What Are Other People Doing?

Nine Compliance Trends for 2023

There’s one question we get almost daily from Rethink clients: "Well, what are other people doing?" In a niche industry, where many people work on small teams, practitioners are hungry for both new trends and time-tested techniques.

At Rethink, we are fortunate to collaborate with a broad range of clients worldwide, providing a deep perspective on emerging compliance trends.

We recently polled our staff — from our advisory services team and data analysts to our marketing and sales force, client services crew, content creators, and course designers — to find out what they are hearing and seeing in the compliance training world as we head into 2023.

Here's what they said:

Welcome, New Kids!

Compliance programs were born among the Fortune 500, but we’re seeing new types of clients now, from tech start-ups to universities, nonprofits, and even companies under 100 people.

Many come to us having seen competitors get burned by a particular violation and, wisely, want to get ahead of it.

Much of what we do in compliance is universal: Most people want to run and work for an ethical organization, and all organizations face some kind of compliance risk. As we say at Rethink, “Better workplaces make for a better world.”

Get Good Data

The DOJ made it clear in their updated 2020 guidance that continuous improvement based on data is a hallmark of an effective program. But data analytics can be daunting: What and how to measure? How to make sense of those numbers once you’ve got them? And then what?

We’ve heard from clients who know they need to get data (or better data) out of their compliance training program, but don’t know where to start — and from others who find themselves staring at a pile of numbers and colored charts and don’t know what to do next.

The solution to that is good, old-fashioned human intelligence. Because not everyone is a data geek (as we say to our data geeks), clients who use our Drive Analytics™ service get a tailored, readable Drive Analytics™ report.

We also pair them with an expert on our team to help them interpret the data and consider how it could inform strategies for their compliance program. They use it to:

  • Determine the effectiveness of their compliance programs, policies, and procedures
  • Understand what confuses employees and where they need more help
  • Determine barriers to best practices and reporting concerns
  • Improve their messaging and compliance communications programs  

 Go Beyond the LMS

Our clients are increasingly looking for more ways to reach their audiences beyond training notification emails. (And the DOJ agrees!)

Compliance messaging competes with a thousand other pings and beeps and distractions every single day. Our clients are asking for more — and more creative — ways to cut through the clutter. The key is to work smarter, not harder. Plan strategically to interrupt your audience with the right messages at the right time, in ways that speak to their needs and reinforce each other.

We frequently help clients create curriculum plans that include both training and communications, and we increasingly receive requests for our communications services. These strategies and tools draw from marketing, design, and change management to increase awareness of your program and inspire behavior change.

KISS: Keep It Short, Superstar

The days of 45- or 60-minute courses are numbered, if not already in the past. Clients are asking for shorter training and say they feel confident defending brevity to the higher-ups.

In part because that’s what their learners are asking for: “Just tell me what I need to know.” This request has given rise to concise, targeted training specific to a client’s business and risks. If it only takes six minutes, we stop at six. As someone once said: No need to pack a snowsuit for a beach vacation.

Speak Up — Often

We’re seeing more frequent and more robust speak-up messaging, with organizations now including it in training and communications multiple times each year.

Messaging is becoming more direct and more specific. For example:

  • Lack of detail inhibits investigations, please provide as much as possible.
  • We appreciate anonymity, but it can be a constraint. Consider giving your name. We will protect you and can come to a quicker resolution by working together.
  • Not every report will result in an investigation.
  • We may not be able to tell you if an investigation is underway or the result of it.
  • We will take action against anyone who files a malicious or erroneous report or false evidence.

While the top-line message continues to be, “See something, say something,” more compliance practitioners are investing in training and messaging that will improve the quality of reports.

Address the Virtual Workplace

According to a recent Gallop poll, nearly half of American employees work at least part of the time remotely, and the number is climbing. The virtual workplace is here to stay — and with it a host of ethical issues that many companies are training on specifically.

In particular, clients have seen more reports of virtual harassment with digital platforms often unmonitored, no bystanders to step in, and the collision of professional and personal lives over video.

Records management and information security are also on the virtual training hot list as personal and company data moves beyond headquarters into the wider world.

Air Dirty Laundry — Yours and Others'

How do you get learners to understand that, yes, it really can happen here? You can start by telling true stories from your industry or within your own organization. 

Clients have discovered that turning these actual events into training scenarios (while not naming names) is a powerful technique to get people to sit up and pay attention.

In the past, compliance teams worried sharing true-to-life cases would trigger privacy considerations. But many have found ways to mitigate this issue to prioritize the learning opportunity.

Forget the Course Test

With the advent of relevant, highly customized scenarios, shorter seat times, and an increased focus on the cultural and behavioral aspects of compliance topics, course tests are becoming passé.

Clients don't want learners to "test out" of compliance training. Instead, they want them to engage with it, thinking carefully about the material and how it applies to their work.

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Make It “Designy”

We live in a pop culture, Pinterest, and Instagram world, and everything from sneakers to cereal boxes to, yes, even compliance training has to keep up.

Learners want to see sophisticated design and typography, intuitive interactions, and multimedia elements in compliance courses — just as they do everywhere else.

What Are You Doing?

This post ignores its own insight to KISS, but there is a lot to say as compliance rapidly evolves. Do you have new priorities? Are you trying different techniques within your program? We would love to hear from you.

Contact us through our website or on LinkedIn!