Post By: Kelly Sargeant
Online training programs have become a convenient and cost efficient manner to train our staff. Because of its convenience and efficiency, online training is here to stay. Sometimes, however, we pay a small price for this efficiency when the users quickly click through the online training. As we all know, when we rush through training sessions or do not have a personal touch associated with the training, we adversely affect our ability to understand or retain information. For example, what if a person has follow-up questions but cannot ask them because the online training session is recorded and therefore questions cannot be asked? Because live training is still valuable, it is prudent to consider more live training to complement our online training programs when we plan our training curriculums.
Surveys continue to reveal that employees are bored with the usual mandatory online training courses. Employees express concerns about the relevancy to the work that they do, the ability to retain the information that they’ve learned, and the lack of face-to-face interaction. “This non-human interface gives a feeling of simply ticking the box for company compliance,” says a survey respondent regarding on-line compliance training.
These concerns can be resolved by delivering classroom training presentations and utilizing the facilitator’s interpersonal skills. Unfortunately, compliance professionals are not typically welcomed with open arms. They are often viewed as a nuisance and the bad guy coming to dictate what we shouldn’t be doing during our daily work routines. Because robust compliance management programs help stave off lawsuits, government investigations and government enforcement actions, it is important to convey the message that compliance professionals are essential for the survival of a company.
Imagine the ability to change your work force’s perception of your compliance team by incorporating simple interpersonal skills during live training. If that sounds like a fantasy, read along and explore these suggestions.
A great interpersonal skill is the ability to get along with others while getting the job done. One way to accomplish this is to target your training to your audience’s job responsibilities by including real-life examples of situations that could occur in their day-to-day routine. Targeting the training makes the facilitator relatable and provides an opportunity to easily incorporate humor or another technique to make the presentation fun. Real life examples delivered in an interesting and fun manner makes the shared information memorable. For example, when teaching about anti-bribery and anti-corruption, tell humorous or attention-grabbing stories of situations in which extremely lavish gifts are offered to a government official. Then ask the participants to select which of the gifts would be perceived as a bribe: a) a Lamborghini, but with your company’s logo on the vehicle, b) a $5,000 gift card for the 99 Cents Store, c) a luxury vacation for dogs and their humans, or d) a new jet with unlimited, free fuel…forever! These may be humorous or far-fetched examples, but these examples provide the trainer with an opportunity to explain i) how all of these options can be a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and ii) that these examples can lead a company to incur civil monetary penalties or a criminal indictment; neither of which are laughing matters.
Another advantageous interpersonal skill is the ability to listen to others with empathy and show a willingness to collaborate. This can be accomplished by engaging your audience by asking open-ended questions. This technique provides a great opportunity to elicit feedback from the attendees to ensure that they understand the information that you are sharing. Listening carefully to their responses, encouraging them to voice concerns, and responding in a positive manner makes the attendees feel as if you genuinely care whether or not they comprehend the training and are willing to solve problems. The ability to effectively interact with participants is essential to ensuring that they are aware of and understand policies and procedures, laws and regulations, and the code of business conduct.
Lastly, interpersonal communication can be used to inspire and recognize team players. When employees are recognized for hard work and dedication, it conveys an appreciation for the work that they do and motivates them to want to do the right thing. Hearing positive feedback in person goes a lot farther and is more valuable than a companywide email distribution. Face-to-face positive reinforcement of the importance of ethics and compliance training will effectively promote the desired ethical culture.
“More live training please!” Instead of always click, click, clicking to the next page of an online training course, let’s also provide more live training while using these interpersonal skills. Targeting, engaging and inspiring during your live presentations to your workforce is a proactive solution to remediating the concerns of employees.
It doesn’t have to seem like a fantasy after all. It’s a simple reminder of how we can resolve the concerns of personnel by implementing a variety of training options. Effective training programs will aid in the success of your business and enable employees to have stable, flourishing careers.
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A couple of questions because you touch on some very good points.
When it comes to live training, though I totally expect to be thrown under the bus, run over a few times as the driver puts it into reverse and back into drive several times, and then dragged may a 100 meters…what are you thoughts to the following:
#1 – Live Training – Live Instructors
What I mean here are instructors where there is an element of genuine engagement that the instructor brings forth because he or she knows his stuff. Consequently, when a presenter knows his or her stuff, the helps the presenter become more effective. Also I believe that good presenters (so often people use the word “great” but that’s a little much for me) are a function of their willingness to practice. This means practicing by going over their material, taking it upon themselves to follow up with a few folks randomly and ask them what worked and what did not, and then to revise as needed.
#2 – Hybrid…online…live training
This is actually my favorite as much as I like to present in person. The reason is that I think you can bring into the mix so many of what you can live…with a little give and take. For example, there are some very good training portals out there (forget the one way, I talk, you listen..maybe a poll here and there…tired technique which is probably still the most used) but they require going back to my first point, practice. However with practice and even a little creativity, folks actually can be engaged even more than a live, classroom setting. Too much about this to go into here…but my point is I believe this is where we are headed due to costs and the availability of technology that makes this a viable and very effective alternative…or not…depending on the trainer.
Great points Kelly! Yes, compliance training software can be absolutely helpful to companies in terms of proficiency, but the issue you pointed out makes complete sense. And if I am being honest, I have had several, boring online training sessions that consisted of long, drawn-out videos and a small quiz at the end that was just so boring. You absolutely nailed the downfall of poor compliance training software, and I really like what Frank had to say about a hybrid approach to training. With so many teams still being remote, there’s a lot of creativity that needs to go into delivering engaging and effective compliance training without everyone being in the same physical room and this is where great compliance training software comes in handy. With that said, your mention of targeting training to real-life experiences and examples is key. Taking into consideration interpersonal skills like empathy and willingness to collaborate make obvious sense and it surprises me that more companies and organizations do not put this kind of thought and work into training. I think live training, with an online component, when balanced correctly can be effective.
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