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Integrating Legalese Into the Modern Compliance World

One of the biggest barriers you’ll come across in compliance training is legalese: If your employees don’t understand what they’re reading, how can they know the benefits (and consequences) of following (or not following) protocol?

Legal language is complex, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, plain language has many benefits and, when done correctly, basically no downsides. If you can master the art of legal simplification integrated with elements of an engaging and modern training experience, you’ll be on the right track to seeing positive, measurable results for your company’s compliance program. So, how can you start?

Set guidelines for your ideal content

Is your audience checking out whenever they come across the fine print? You may need to start with the foundation and revisit your language strategy. Recommendations include lowering your language level and using brief sentences. If you get stuck at this stage, look at real-world examples or sample language to inspire your writing team.

Regardless of your approach, you should consider setting guidelines for your content to ensure it fills all the shoes you need filled. What’s the maximum number of pages or scroll amount your learners can handle? How many words per paragraph is too many? Is this language a middle-schooler can understand?

Have a few people outside of the simplification team read over your working drafts. They can provide feedback on what makes sense, what doesn’t, and what’s just downright boring. As always, check with your stakeholders and legal team before implementing any changes as final. The idea is to represent all the same content in a more condensed, easy-to-understand language rather than cutting important protocol because “no one would read this anyway.”

Engage your target audience

Transforming text into plain language doesn’t mean it’ll magically become engaging. Compliance training especially, even annually, becomes stale when employees start to feel like they’ve been here before, they’ve heard it all, next please. How many times have you personally read through a chunk of legalese (Terms and Conditions, anyone?) and clicked “Accept” without a second thought?

The only way to truly see positive change in compliance is to identify and overcome compliance training barriers. If you can make your now-simplified language engaging, you stand a much better chance at making a lasting impression! Think about where employees are coming from as your audience—where do their job priorities fall in tandem with your company’s values? What’s the average age range of the individuals who will be taking the training? And, most importantly, why should they care?

Use real-world examples

This is the stage where you can really drive home the “why.” Why is this message important for the company? For co-workers? And, most importantly, the individual? A program is as effective as it is authentic. Unless you can back up your lessons with relatable scenarios that demonstrate your policies, you risk your learners completing the training and then forgetting what they learned.

Need some ideas? Take a look at one of our modern examples of compliance training in action to help inspire your own efforts in creating memorable experience.

In the end, compliance training boils down to one main goal: encourage improvement in positive compliance practices, viewable through measurable results. Reach your learners by meeting them half-way and creating a program that’s fit for them in a language they can understand—preferably on their own, with the option to ask questions whenever they need it. Show them that their own personal success and the success of the company can be achieved through one united, simple solution.

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