Compliance Communications Blog

3 Behavior-Change Tips For Code Of Conduct And Compliance Communications


Get valuable tips for more effective compliance communications.Effective compliance communications must focus on fostering a change in behavior, not just a change in what employees know. Integrating behavior-change principles into Code of Conduct training and compliance programs helps not only to change employee behavior in the near term, but also to change employee attitudes about compliance that will determine their behaviors in the long run.

In this article, we’ll look at how to start leveraging three simple behavior-change principles in your messaging.

Driving Behavior Change With Effective Compliance Communications

Here are a few of the many behavior-change principles and methodologies to consider incorporating into your Code of Conduct training and compliance communications:

  1. Avoiding Pain/Gaining Pleasure

    Humans, like all animals, are “programmed” to act in ways that minimize pain and maximize pleasure. As a result, they change unconstructive (or destructive) behaviors only when they associate more pleasure with changing than with staying on their current path.

    If employees are consistently shown both the negative consequences of noncompliance (e.g., punishment, loss of status) and the positive results of successfully resolving the compliance issue at hand (relief from anxiety, social approval, satisfaction), they begin to quite automatically associate pain with noncompliance and pleasure with compliance.

  1. Commitment And Consistency

    Once employees make small commitments, it becomes much easier for them to make larger ones that are consistent with their initial commitments. This aspect of human psychology is well established.

    In Code of Conduct training, for example, you could apply this principle by delivering compliance content to employees and then immediately eliciting simple, explicit and actionable commitments from them (e.g., “If I am approached for a bribe, I will contact the Compliance Office.” Collect e-signatures – or even ink signatures on a simple paper form with this sentence on it). An added benefit of this strategy is that you will be creating a defensible record of ongoing compliance communications.

  1. Repetition

    Constant repetition is essential to information retention and behavior change. Repetition of messages and actions causes the brain to be “rewired,” allowing old habits to be broken and new habits to form.

    Interactive communications that repeat messages in new and dynamic ways are particularly effective in spurring behavior change. Consider augmenting your existing training by developing new channels of compliance communication, such as cartoons, videos and tweets, and using them to break your messages into quick, memorable learning bursts.

Incorporating behavior-change principles is one of the simple, concrete steps you could take right now to reanimate your compliance communications. Leveraging these proven methodologies enables you to influence employees to act in desired ways – and to create dramatic, lasting behavior change.

By taking these steps, you’ll make your compliance program more effective, reduce the time and cost required for the program and, best of all, garner increased employee commitment over the long term.

Ready to engage and empower your employees with a dynamic compliance communication plan? Download our free report, “5 Ways To Increase The Effectiveness Of Your Compliance Communications.”

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