Detox from Compliance Training in 2019, plan right for 2020!

At this point of the year, staff complain about having too much compliance training to do. They want it to stop and not begin again until it’s absolutely required. Even then, it’s a tough chore to get across. Listening to your audience is important, but you have to wonder how many of them ever really want to do compliance training!

Why do organizations get themselves in this predicament? It’s easy to resolve if you put in the proper structure.

For many years in corporate life I listened to all the commotion from different areas of an organization. A few years into my career I realized that you can’t make everyone happy. All I can do is what’s best for my organization. But I thought, there must be a better way to get buy-in and at least make this less like a chore.

So, I started doing things differently. My plan was to enhance my relationships with each business of the organization, and learn more about what staff do and how I can apply a solid training and/or communications strategy. It wasn’t that difficult. I’d listen carefully to what each business was telling me about staff issues, which in turn helped me to uncover potential risks to the organization.

I didn’t want these conversations to only happen once a year. My goal was to touch base with each business on at least a quarterly basis. I wanted to ensure that all the information I had at my disposal was up to date and also review any new information that I received that might change the training plan for the year.

The next question I asked myself was, “How can I create an effective compliance training program that takes into account the busy times of the year?” Not only would I have to take the risks into consideration, but also timing. Mostly, each department of an organization has different times of the year when they are busy and when they are not. For example, quarter end for an operations department might look much different in comparison to front line staff.

When I initially created the annual training plan, the schedule was staggered across the year so that we could avoid those pitfalls when departments are busy and staff are most sensitive about being taken away from their desk. But remember, what a plan looks like at the beginning could be  different from how it ends up at the end of the year. This is why having periodic meetings with your stakeholders is the right thing to do.

To end this edition, here are my top tips for avoiding detox.

Justin’s Top Tips for Avoiding Detox

1. Stagger your training schedule throughout the year. Take advantage of the time when staff are more physically and mentally available.

2. Listen to your staff and take the time to understand their point of view. Even though there might be some complaining involved, you can always pick up some useful information.

3. Do what’s best for your organization. Look at your organization’s risk profile to determine what your staff needs to learn.

4. Control the field by providing thoughtful suggestions and opinions.

5. Keep it short and sweet. Training doesn’t have to be long and boring. Remember your target audience!

6. Provide the right messaging to increase levels of retention. Retention means everything. If they don’t remember, how will they apply their newfound knowledge?

7. Know your target audience and deliver impactful presentations. Make sure it aligns with their roles and responsibilities.

8. Relationships are the key to success. Meet with your stakeholders periodically and let them know you are listening.

9. Make compliance training fun! Well, fun might be an overstatement, but it can be entertaining and impactful.

Nowadays, I help clients and partners construct effective compliance training programs based on my corporate and regulatory experience as well as working for a regulator. These lessons have served me well since I understand the landscape that organizations work in and what is required from our regulators.

If you are interested in learning more of what we can do for your organization, please feel free to contact us.


An article written by Justin Muscolino
Head of Compliance Training
North America