Compliance training can be the black sheep of learning and development. The subject matter is dry, and the training has to be repeated on a regular basis. With topics like fiduciary responsibility and whistleblowing protections, is it any wonder that companies struggle to find engaging ways to deliver this information and make sure it’s retained?

Although it may not be the most exciting part of a learning and development professional’s work, it is important for risk mitigation. But simply meeting legal standards is not enough. Companies need to start treating compliance as an exercise beyond risk mitigation and establishing an audit trail on mandatory training.

What’s Changed?

A few recent developments highlight the importance of effective compliance training that goes beyond the bare minimum. High-profile consumer fraud cases, like the those involving Wells Fargo and Volkswagen, have obvious legal and short-term ramifications — and an effect on their long-term brand perception. Corporate fraud accounts for $6.3 billion in reported total annual losses, with even more going undetected. Although many companies that are affected by fraud are in compliance with the law on training, employees aren’t applying what they learn.

In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced new regulatory measures that businesses must follow to ensure data privacy for European citizens. Although it has received considerable attention because of the large fines associated with noncompliance, more than half of organizations required to follow GDPR “say they are far from compliance or will never comply.” GDPR compliance isn’t strictly a training issue, but it’s critical that employees know what it is and how to stay in compliance. Employees have to learn and apply their knowledge of the regulation on an ongoing basis, and organizations have to know whether they are following GDPR rules.

Finally, we’ve discovered that our metrics for measuring compliance training aren’t effective. According to research by Deloitte and Compliance Week, the most common way companies evaluate the effectiveness of compliance training is to measure completion rates. As Hui Chen, a former compliance expert at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Professor Eugene Soltes wrote in Harvard Business Review, that metric doesn’t get to the heart of why organizations conduct compliance training in the first place. It mistakes legal accountability for training effectiveness.

Compliance training needs a refreshed approach to engage employees in the material, make it relevant to them and help them retain the information so they can apply it.

Increasing the Effectiveness of Compliance Training

There have been many advances in learner engagement across traditional and online training. As we’ve learned more about how people in corporate learning situations actually interact with and retain information, we’ve applied that understand to the development of content. However, that application doesn’t always make it to compliance training.

So, how can organizations apply effective learning technologies and techniques to deliver more effective compliance training? Video is one answer. Here’s why:

1. Shorten content.

Do you really need to have someone sit in front of his or her computer screen or in a training room for hours at a time, or can you deliver training in smaller, bite-size videos? Can you make compliance training asynchronous so employees can consume it as they have time? Video naturally accommodates learners who might forget compliance lessons the moment they leave the classroom by allowing them to pause and replay the content until they understand it. Using microlearning videos can also supplement or review key points from traditional training.

2. Tell a story.

Everyone loves a good story. Stories that involve compliance can be stranger than fiction and capture employees’ attention, and incorporating storytelling can actually increase retention rates of information. Video helps organizations hone a story into an effective vehicle for learning. No one would say compliance learning is fun, but it can at least captures learners’ attention, teach them something new and be memorable.

3. Give them something to reference.

Most traditional compliance programs are one-and-done courses, and unless your learners are taking detailed notes, they can easily lose key points. Even printed materials can be recycled before learners even leave the classroom. Video helps organizations scale their training resources to the entire workforce while providing a resource that employees can reference whenever they need to. Video is also customizable in a way that off-the-shelf training courses are not.

4. Explain complex issues easily.

Training must break down complex ideas into easy-to-understand pieces, and video (particularly animated video) is ideal for this task. Video is versatile and naturally captivates learners. Organizations can use animated video to present abstract or complicated messages effectively and update information as laws and compliance requirements change.

Making Compliance Effectiveness a Priority

It’s easy to ensure that your compliance training is up to the scrutiny of regulators, but it’s not as straightforward to understand whether that training is effective. It is clear that just measuring course completion isn’t enough.

Video is uniquely suited to increasing engagement with and retention of compliance content. The right video technology also makes it easy to deliver critical, mandatory training. More than just an exercise in following the law, video is an effective way to make sure your employees understand and apply compliance training.