As Warren Buffet likes to say, “You only find out who’s swimming naked when the tide goes out.”

Quality and safety has always been an important topic for organizations big and small, but the pandemic has shown us who can deliver on quality and safety when we need it most. Services and products we might have overlooked in the past became vital overnight, and companies who couldn’t deliver on quality and safety stood out like a sore thumb.

Whether quality and safety in your industry has the potential to impact lives or livelihoods — either way — you’ve got to get it right. And that means continually motivating employees to care about the details of their work.

So we wanted to break down how the right compliance messaging can do just that by sharing an example from the Rethink Compliance Library.

Our clients asked us to create an inspirational message that moved beyond “how to do quality work” or “how to be safe” to forge an emotional connection with employees and make them care about quality and safety in their work. The result is “Personal Pride,” now available in the Rethink Compliance Library! Check it out:

Motivating Change

As anyone who set a New Year’s resolution can attest, changing behavior is hard.

According to a global study of 500 executives by the Institute for Management Development (IMD), managers believe that only one in two attempts to change employee behavior is successful. That’s a 50% success rate. Ouch.

But with the right messaging, your compliance training can make a much bigger impact. The researchers at IMD put together the MAPS model for behavior change. According to the model, companies should use four “key levers” to drive employee behavior change: motivation, ability, psychological capital, and supporting environment.

That first one, motivation, is a key part of effective training, but it’s also easy to overlook when you’re developing your compliance materials. So here are a couple of tips for motivating employees to change their behaviors.

1. Build connection.

According to the researchers at IMD, a key component of motivation is connection. Connection is the “sense of being meaningfully connected to other people and what you are doing.” It’s important for employees to feel a sense of belonging at work.

How can you build connection into your compliance messaging? Let’s take a look at the very first line in “Personal Pride”:

“We take personal pride in what we do. In our actions, in getting it right.”

Thinking about quality and safety as pride — in your company, in your team, in your work, in yourself — builds a personal connection that encourages good behavior and can have the power to change bad behavior.

Right away, the video establishes an expectation of quality and safety baked into the company culture. As the narrator says, “Quality and safety are not boxes to check.”

2. Share the why.

Back in 2017, we shared a powerful persuasion technique for motivating employees to change their behavior: Share the why. People like to have a reason for what they do, and they’re more likely to comply with a request when they’re given a reason for it.

So, whenever you can in your compliance training, directly address the why. Here’s what that looks like in “Personal Pride”:

“Why? Because the quality of our products is our reputation. It’s the standard by which we are judged. It’s the pride we take in what we do. We owe our highest possible standards to everyone who depends on our work to do their work. There’s no room for error. There’s no ‘let it slide this time.’ Lives are on the line.”

Whether an employee is motivated by pride in their work or by others who depend on them, there’s a motivation there for everyone.

So whenever you want employees to change their behaviors, help them understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and help them feel connected to other people while they’re doing it.

Ready to connect with employees and motivate real behavior change? We have a whole library of compliance training and communications that can help you make an impact (including this video!). As always, our library materials are ready to roll off the shelf — or be quickly and easily customized to truly reflect your industry and company culture.

Want to see for yourself? Reach out to us at