How to Make Your Compliance Message “Stick”

Have you ever sent an email that immediately caused confusion or required several follow-up emails just to clarify the original message? Any communication that is unclear, disorganized, or just too long and complex will most likely be ignored, misunderstood, and probably not read in its entirety.

In today’s world of information overload, you need to grab your readers’ attention by making your communication “stick.”  This is especially important in our industry, where the follow through on certain communications can make the difference between being fine or fined. To help out, consider the following key points to make your communications more effective and “stick” with its intended audience.

Keep it Simple

Whether you’re dealing with training or simply introducing new supervisory policies and procedures, it’s important to keep your message on point by using sentences that are clear and concise. Distill complex requirements into easy-to-understand thoughts and avoid the overuse of technical jargon and legalese.

Know your Audience

Know who you’re communicating to and what they may need or have to do in order for the message to have the intended result. If you need a response (for example, a signature or digital attestation) let them know what type of response you require. If there is a due date, make sure to emphasize that as well.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Companies spend more than $500 billion dollars a year in marketing and advertising and it’s probably not for the reason you think. The common belief is that the goal is to cause an immediate action – see an ad for McDonalds – go buy McDonalds. But in fact, what advertisers are trying to do is trigger repeated exposure to a message for greater impact. If you want your representatives to disclose their outside business activities, your best chance of success is repeated exposure to your message. Use your compliance management system to schedule ongoing email reminders to stay top-of-mind.

Find New, Creative Ways to Motivate

Almost all employees will respond positive to your message if you can find an efficient way to motivate them to take whatever action it is you’re requesting. There are free or inexpensive ways of doing this. For example, if you’re trying to get your representatives to finish their training, some individuals may respond positively to a simple certificate that makes clear that they have done well in their compliance training. Something fun one of our clients does is host an annual awards ceremony, where they recognize employees for upholding the company’s compliance values. When individuals feel valued for good behavior, the positive effects can be quite remarkable.

We often believe that communication is about passing on information. It’s really not. It’s about making sure that the information you’re communicating is truly being retained and understood. Do this, and your audience will not only remember what you said, they’ll support it!