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Amplifying Your Compliance Messages with Meaningful Communications: Part 2 of Our Zoom Chat With Renee Wardlaw

by Kirsten Liston

· communications,zoom chat,case study,library

Last week, we posted a Zoom Chat where we asked Renee Wardlaw of BBNC about her experience with Rethink’s tailored customization process.

I was especially interested to hear Renee’s perspective, because she was one of the first clients to experience what is now our standard approach to customization — one that is more full-service than many clients have come to expect from a training vendor.

Our process shift came as a result of a big “ah-hah” moment that we had here in early 2019.

Part of what we realized is: While training is important, it’s often not the most important thing on a compliance officer’s plate. In any given week, they may be flying to another country to investigate a newly uncovered fraud or holding high-level meetings to decide how to address misconduct by a member of senior management.

Our clients routinely have to deal with “drop everything” issues. They also need to keep big strategic initiatives moving forward while executing on the day-to-day action items on their plate. So is it any surprise that sitting down to customize the latest antitrust script can sometimes fall a little lower on their priority list?

We’re always thinking about how we can make our process work more smoothly for clients. And our insight around customization was: What if we could take on more of the heavy lifting and free up our clients to focus on the more strategic aspects of their courses and programs?

To see part 1, where Renee talks about how that process worked for her, click here.

Today, in part 2 of the chat, Renee and I discuss a related topic: How can compliance officers put existing communications tools to work to achieve some of their strategic goals?

We’re grateful to Renee for joining us for this chat — and we hope you find it useful also!

High-Impact Doesn’t Have to be High Effort

Like so many clients we work with, Renee was looking to make an impact in a time-efficient, cost-effective way.

While she and her team had contemplated doing a compliance and ethics week at BBNC, they also knew they just didn’t have room for an initiative that would require a lot of effort.

As Renee says: “For a lot of compliance and ethics officers — the people sitting in my seat — there’s a huge world of compliance and ethics and you have to know what you can tackle.”

And while a compliance week sounded like a good practice in theory, they wondered if they had the bandwidth to take it on. As she says: “We thought: Geez, it sounds expensive, it sounds intimidating, and it sounds like a lot of work with limited resources.”

But as she and her team got to know some of the tools in Rethink’s library, Renee spotted an opportunity — an anti-harassment video, “Don’t Stand By,” that aligned very closely with the compliance messages that the BBNC team wanted to send.

This video treated harassment as a culture issue. It reinforced that everyone has a role in protecting and maintaining our culture — and that we all have a responsibility to speak up if we see harassing or abusive behavior.

After reviewing the video, Renee realized that it created an opportunity for her: “When we sat and thought about a compliance week, we said: We don’t have the ability to travel all over, but we do have this awesome ability to press send and send out an electronic tool.”

Big Results Can Come in Small Packages

Spoiler alert: BBNC’s first compliance week was a big success. As Renee says: “We got overwhelmingly good feedback at all levels of the organization.” (Hurray!)

And they achieved this success with a four-minute communication. As Renee says: “I was completely impressed that in four minutes we could deliver something so impactful.” (Hurray again!)

"We got overwhelmingly good feedback at all levels of the organization."

Which brings us to a point we like to underscore about compliance communications:

Your communications have to be effective. This doesn’t mean they have to be substantive or dense. In fact, sometimes a short, well-designed video that hits the key points of your message and presents them in a memorable way can be more effective than a longer training full of detail and complexity.

Because it’s not just about what (you can prove) your audiences hear or read — it’s about what they remember.

After all, companies like McDonalds or General Mills or Coca-Cola have built their national and international brands through advertising — mostly very short communications, like 30-second commercials, billboards, one-page advertisements in magazines.

If I can still quote McDonalds commercials from the 1970s and 1980s (Remember “You deserve a break today?” Or “Big Mac, Filet of Fish, quarter pounder, french fries, icy Coke, thick shake, sundaes, and apple pies…”), then it’s not out of the question that a meaningful, spoken-word message about harassment might also stick with the people who hear it.

We’re thrilled that Renee was able to make an impact with her communications and received such positive feedback from her organization. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Renee!

Want to put memorable communications tools to work for your program? We can help you get the right messages out in a time-efficient, cost-effective way. Schedule a free consultation with the Rethink Compliance experts.

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