I recently worked with my project team and subject matter experts to design and develop a learning program called, "Legally Speaking" for a newly designed Supervisor Leadership Program. Initially, I was less than thrilled to be working in the world of policies, rules, and laws because the underlying meaning of those words read: details. I'm more of a big picture gal.
After a painful stint of gathering content from Ochsner's lawyer (who was extremely helpful and patient with us), reading through policy after policy, sifting through case studies of law application, and interviewing leaders, I created countless scenarios both simple and complex to help our new supervisors learn the ins and outs of the law at work. In the end, I was glad I had worked on this project because participants raved and walked away with an enjoyable experience (they actually had fun) and valuable knowledge.
I put together some helpful tips on what not to do from my experience.
*In the world of lawsuits and litigation, it is more important than ever to provide employees with accurate, consistent, and timely information around policies, guidelines, and regulations. Recent movements involving cases of harassment and discrimination put a magnifying glass on the culture and practices of organizations. Having strong policies that outline acceptable behavior is a vital component to cultivate positive and safe work environments. However, enforcing, holding people accountable, accurate application of, and understanding regulations is crucial as well. Through well designed and delivered training, it is more likely that individuals will adhere to policy, which results in better business outcomes.
Policy training is typically met with dread by participants because it is often poorly designed. Guess what? It doesn’t have to be! Designing an engaging and beneficial program around policy to drive positive outcomes can be achieved with hard work, attention to detail, and by avoiding common pitfalls.
4 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Policy Training
The approach to avoid when training on dry rules and regulations is to read to participants in a lecture style format. Your words will be greeted by rolling eyes and sighs of boredom. Just because the material is serious, doesn’t mean the class has to be all work and no play. Incorporate fun by adding interactive quiz questions using a platform called Kahoot! Facilitators can conduct intermittent knowledge checks to break up the monotony and elicit healthy competition between participants. With Kahoot, participants use their smart phone to answer questions you design. Add video clips of SMEs offering key takeaways to ensure a consistent experience for all learners in the training if you take it on the road or across campuses or facilities.
Sending out policies for participants to review prior to the session or pre-work of any sort is a big waste of time, not for all training, but especially in this case. If people aren’t abiding by the policy, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t understand what it seeks to do. Employees may not understand how to apply the policy appropriately. First, determine if the issue is a learning need. Is it the best use of time and energy to build training around policy in the learning space? If so, the learning goal should be to create connection to understanding the information in the policy by issue spotting and applying it consistently. If people aren’t searching and reading policies on their own account, they aren’t going to take time to read it thoroughly before class and you could turn people off from the start. Pre-work is not going to help them achieve understanding of how to use the policy appropriately.
Do not include materials or content in your training that haven’t been validated by both subject matter experts and users. Depending on your organization, SMEs could be human resources business partners, legal and compliance personnel, or legal committees and advisors. Users of these policies are typically supervisors who commonly deal with certain issues around enforcing policies, leadership groups at different levels, and other employees who are directly benefitting from the learning. Ensure that all materials are aligned with the needs of the employees in the training. Involve key leaders who deal with frequently occurring challenges. Utilize an agile approach to design by conducting a needs assessment, interviewing SMEs and users, and continuously creating and going back to your resources to validate, validate, validate!
Include realistic scenarios around authentic situations and in your company’s context throughout the training. Ensure that what you have developed specifically pertains to SMEs and users. How does the scenario really play out in their work space? What under the surface barriers do participants experience when enforcing the policies? What grievances do individuals mostly experience in their department or unit? Pick the main policies that people need to adhere to or violate the most and highlight these in the class through complex scenarios. When participants understand how to issue spot and solve properly for the situation, they are more like to understand how to apply the policy correctly in real life.
Designing training around policies and regulations is not an easy task, however it should be fun, beneficial for learners, and make a positive impact in the organization.
*This article was originally published by Training Industry, Inc. You can read the original article by clicking here: Training Industry, Inc.