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Blake Beus


Director of Learning Solutions

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Five strategies to make compliance training more engaging


Many employees see compliance training as a necessary evil—something that they would willingly avoid at all costs except for the fact that their workplace success often depends on such trainings.

To combat this workplace reality, a wealth of new tools and strategies have emerged to take content that is typically considered dry and uninteresting into something that is fun and engaging for employees.

This isn’t achieved by bringing in a motivational speaker or an Olympic Athlete to talk about success and achievement; it’s initiated by a leader who knows how to motivate his/her employees.

New studies and research have shown that making money is no longer the best incentive for employees to become engaged with their jobs. Today’s employees are more motivated when they feel like they are a valuable part of the team, and this is achieved when leaders take the time to make sure their team is engaged in the company’s overall mission.

So how can company leaders and managers become the types of leaders who engage their employees?

  1. Why Am I Doing What I’m Doing?

It’s important to show employees the end result of their hard work, and there are a variety of ways that leaders can do this. Providing the employee with a satisfied customer experience or testimonials about how their compliance with company guidelines makes a difference in the world are only two of the many examples. This helps employees understand the purpose of what they’re doing; something that Daniel Pink calls the “why” and not the “how.” When an employee knows they are making a contribution, they will become more engaged in their work by knowing they are having a positive impact on customers.

  1. Does My Boss Know What Drives Me?

Creating a culture that focuses on intrinsic rewards like a sense of accomplishment rather than extrinsic rewards like a paycheck is another way to build employee engagement. Kenneth Thomas has identified four intrinsic awards which can be used to ensure that your employees are working for the right reasons. According to Thomas, the four intrinsic awards are a sense of meaningfulness, sense of choice, sense of competence, and sense of progress. You have to include conversation, training, and coaching of intrinsic awards into the company so employees find what motivates them to engage in their work.

  • To encourage a sense of meaningfulness, spell out a purpose for the corporate compliance program that isn’t focused on company-based results, but those that show a positive influence on the customer.
  • To encourage a sense of choice, expand policy definitions that let employees explore their own choices by looking at how those policies influence some of their own roles or tasks.
  • To encourage a sense of competence, give recognition where it is deserved and tailor it to the employees’ abilities.
  • To encourage a sense of progress, celebrate training milestones and encourage a collaborative environment.
  1. Do I Trust My Boss?

According to Simon Sinek building trust and a feeling of safety is the most important thing that leaders can do to promote natural employee engagement. When a leader is willing to put the needs of his/her team before their own, the team wants to make them proud. Since compliance training can often make employees focus on the negative aspects of their performance, make sure that you establish an environment where learners feel safe with the training material. Employees shouldn’t feel danger of repercussion from each other, or from you. Take the time to how them that you care through handshakes and handwritten thank-you letters.

  1. What is my Personal Goal?

There are three secrets to engagement according to Kevin Kruse: growth, recognition, and trust. Taking the time to sit down with employees and help them identify their goals, showing appreciation of your team by recognizing them in front of others, and being transparent can help build trust between you and your team. A great way to recognize employees is to make sure the recognition is tied to a goal that you had previously discussed with them. Giving a team of people recognition builds and supports a team environment in the company.

  1. Am I Being Recognized for my Work?

Chester Elton’s Carrot Principle explains that in order to achieve employee engagement, leaders need to provide frequent, effective, and purpose-based recognition. This includes tailoring the reward to the employee and recognizing employees in a timely manner. Rewards are always more motivating than punishment, and these types of interactions could take place every day or once a month—just as long as they are consistent.


Expecting your employees to perform without being engaged yields less-effective results. It’s like expecting them to simply complete ethics training just by reading the material without applying it to their role in the workplace.

Just like a company needs customized and engaging compliance training, leaders and managers need to ensure that employees are engaged in their work to increase their service and retention to the company.

Prioritizing employee engagement has proven to be a positive influence for any company, and it all starts with the company’s leaders and managers.

Author Profile Picture
Blake Beus

Director of Learning Solutions

Read more from Blake Beus

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