Compliance Officers are far too aware of the obstacles to engaging employees with compliance training. Employees don’t show up, leaving the Compliance Officer to schedule additional sessions for months. Employees show up—but don’t ask any questions, or, worse, fall asleep. Surely, there must be a better way.
1. Bring carrots.
Compliance has a reputation for being a “hammer,” and that doesn’t motivate employees to attend training. Yes, training needs to be required and discipline policies must apply, but a dangling carrot might be more effective in filling the seats. Does your budget allow you to provide a meal during training? What rewards can you offer for attendance? How about holding a raffle, and every attendee gets a ticket?
Yes, you can search the internet for “Compliance training” and find existing training programs from other providers. But will they resonate with YOUR staff? Sample compliance program training sessions are a great place to start, but don’t forget to add discussion that is specific to the compliance risks your employees face. If it’s not relevant, it won’t be interesting.
3. Use hypos.
Compliance Officers read a lot of regulations and OIG guidance… so your employees don’t have to. Compliance training needs to educate personnel about the risks involved and how to respond to them, but PowerPoint slides full of excerpts from the Anti-Kickback Statute might not be the best way to go. Use real-world examples and hypotheticals to walk employees through situations they are likely to face on the job. The goal is for employees to think of compliance if they are ever in a tough situation—not to be able to recite the Anti-Kickback Statute.
4. Help your employees.
Sound obvious? Compliance Officers can get bogged down in the myriad risks that need to be conveyed to employees. Try a brain shift: what compliance information will help employees do their jobs better? What “do’s and don’ts” will help them out if they ever find themselves facing non-compliance? This approach can help compliance feel less like a hammer and more like a helpful resource.
5. Take it outside the class.
Annual and new hire compliance training is crucial! But it’s not enough to keep compliance top of mind on an ongoing basis. Compliance information and tips should be conveyed to your employees every month. Opportunities are everywhere: where can you catch the attention of your employees? Consider shift change chats, drinking fountain flyers, time clock posters, etc.—and never underestimate the message your Compliance Officer can convey while walking the floor.