and systems with stakeholders. Improving the design of processes to reduce compliance risk will reduce the need for other interventions such as training.
  • Ensure that your training and performance support content is consistent with your policy and processes.
  • Use job aids, online resources, and apps to support people in their moment of need as they work. Reduce or replace your use of courses as you increase the use of performance support.

Tap into available content and expertise:

  • Use existing content from your third-party content provider.
  • Support your people to contextualise this content by supplementing it with realistic scenarios, application guides, and performance support resources.
  • Seek input from others across your supply chain e.g. your insurance provider, other suppliers, and customers.

Think differently. Act differently.

The potential to create far more effective solutions to achieve more meaningful compliance outcomes is greater than many of your business leaders and stakeholders realise. Compliance doesn’t have to be a tedious activity to tick a box. While it may take a while to create change, you can take steps to shift the experience and impact of compliance training in your organisation.

Achieving this means looking at your behaviours and the thinking habits that shape them. These tips and ideas will help you increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your compliance solutions, while also enhancing the user experience; all of which leads to a far better outcome. 

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