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Improving Financial Regulatory Compliance Using Effective Learning Solutions

No business is an island. In the internal tasks of one’s day-to-day office life, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that businesses are part of a larger ecosystem. Even though these ecosystems are man-made, there are still some rules that they must follow. That’s what regulatory authorities do – they set the rules of the jungle for all the businesses. The bigger the industry, the stricter the rules. The financial services industry, for instance, is one of the most heavily regulated industries out there. Given the fact that these businesses can make or break entire economies, that seems fair.

But quite often, businesses end up not complying. And they end up literally paying for such adventurism. The financial services industry alone was fined $26 billion in 2018 for non-compliance! That’s a lot of money. Not just the money, but scandals such as these lead to lowered consumer confidence, which is more damaging than fines. After all, these are indicators that a business isn’t acting in the customer’s best interest. Thus, the damage inflicted by non-compliance can be very high for any business.

While customers view non-compliance as signs of malintent, quite often it is just the opposite – no intent, or rather ignorance. In fact, studies found that one of the best way to improve your compliance is by enabling your employees to act well in real-time. And this is where training can be your best friend.

But be cautioned: employees don’t eagerly look forward to Compliance training. Nor the management is too excited about it. That’s why you’ll see not much budget or instructional firepower thrown at it. Most just consider it like a periodic medical test, and just go through it with wooden nerve and are relieved when it’s over.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.  Let us see some ways in which regulatory training can be improved.

Do Away with Theory

Online courses on Compliance are often theoretical, without much connection to the real world. Such page-turner courses make learners feel like sticking a pin in their eyes. (This was the actual feedback from a learner for a Compliance training). They go on and on about theoretical aspects of something that is intended to make a behavioral change. Don’t give theory more importance than required. Focus on behavioral change.

Focus on the Consequences

Regulatory compliance is about lack of awareness about consequences. There may be millions on federal fines or even lives at stake. Use scenarios to put learners in situations that will make them experience these consequences! Identify ways in which people knowingly and unknowingly violate regulation and recreate those situations through the training. Often, employees are not even aware that a scenario exists in their workplace which can lead to non-compliance. Smoke out every such hidden vermin and expose it to the learner.

Quite often, people do things without even realizing the impact of their actions. Our goal as learning professionals is to make them aware of the possible impact their actions can have.

Make it Personal


You must have come across the adage “It’s just business, nothing personal.” When it comes to Compliance training, it should be ‘It’s all personal’, because if you’re going to say, ‘Your organization may end up paying millions in lawsuits,’ many may not be able to appreciate that perspective. On the other hand, if you say, ‘Your colleague is going to lose his limbs,’ or ‘Your team member would die in the ensuing accident,’ then it would surely have more powerful impact and force compliance. 

Across the financial services industry, people play a variety of roles. You need to make it relevant for them. Don’t tell them about what is good for the business, rather show how their actions would impact the business.

Games Trainers Play

Gone are those days when good music and flashy animations were enough to hold learner’s attention. Thanks to YouTube, we’re now constantly consuming great video content and it’s hard to match the production quality of compliance training with that of YouTube videos. So, to capture their attention, you need to operate at a higher level – you need to capture their cognition. Games are a great way of doing that!

So, consider gamifying your learning intervention. Create games that learners can play to save or lose fine money. Or set up games that will enable them to save (or lose) lives of colleagues, only virtually.  Spice it up by making it a team-based effort – the team member that saves the most money or most lives at the end of the game wins! Add leaderboards to maintain competitive spirit.

To Conclude..

There are numerous ways to use learning platforms to improve regulatory compliance. The only challenge is that quite often, compliance training isn’t given the importance it deserves and ends up getting treated as one of those ‘Get It Over With’ project. Don’t let it slide that way. The cost of improving the quality of your compliance training is too little compared to the damage it could cause for lack of or poor training.

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