15 ways to contemporise compliance training

15 ways to contemporise compliance training

Towards a more modern and effective approach to compliance training

Online compliance training is often criticised for being little more than a box ticking exercise. It is seen as a necessary evil due to the fact that most businesses have to ensure their employees are compliant with industry-specific regulation.

Reinvigorating compliance training, towards maturity

The above quote seems to be a fitting place to start an article that looks at how organisations can contemporise their compliance training. Compliance training suffers from a bad reputation and recent high-profile business misdemeanours – VW, HSBC, Barclays to name just three, serve to reinforce the fact that this training does not lead to the desired outcome – behaviour change.

Here we look at research that shows how HR, L&D and compliance professionals would like to re-engineer compliance training to be more effective.  We show how 5app can help achieve this.

What is compliance training?

Compliance training is mandatory training – training that is required in order to perform a specific job function. It is either externally mandated by an industry regulator or internally mandated by the organisation.

Industry sectors have specific rules that govern how organisations work and the skills and capabilities employees must have in order to do their jobs. Different sectors have regulators that are responsible for ensuring organisations in that sector comply with the rules that govern that sector. An example of a regulator in the UK is the Financial Conduct Authority that oversees 56,000 financial services firms. There are more than 60 industry regulators1 in the UK.

Why doesn’t compliance training currently achieve desired outcomes?

In his article, Compliance Training: does it really work?2, L&D thought leader Charles Jennings provides evidence to show that current approaches to compliance training are ineffective.  Two main causes are:

  1. Generic training is applied to role-specific issues and therefore lacks relevance
  2. Training is disconnected from risk-causing events or other contexts in which compliance messages could be more effectively conveyed

He also outlines what needs to change to make compliance training more effective.

They include:

  • Focus on ways to encourage compliant behaviour.
  • Focus on the behaviour change you want to see.
  • Senior managers need to role model the compliant behaviours
  • Put employee fairness and ‘doing the right thing’ at the heart of your corporate strategy

An important point here is that these approaches are not all about training. Compliance training has a role but to change culture and behaviours takes fundamental shifts in how the organisation works and the relationships and structures that operate between employees and teams.

How to contemporise compliance training

The bigger compliance challenges outlined by Jennings will take longer to address. However, L&D and compliance professionals can address the more immediate challenges of making compliamce training more engaging and effective.

To show how, we have extracted the top 15 compliance training challenges currently facing L&D and compliance professionals as identified in two large pieces of research. The research reports are:

The 2015 Ethics and Compliance Training Benchmark Report, Navex Global3

This report surveyed more than 700 compliance professionals in the US responsible for compliance training.

Re-invigorating Compliance Training, Towards Maturity4

This report draws on responses from more than 2,000 L&D professionals.

The bottom line, according to Towards Maturity research, is that 98% of organisations want technology-enabled compliance training to help manage risk more successfully.

So, what are the challenges with creating engaging compliance training and how can 5app help you overcome them?

Challenge #1 Poor user engagement

5app provides a Netflix-style experience. It reflects the consumer technology experience employees are used to. So much digital compliance training is based on poor quality, overly-long PowerPoint-based content. Our interface is designed for ease of use and quick access.

Challenge #2 Staff reluctant to repeat year on year

5app enables you to add and remove content as required. This flexibility means you can move away from a ‘one hit’ approach to compliance training and push content at relevant times. Our subscription service keeps employees connected with compliance-related updates.

Challenge #3 Dull and boring – previous bad experience

With 5app you can curate a range of content and resources into playlists. Use existing content, third-party content or resources from the web and add them to a playlist. 5app automatically generates mobile-friendly content no matter what you upload into it.

Challenge #4 Subject matter experts overload content

Our playlists functionality provides subject matter experts with the tools to break up content into chunks and deliver them in a way that makes sense to employees. That could mean following a process or telling a story through the playlist.

Challenge #5 Lack of line manager engagement and support

Managers can play an active role in managing and promoting the compliance training experience. As an administrator of 5app they can promote the resources and assess their impact through our data dashboard.

Challenge #6 The cost of setting up and maintaining a compliance training programme

5app can be set up and ready to use within hours. It is a browser-based, cloud tool which means it can be used alongside internal talent and L&D systems.  It can be branded and customised, providing you with an opportunity to create a new, fresh compliance learning experience.

Challenge #7 Limited hours available for training

By designing easy-to-consume playlists of compliance resources you can help employees access resources quickly. You can also target individuals and groups so that the right people get the right content.

Challenge #8 Difficulty covering all topics important to our company/industry

By creating multiple playlists of content you can provide employees with a broad range of content and resources across a range of topics.  You can push individual resources and playlists to employees whenever suits you.

Challenge #9 Measuring effectiveness

Our data dashboard provides insights into how content is being used. You will see which individuals and teams are the most-proactive and identify employees who need a nudge to progress through the content.

Challenge #10 Not enough budget

By mixing old and new resources, you can save on content costs. Use the best of the web and inhouse content. Playlists enable you and subject experts to create lists of shorter, easy to consume resources.

Challenge #11 Training is not effective at changing attitudes or behaviour

By adopting the principles of learning science, such as spaced practice, 5app can help you provide engaging learning experiences and embed them into the workflow.

Challenge #12 Employees respond negatively to compliance training

No one likes click-next elearning and yet that has been a common approach to putting compliance training online. 5app provides a contemporary look and feel as well as the tools –playlists and subscriptions – for you to provide a mix of media and a way of managing when resources are delivered to employees.

Challenge #13 Content is low quality/unengaging

This challenge will become a thing of the past with 5app. How? Because you can re-engineer content into playlists and push them to the right employees. By including diagnostic tools in your playlists you can identify what the user knows. This enables you to send them relevant resources based on their prior knowledge.

Challenge #14 Off the shelf content not relevant for our audience

With 5app, you choose which content to include. It might be that you want to repurpose some in-house resources or use some content from the web. It’s up to you – make the mix of content that is best for your employees.

Challenge #15 Keeping internally developed courses up to date

Having chunked up courses with our playlists functionality, you can easily add and remove new content. The platform is built to help you keep curating your compliance courses over time.

One powerful way to do this is to push out a relevant compliance story that is in the news and run a quiz off the back of it.

According to Towards Maturity research, of the organisations that are successfully delivering compliance training, 88% have created a dedicated online portal for their compliance training. That’s exactly what you can do with 5app – create one place for your training that is easy to access on any device and that you can manage easily too.


There are many challenges in creating engaging compliance training but they can be overcome with the right technology. Interestingly, as a part of its research Towards Maturity asked L&D professionals how they hoped to develop their compliance training in the future. The answers fell into the following six broad categories.

  1. Align compliance training with business goals
  2. Create a better blend of content
  3. Deliver more for less
  4. Create a more engaging experience
  5. Tailor content to the role
  6. Simplify the process

5app can help contemporise your compliance training across all six of these areas by providing an easy-to-use platform in which you can tailor content for specific audiences and at low cost.


1. Compliance training, Wikipedia

2.  Compliance Training: does it really work

3. The 2015 Ethics and Compliance Training Benchmark Report, Navex Global

4. Re-invigorating Compliance Training, Towards Maturity

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