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Many employees, as well as training departments, see compliance training as an annoying requirement they must complete on an annual basis. Compliance topics vary across industries and the size of corporations. It can include sexual harassment training, HIPPA laws, OSHA standards, Fair Lending regulations, workplace safety, and much more. Most corporations have policies stating employees must complete certain training every year. In some cases, the Federal Government stipulates training requirements that employers must uphold. Regardless of who is necessitating ongoing education, employees often tune out the repetitive messaging. Trainers may even lose their enthusiasm for the presentation of the material year after year. As a result, countless organizations end up dismissing content that is incredibly important.
Another perceived “strike” against compliance training is that, like all training, it costs money to create and deliver. Companies justify the investment in job-specific training because it improves employees’ productivity and profitability; compliance training rarely has that advantage. Creating training simulations is a great way to reverse the negativity surrounding compliance training. Not only does it engage learners, but it is more cost-effective than alternative training approaches. Here are 5 ways simulation training can minimize compliance expenses.
Training simulations let learners take an active role in a compliance scenario. Rather than hearing a story about how John Doe made a mistake and cost the company millions of dollars in fines, they can actually make the actions themselves. They can see the direct effect of how their choices, good or bad, determine the outcome. Simulations can show both the short and long-term consequences of individual decisions.
This approach shows learners how the content relates to their daily lives. They don’t have the excuse of, “Oh, this doesn’t apply to me, so I don’t need to pay attention.” They experience firsthand how the compliance content plays into scenarios they face on a regular basis. Simulations keep learners alert during the session, and the engaging practice helps them retain information better. This increases the Return on Investment (ROI) for the training experience.
You can host training simulations in your LMS, on a website, or as a mobile app. All of these methods allow you to track which learners have completed and mastered the experience. Supervisors can use this data to identify who could be mentors or helpful contacts for compliance topics. It also provides a record of who has completed the training, so training directors have a quick and verified list of who has fulfilled the training requirements.
Many organizations present compliance training in a classroom setting. It seems easy to pile everyone in a room, talk to them for a while, then forget about the compliance topic until the following year. This is ineffective for knowledge comprehension, plus it is expensive and inconvenient. Companies pay for a myriad of items such as facility rental fees, facilitator compensation, printed materials, meals and/or snacks, and travel expenses. Employees have to block off an entire segment of their day to attend the training, which depletes their productivity.
Creating an online or VR training simulation could cost less than a single instructor-led session, depending on the parameters. Even if the up-front cost is higher for a simulation, you can maximize savings in years to come. You can keep the overall structure of the simulation in place, only paying to make revisions that keep it aligned with current policies. You can freshen up the experience by adding new scenarios or environments. Revamping an existing project is the best way to stretch your training budget without boring your learners.
Whether they realize it or not, many large companies practice hands-on learning by holding drills for emergencies such as fires or intruders. These exercises show employees exactly where to go and what to do, which is far more effective than emailing them a list of instructions they may never read. However, holding a drill disrupts every person and process in the building, which inevitably costs the company large sums in payroll and lost opportunities. A training simulation can offer the same realistic situation in a non-disruptive manner. A great example is this training simulation on Health, Safety, and Welfare created in Articulate Storyline. Learners explore the building to look for safety concerns, making decisions on how they should rectify each issue. Unexpectedly, the fire alarm goes off and the simulation prompts the learner with choices for what to do next. It truly catches you off guard, just like an actual fire drill!
Training simulations can add other stressful or unexpected elements to situations that a drill cannot replicate. For instance, you could emulate a thunderstorm that causes a sudden roof leak or an active shooter breaking into the building. Facing these situations head-on forces learners to think through how they should proceed. Hopefully, they’ll never have to encounter these situations in real life, but if they do, they’ll be prepared.
Because compliance topics vary across industries, the risks for non-compliance likewise run a large gamut. Many companies face fines and serious penalties if they do not abide by policies, such as privacy laws under HIPPA and safety regulations by OSHA. In addition, companies must always be mindful of their vulnerabilities for lawsuits and likelihood of workman’s compensation claims. These high financial stakes make compliance training incredibly important!
As we’ve already said, training simulations let learners experience true-to-life scenarios. An eLearning module could give the learners a list of precautions to take when working with a client. Yet, a training simulation will show them the client, let them converse with the individual, and test them on their ability to take the appropriate precautions. This helps them understand the importance of the material and retain the information. Effective training delivered through practical simulations helps reduce errors and accidents that could lead to settlement expenses, criminal charges, physical harm, and expensive fines.
Training simulations can be fun and contain gamified elements, if appropriate. They can transform daunting and boring topics into applicable and lively experiences. This change in tone often improves company morale surrounding compliance material. The hands-on practice from training simulations can also lead to more productivity in the workplace, which increases the bottom line as well as attitudes. In addition, delivering training that is relevant to an employee’s job role assures employees the company values them and their time.
We’ve heard companies jokingly refer to compliance courses as “How to Not Get Sued.” And while yes, liability is a serious consequence of non-compliance, this is not a positive message to spread throughout an organization. Using upbeat training simulations that show the beneficial outcomes of following compliance standards can help shift the company’s mindset. Aim to promote a healthy, trustworthy, and transparent workplace.
Which of the 5 reasons outlined here apply to your organization? If you’re not sure, begin by listing the compliance courses you teach each year. Then, write out the business goal of each one. You can most certainly find specific ways training simulations can help you meet those goals efficiently and cost-effectively. Don’t let your company place compliance training on the back burner. Emphasize the ways compliance training simulations can improve and protect your organization.
Please note this article was originally published by our team on elearningindustry.com.
This article was updated by our team on 3/11/2021.