5 Reasons Why Employees Are Tuning Out Your Compliance Training

Annual compliance training - words that can strike fear into your employees' hearts. Unfortunately, annual compliance training is often met with low enthusiasm. Uninterested and disengaged employees will often tune out your carefully crafted compliance messages as they daydream through the courses.

Why do employees do this? What can you do about it?

Here are 5 reasons why employees are tuning out your compliance training and what you can do to solve each:

1. Your compliance training is boring 

Creating interesting training content is a must. Remember, humans officially have the attention span of goldfish, so we need something shiny waved in front of us to focus attention. If boring training causes your employees to check out, how are they going to learn?

We've talked a lot on this blog about how to make your compliance training engaging (see our Quick Guide to Not-Boring Training), but it's important to recognize that making your training modules visually-appealing is not a silver bullet. For training to be engaging, it must be visually-appealing, relevant, unpredictable, timely and useful. 

2. Your compliance training is prescriptive

What do I mean by prescriptive training? Prescriptive training is when you teach your employees legal concepts with a series of "do's" and "don'ts". Not only do people dislike being told what and what not to do without explanation, but asking employees to memorize compliance concepts without context is not an effective teaching method. 

What can you do?

Employees are less likely to tune out your compliance training when you provide explanations and context to highlight the underlying prescriptive concepts. Do this by using stories, TED Talks and other materials to present your message.

3. Your compliance training is predictable 

The vast majority of corporate compliance training follows a similar format - wordy, bullet-point-laden slides with a short, dull quiz covering a few of the most basic concepts. 

Even if your compliance training content is interesting (most is not), you may lose some of your learners to what I call "format-fatigue". Employees can get format-fatigue when information is presented in the exact same manner time after time. Changing your compliance training format often helps reengage tuned-out employees. 

Instead of slides try using animated video. Instead of doing all your training online, try doing some in-person. Keeping things fresh can lead to big results. 

4. Your compliance training is infrequent 

One reason employees often tune out compliance training is because it's not part of the company culture. What do I mean by this? Ultimately, if compliance training is only important enough to do once per year, employees may feel like it's a "check-the-box" exercise and not worthy of their time and effort.

Okay, so is the answer MORE compliance training?

Maybe. But even if you don't have buy-in for more training, it may be helpful to break up the training so employees tune in to your message more than once per year. Incorporating micro-training "bursts" or an animated video course can help set the expectation that compliance training is not just a "check-the-box" exercise, but something worthy of employees' time and effort.

5. Your compliance training is not relevant 

Finally, your company's compliance training must be relevant to employees' jobs. What does this mean? It means you can't focus on legal concepts. You must focus on the day-to-day. Instead of addressing antitrust laws, walk your employees through specific topics that are off-limits to discuss with competitors and why. Instead of addressing anti-corruption generally, provide a real-world hypothetical which leaves employees imagining themselves in the shoes of your protagonist.  

Employees should feel like the training was created not just for "any employee," but just for them.

Providing employees with training that seems to be relevant to their employment will create engagement. Your employees will tune-in to your compliance training if they know it's relevant to their jobs. 

Do your employees engage with your training? If not why do you think employees tune out compliance training? Tell us more in the comments!