Engaging Training Experiences

Engaging Training for a
Captive Audience

The first few weeks of any new job or role is an exciting time: new people, new responsibilities, a new environment. Like with anything new, the shine fades away with time. Unfortunately, many organizations inadvertently make the shine wear off more quickly by requiring boring, uninspired compliance and systems training.

We can all agree it’s important for people to get up to speed on their new responsibilities, including job tasks and ethical/compliance obligations. But many courses that teach these things are tedious to the point of causing physical pain, as if someone thought they should be character-building exercises, not meaningful learning experiences.

The thing we often forget about onboarding is that we have a captive audience. They’re excited to be there, but they also have to be there. They have to take various training courses to develop competency, from systems and compliance to benefits and organizational structure.

It’s easy to be lazy with learning for a captive audience: list all the requirements of a policy or regulation and say your training job is done. But that approach only scratches the surface of what could be. What if no one was required to take your training course, but your goal was to get 100% adoption? How would that change the way you designed the experience of taking the course?

The key to engaging compliance and systems training.

One of the keys to a meaningful onboarding experience is to help employees understand the “why” behind everything they’re asked to do. To create engaging compliance and systems training (or any other required training) for a captive audience, we should answer the questions that they have as they go through it:

  • Why does this training matter?
  • How will my actions impact the end user or my colleagues?
  • Where does this fit into the overall ecosystem?
  • What value does it provide to my role? What about the organization?

By providing the “why,” you’ll help employees make a connection between their new role and the overall mission of the organization. Additionally, it makes the training more interesting and aids in retention of the new information.
Ready to rethink your own compliance and systems training, but aren’t sure what that looks like? Let’s take a look at some examples to get the wheels turning.

Engaging compliance training.

A large manufacturing company wanted to provide new employees with guidelines on how to engage in social media—not just in their official capacity as employees, but in their personal lives as well. As a high-profile company whose work had national security implications, it was important to make sure everyone had an understanding that social media posed special risks to the company’s reputation and, potentially, the country’s security. The company was particularly concerned about making sure the message got across to its new, young employees.

The boring way of approaching high-stakes compliance training would be to create a checklist of policies and implied threats. Instead, the company developed a 15-minute eLearning course that challenged employees to think about how they use social media and the risks it could pose. In a highly interactive experience, learners:

  • Reflected on how others might perceive “typical” social media posts.
  • Considered detrimental effects on their reputation and that of the company posed by unprofessional social media posts.
  • Reviewed realistic scenarios and considered how they might best be solved or rethought.

The company found that, not only is it possible to create emotionally engaging compliance training, but that employees want to engage in it.

Engaging systems training.

A large financial services firm rolled out a new digital engagement platform for its most valued clients. The platform was going to change how clients engaged with a financial services firm, period—not just this company, but any financial services firm. Advisors, whether new to the role or experienced, needed systems training to know how to engage with clients in this new world.

Understanding that they needed to provide employees with the “why,” the firm developed an interactive, branching eLearning course that centered around five client stories. Each story started with a foundation of the client’s financial life and how they would manage it through the new platform. Building from that foundation, the advisors then learned how to use the platform to provide a deeper level of service than they ever could before.

The firm wanted employees to understand the value of working for their clients, not just the value of making the right clicks in a software application. Tying procedural training to their mission, vision, values, and value proposition made for a more engaging experience for everyone.

Engaging learners is good for business.

By providing greater meaning and context to compliance and systems training, your captive audience will have a more engaging learning experience. Whether they’re new to a role or getting up to speed on a new system, your people will walk away with a greater understanding of who the organization is and how they’re actions will impact the business.

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