Too much training means can make your compliance program ineffective. Here’s how you can avoid it.

Outside of work, the term “training fatigue” usually means “a few too many reps in the gym.” But in the workplace, training fatigue describes the overwhelmingly negative reaction to company or compliance training. Unfortunately, this fatigue is relatively common (who hasn’t felt tired doing training before?). The immediate results are often employee resentment or lack of focus when taking their training. If employees aren’t learning from their training (or if they hate their training), the training is ineffective, irrelevant, and a waste of resources, and you’re likely to see broader cultural consequences as a result. All-in-all, it’s best to avoid training fatigue at all costs. So, what causes compliance training fatigue, and how can you avoid and prevent it in your company?

The problem with training fatigue

When employees are frustrated or bored with compliance training, they are less likely to retain most or all of the information that the training covers. Studies have shown that bad compliance training can actually lead to a more toxic work environment.

What causes compliance training fatigue?

A number of factors can contribute to training fatigue in employees. Here are some of the most common ones to be aware of.

Boring and irrelevant content

When the training content isn’t engaging to learners, they are more likely to tune it out, which renders the training useless. If this training is happening online, users will more often than not just click through content without reading/watching.

Training happens at inconvenient times

When employees are pulled away from their work to do compliance training, they tend to have a negative attitude toward the training before it has even started.

Content is repetitive

If employees are subjected to the exact same training material every time, they will get bored easily. Just like when they feel inconvenienced, repetitive content causes employees to enter the training with a closed mind and won’t take away anything useful from training.

Training isn’t focused on learning or impact

Another issue some companies have is focusing their training on just “checking the box” to get it done, and not actually teaching employees what they need to know. When the goal of compliance training isn’t centered around learning or impact, it’s more or less obvious. Employees can easily sense this, and they’re likely to tune it out. If the company doesn’t take it seriously, why should they?

Training is too long

When employees are spending hours in compliance training, whether all in one sitting or over the course of a year, they can easily feel the fatigue and tune it out. Effective compliance training is designed to be concise to avoid this problem. Too much time spent on training also cuts into valuable work time, which hurts the company.

How to prevent training fatigue

So how can you train regularly without causing training fatigue? We outline some useful tips below, and if you’re curious about what benchmarks you should be using to define success with your compliance training program, check out our Measuring Real Impact Report below.

Aim for 3-5 hours of training time annually

This is generally the best range for total training time. Five hours should be the maximum compliance training time in a year. Training in smaller increments over time can be a useful tool to break up longer training sessions while maximizing content retention.

Create or use multimedia content with relevant examples

Using multiple types of media, such as videos, reading materials, and pictures, can help keep employees engaged throughout the training. (At Ethena, we use all kinds of multimedia to make our training as engaging as possible.) Ensuring that all materials are up-to-date and the examples are relevant is also super helpful.

Make it convenient and flexible

For online training, allowing employees to train at their own convenience is incredibly helpful in maintaining a positive attitude toward compliance training. It also helps to give them a flexible time frame to complete the training. We suggest a 60-day period for this.

Ask for feedback

Perhaps most importantly, ask for feedback on the training–both the quality of the training and your learners’ feelings about it–and make changes to the actual training, your training strategies, and schedule as needed. As long as the majority of the feedback is positive, you’re on the right track.

Keeping your training up-to-date, engaging, and short will go a long way in making sure employees participate with a positive attitude so that they retain the information. Good training practices help prevent harassment and save companies money.

Interested in finding a training solution designed to combat training fatigue and deliver effective, inclusive content? Take a look at Ethena’s Courses page, or get started and talk to a member of our team.