Increasing Compliance Training Engagement with Steven Sitek

The complexities of a growing global market, changing pricing structures, and healthcare reforms have placed added pressure on the life science industry to modernize training programs. Compliance training professionals are looking for inventive opportunities to engage employees and increase knowledge retention. Much of this innovation comes from the introduction of new technology, positive reinforcement, and audience segmentation. In an effort to really understand life science compliance training engagement, I spoke with Steven Sitek, Head of Learning, Education & Communications, Ethics & Compliance of Novartis Pharmaceuticals and keynote speaker for this year’s Life Science Compliance Training Conference. Sitek, a recognized leader in the field of learning and organization development, has facilitated global transformational change at well-known companies including: Sony, GE, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ernst & Young, and more. So, when it comes to life science compliance training, how can we effectively engage an audience?

Balance Techniques

Technology is quickly becoming a normal method of training, being personalized and helping trainers easily identify trainees who are having difficulty moving through the material. Sitek identified this in his own experience, “technology is a necessity, now, when it comes to compliance training. Especially for large groups of people, sometimes the only way to reach them all is to use a webinar or eLearning.” Even more helpful is the introduction of gamification, or, the introduction of game-like qualities in compliance training. Not only does this assimilate compliance material into the 21st century “game-at-your-fingertips” lifestyle, but it helps trainees get competitive and want to understand the rules and regulations offered. “People like it,” explained Sitek, “it’s new, and not your father’s compliance training. It’s brought a refreshing edge to the content.” For all its ease, however, technology is not always the preferred method of trainers. Sometimes, you just need an expert. Rather, “the face-to-face expert interaction of a live setting,” explained Sitek. Though training with technology is quickly becoming the norm, Sitek believes that it’s not always the best way to train. If you rely too heavily on technology, some trainees may be left behind.

Tailor Content

An important aspect of compliance training is that it’s not all about how you train people, but the information you’re presenting. When asked how to effectively engage a varied audience, Sitek offered the solution of segmentation. By accurately tailoring training content so that the recipient will see the everyday value in learning it, trainees engage themselves; “Tailor the content,” says Sitek, “make sure it’s relevant. One challenge of compliance training is that the training is required, so large audiences may be harder to engage if the information doesn’t directly impact them.” And, for some audiences, segmentation and engagement may be easier if training is reinforced throughout the year, “Training year round helps prepare people for training engagement; it reinforces the idea and helps people ease into the mindset when the requirement is presented,” says Sitek.

Build Confidence

Utilizing positive reinforcement and positive training content helps Sitek connect training information to daily activities. Says Sitek, “We don’t want people to just remember the consequences of not following compliance, we want people to build confidence in their understanding of the rules and help them apply that confidence to the decisions they need to make in a regular day.” Rather than shocking audiences with compliance horror stories, Sitek chooses to focus on what good can come from correct compliance and following regulations. “Involve contextual scenarios,” recommends Sitek, “and help them assimilate the rules into their days.” Positivity is refreshing course of action for Sitek who remembers when compliance training was mostly filled with stories of compliance gone wrong, but with these stories it was difficult to really engage contextual learning. If trainees are only learning consequence and not building confidence, their training may not have a lasting effect.

Keep it Fresh

When asked what he thought was the biggest challenge of compliance training, Sitek answered “Keeping the content fresh.” Training large audiences on life science compliance comes with the downfall that training never really comes at the perfect time, “making sure everyone is focusing and engaging with the material is key.” This is why Sitek recommends revitalizing content so that “large numbers of people know and appreciate the rules.” And there are always new compliance issues to train. Global and domestic regulations can change quickly, and knowing how to remedy new information with tested training practices can help an audience engage quickly and stay engaged longer.

The life science industry changes daily and can be somewhat unpredictable, but training doesn’t need to be. Steven Sitek is the Head of Learning, Ethics & Compliance, at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. To hear more from Steven Sitek about compliance training engagement, register for the 2nd Annual Life Science Compliance Training Conference, May 4-5, in Chicago, IL.