Striving for 100% Completion: Getting Compliance on Your Compliance Training

John Just


John JustAt the last few conferences I have attended and spoken at, including our own KB4-CON 2022, I noticed a question that many people have struggled with for years rearing its ugly head again.

That question: “How can we get everyone to complete the organization’s required compliance training?” 

If you’ve been struggling with this issue, this blog post is for you. 

Here are some best practices from my experience running compliance training programs and tips that have been shared from a number of our customers and partners that are achieving 100% compliance completion rates with their training campaigns.

Get buy-in for your plan

Many organizations are opting for monthly compliance training, by breaking up required compliance training into smaller segments and delivering it throughout the year. Others are doing it in the slower season for the organization and going with the traditional “big bang” once per year approach. 

The most important thing is to get buy-in from operational leaders across the organization on these timelines and deadlines, while also adhering to the deadlines for compliance requirements. This might also require different plans for different departments, divisions or worker groups, and that is OK. If everyone ends up at 100% completion eventually, that is better than trying to make a single timeline work for all employees. Involving the leadership team in the development of the plan and presenting options to them can help make or break a successful program. 

Provide visibility into the completion percentage

Reporting must be widely distributed to leaders in the organization and it must be benchmarked against the rest of the organization. 

For example, “Your sales team is at 56% completion currently and our organization is currently at 61% completion. Below are the people who have not completed yet:” Sending a message like this to the manager or leader of a team on a regular basis during the training campaign can help spur the leaders to take action to get their team to comply. You should also let executives get updates well before the deadlines, preferably the way they want them…emailed and/or self-service so they are not surprised when the deadline passes. 

KMSAT Compliance Plus Dashboard

Caption: Screenshot of KMSAT Team Dashboard for Training Campaigns where managers can check on team progress by logging into the learner experience. 

Gamify your program

Some of the organizations I talked to are breaking their departments/divisions into teams with the leaders as the captains that compete against each other to be the first to complete compliance training programs in a given timeframe. 

Other organizations offer random drawings for gift cards for those that complete the training early. People love to win stuff, so a chance to win something or gain special recognition is more motivating than everyone getting something for simply completing training.

This part of human nature is something marketing professionals have known for years with contests to motivate consumers. Why not train like a marketer and take advantage of the motivation of a chance to win? For example, one organization gave out three $100 gift cards in a random drawing to everyone who completed their training a week ahead of the deadline and saw a dramatic increase in their completion rate for that training campaign.

Use quality training content

Let’s face it, most training content is not going to match the level of production quality of the next hit on Netflix or HBO, but expectations have certainly been raised in the last few years. 

Providing the same exact module every year that is a glorified “PowerPoint” is not motivating. If the content is not clear about why it’s needed, it can also be very demotivating. 

Go with the best content that fits your organization's culture. Brand it or add custom elements to the campaign to make sure you provide the best opportunity for your organization to engage. For example, add a short introduction video or customized message from your organization’s CEO to the training campaign to address why it is important. 

Stick to firm deadlines and consequences

If people know you are just going to extend the deadline or let content build up that is overdue, word will get around fast. It is better to have a quarterly program that gets to 96% and shoot for 98% next quarter than to relent and let people think they can procrastinate, because they will. 

One organization I spoke with would shut off the email of anyone that did not complete the required training. This was working for them (surprisingly so), and is the most extreme consequence I have heard of. Another organization took a “three strikes” approach that had progressive discipline. The cool thing about this organization’s method is that the employees had a way to complete additional optional training and wipe a strike away. 

Try implementing firm deadlines and consequences that work for your organization. Advocate that compliance training should be in an organization policy and have real teeth for it to be understood universally as important. 

These are just a few of the tips that I have learned as I talk with our customers, but let me know if you have more to share about what you are doing via Twitter or Linkedin. I’d love to hear what is working for your organization to achieve 100% compliance training completion.  Reach out to us today and schedule a call to learn about more best practices we can share with you from customers who have been successful with 100% completion for their compliance training campaigns.


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