Hot Compliance Training Trends and Best Practices for Engaging Millennials: Gamification, Animation, and More!


It’s not like you don’t have enough to do – it’s like you’ve suddenly become the Chief of Education in addition to the Chief Compliance Officer. You’re expected to be up to date on all the latest trends in adult education. Engagement, retention, participation, attestation and acknowledgment are all buzzwords you hear on a daily basis.

I imagine that with your limited time and resources, new developments regarding employee education may seem more like a burden than a blessing. Especially if you work in a company that multi-generational employees in locations all over the globe, finding a training that works for your company goals and brand while reaching and resonating with all of your employees can seem like finding a needle in a haystack… A haystack the size of Canada.

Fear not, brave Compliance Officer! Having great training is within your grasp. Better yet, it doesn’t have to be an expensive, time-consuming, frustrating, make-you-want-to-pull-your-hair-out venture.

Hot Compliance Training Trends and How to Them Work For You



Gamification has become a global trend. There are three primary definitions of gamification, each slightly nuanced:
- “the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals” (Badgeville)
- “the application of digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges,” (University of Pennsylvania)
- “a business strategy which applies game design techniques to non-game experiences to drive user behavior” (Gamification Wiki)

At first it seemed like a consumer trend – after all, making fitness, finance tracking, and lots of other mundane tasks more fun seemed totally logical. We all like to play games, right? The added elements of competing with friends, tracking improvement, and beating personal records make these “games” addictive.

It’s also encouraged us to keep track of our own behavior, both passively and actively. How many people do you know that use MyFitnessPal or wear a Fitbit or Jawbone? I know people that are so competitive that they’ve started competing on sleep quality with close friends. Five years ago, the concept of competing with someone on that level would have been completely ridiculous. You want me to track what?! And yet, now we’re tracking every part of our lives like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Making It Work For You:

It’s not surprising that this trend would eventually seep into the business world. I think Dr. Kevin Werbach from the University of Pennsylvania says it best, “Game thinking means more than just dropping in badges and leaderboards; it requires a thoughtful understanding of motivation and design techniques.”

As you can see by the last definition, gamification is now being thought of as a business strategy that has the potential to drive user behavior. Isn’t that exactly what you’re trying to do with your compliance training?

The best part of gamification is that it’s not hard or expensive to implement. (Better yet, it ties into, even enables, all the other trends I’m going to discuss.) Think about which initiatives are most critical for your compliance training program this year, and outline what the key takeaways are. What are the key messages that employees need to absorb for the training to be effective? These are the messages that will become the core of your game.

Next, consider your audience. Would they relate more to a Jeopardy, Deal or No Deal, or American Idol format?

Here’s an example of a training we created for Cisco – Ethics Idol.

 ethics idol compliance training

You can imagine that with a tech-savvy workforce, especially one that’s highly made up of millennials, this kind of training isn’t just necessary, it’s expected. We designed four episodes of Ethics Idol, each dealing with a topic that integrated with Cisco’s highest order compliance initiatives for the year. We incorporated polling technology, so that just like in American Idol, employees could see how their votes compared to how others voted. Better yet, the format allowed the Ethics Office to showcase complex scenarios that didn’t have a clear solution, then provide targeted guidance through these ethical dilemmas. You can read the full case study here.

Here’s another example of a training we designed for Yahoo:

yahoo compliance training

We incorporated Yahoo’s culture and branding, messages from the founders, and several Yahoo offices from around the globe. The program was a huge hit! You can read the full case study here.

Find a compliance training partner that has experience designing interactive, multimedia training experiences for employees. They’ll be able to take your ideas, make sure all of the necessary compliance material is included, and design a course for maximum engagement and retention. They’ll also be able to supply all of the necessary support materials to ensure that your compliance training program is a success!


You’ve probably noticed that both of the above examples are illustrated animations rather than live action sequences. (You’ve probably also read my previous posts detailing why multimedia training is a part of the ideal business ethics training system, and how using illustrated animation can prevent your sexual harassment training from being a total, miserable disaster. If you haven’t, definitely check them out.)

Quick recap of my other posts – illustrations keep employees focused on training content, rather than the nuances of the characters, because of the distance that illustrations create; our brains view the images as abstract scenes. Live action footage invites employees to nitpick about the characters’ hair and wardrobe choices, which, frankly, are the last thing you want them to focus on. Live action footage is also outrageously expensive, making it unreasonable to update frequently, shoot in multiple locations, and customize with your company branding.

Making It Work For You:

Much like gamification, there’s really no reason not to animate! It’s probably cheaper, more effective, and more engaging than what you’re doing now. Plus, it’s easy to update, customize, and translate, if necessary.

Work with a company that has experience creating illustrated content and ask them for a sample of how they would incorporate your company’s culture and current initiatives into a compliance training program. They should be able to provide concrete examples of how they can customize compliance training courses for any topic you require, in addition to their process for incorporating your culture and branding, as well as the tone and voice of your organization.

Mobile, Remote, Global, Freelancer, Contractor, Third Party

Training delivery is also changing. Long gone are the days when the only way to deliver training was to gather employees in a room and watch a video tape. You likely have employees that are constantly on the move, working remotely, even globally. Not to mention all of the freelancers, contractors, and third-parties you work with. (Have you read my colleague Cindy’s post about why freelancers need Code of Ethics training?)

              third party compliance training

Making It Work For You:

So long as the training you select offers mobile training options, deployment is a breeze! (Did you know that all of our trainings are mobile-ready and feature fully functional, interactive capabilities for mobile devices, including the Apple® iPad®?)

Workers can access training anywhere, anytime, and attest to completing the training immediately. If you’re using an integrated GRC suite, completed trainings will appear immediately in the employee’s (or third-party’s) individual training records. They’ll also be able to attest to policies, which will link all attestations to their records and your policy management system.

It really can be that simple! One click and all of your employees and third parties can easily complete all training and policy attestations, allowing you to elevate your compliance training and easily mitigate your risks.

See – the latest trends don’t have to be overwhelming! I can’t wait to hear how you plan to implement these trends into your compliance training program – let me know, in the comments!

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© The Network, Inc. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


The Network, Inc. on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.