Options for Increasing Training Compliance

Compliance with training requirements is established by:

  • successfully completing initial training (which may include passing an assessment),
  • completing any required follow-up training program guidelines,
  • by required due date (in accordance with regulations and policies).

In addition to email reminders, upon login, Ability LMS provides several visual indicators of compliance status to both the trainee and trainees' supervisor*. For a review of the access privileges for managers in the training system, see manager access plan.

Costs of Non-Compliance

Training suffers from the same uneven compliance with laws that cover driving, littering, paying taxes, etc. and with informal workplace norms. However, in addition to personal responsibility, MSU is subject to legal fines, civil liabilities, and loss of funding for non-compliance with training requirements.

There are relatively simple methods known to increase (but not solve) compliance. For more ideas on the dynamics of obedience and conformity, review the fields of criminal justice, psychology, sociology, etc.

Basic Strategies for Non-Compliance Issues

Reason Underlying Belief/Condition Prevention/Amelioriation

"Training is not important (as my other duties)."

  • If it is important, someone will remind me many more times.
  • It's not important unless my supervisor will tell me to do it.
  • If it was important, I would be getting a reward or punishment.
  • If it was important, everyone else would be doing their training on time, but some don't do it at all.
  • If it was important, my supervisor would give me time to do it.
  • If it was important, my supervisor wouldn't complain about it.
  • Establish rewards for timely completions:
    • Allow shorter refresher or allow opting out with a short quiz if completed before the due date
    • Publicly acknowledge units with best completion rates
    • Create a leader-board of best quiz scores
    • Highlight or send letters of appreciation to units with good compliance.
  • Establish repercussions (or withhold rewards) for tardiness (individual) or most serious training lags (unit).
    • Charge the unit a small fee for no-shows to instructor-led events
    • Require completion of a initial training or a more comprehensive review
    • Escalate non-compliance with training to increasingly higher supervision level/s.
  • Regularly c ommunicate reasons for training along with the accompanying rewards and repercussions.
  • Always follow-through with standard escalation procedures for missing due dates (e.g. notify supervisor/s, notify supervisor's supervisor, call trainee, restrict access to work areas or materials, initiating progressive disciplinary procedures through standard HR processes from verbal warning upward depending on institutional risk from non-compliance).
  • Add personal phone calls and personally signed emails and letters within standard escalation steps.
  • Update refresher training content frequently to make it relevant, targeted, and focused on high-stakes or high-incident topics.
  • Encouraged supervisors to:
    • communicate they value in training to their subordinates,
    • provide employees specific time just for training,
    • periodically check the training system records to ensure accuracy.

"I don't have time." "I will do it later."

  • There are future times that will be better, more convenient, easier (my future workload will be less, I will be in the mood later).
  • It will take too much time right now (need bigger set of time to do it all).
  • I will do it when I get the next email reminder.
  • Offer (and advertise) shorter/expedited offerings for those who complete training by due date.
  • Chunk content into smaller portions.
  • Avoid repeating content in multiple courses.
  • Include/advertise the average expected time for the training.
  • Offer short test-out option at the front of refresher courses.
  • Send a Start Training By xx-xx-xxxx due date before the Complete By due date reminder.viii
  • Keep email schedules consistent between programs to ensure trainees have consistent expectations of the number of reminders they will have before expiration.
  • Explicitly state the due dates and the amount of time the trainee has within every email, with due dates preferably within the subject line. 

"I just don't want to do it."

  • It is boring, frustrating, confusing...
  • It is not interesting/relevant to me (so waste of my time)
  • It is mostly irrelevant (so waste of my time).
  • It is redundant with what I already know (so waste of my time) (I've taken it so many times before.
  • It's not relevant to the work I do.
  • Update refresher training content frequently to make it relevant, targeted, and focused on high-stakes or high-incident topics (same as above).
  • Update refresher training to limit non-essential content (random select from several optional paths, label as optional).
  • Chunk content into smaller portions (same as above).
  • Avoid repeating content in multiple courses (same as above).
  • Ensure instruction is designed to present information and assess learning in ways specific to on the job use.
  • Remind trainees and supervisors to remove requirement from those who don't need it to do their jobs.

"I didn't know about the training requirement (or due date)."

  • I didn’t receive the initial or subsequent email reminder.
  • The email was confusing. I didn't understand the email reminder/s.
  • I didn't think I really had to do it.
  • Advertise/remind trainees to forward @msu.edu addresses to department and/or personal email accounts.
  • Advertise/remind trainees about checking their spam folder and asking for help in auto-accepting email from ORRS.train@msu.edu.
  • Send a Start Training By xx-xx-xxxx due date before the Complete By due date reminder (same as above).
  • Send more reminders in advance of due date.
  • Carefully craft subject lines and content and use consistent terms and phrases.
  • See Training is Not Important ideas above.

Contact the training helpdesk or Candace Winslow if you would like assistance with training compliance or improving the effectiveness of training based on research-based pedagogy, communication, and instructional design strategies.

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