Realistic Completion Rate Targets

Aug 10, 2015

Hi all

It would be a great day when we could say that a compliance E-Learning course has 100% completion rate...

but back to reality, I would appreciate your feedback on what you realistically feel completion rate targets should be when sending compliance courses across a global business.

Currently, we are enrolling 3,500 staff onto each course and increasing further by the end of the year.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Many thanks

3 Replies
Bob S

Hi Chris,

An important question with no easy answers.  I'm with Matthew, if these are truly regulatory required courses, you need to be shooting for 100% completed OR accounted for.   Some benchmarks....

* Global Financial business -  New Hire + Annual  money laundering/ terrorist financing courses across 10K+ employees = 100% complete or accounted for

* Global Luxury Brand (North America divisions) - Bi-annual HR-type courses on harassment and discrimination deployed to 3k employees = 99.87% complete

Those number are real and achievable... but it wasn't easy.  Couple of things to consider:

  1. MOST IMPORANT - Pick your battles. Decide which courses are truly non-negotiable and worthy of going to the mat to drive completion. You simply will not be successful if everything is treated as truly no-excuses required. Choose carefully and narrow this list down to a small handful at most (2-3 is even better)
  2. Start at the top.  With #1 in mind, discuss with senior leadership. Get their buy-in commitment based on business need and (importantly) risk/exposure.  Remember their commitment includes agreeing to be in the loop personally if needed and to be willing to wield the "stick" if carrots don't work.
  3. Layout a realistic time frame. Remember that people are on vacation/leave of absence/business travel/etc.   Also, your timeframe will need to be long enough that you can build both a marketing campaign and escalation process (see #4 and #5)
  4. Create an internal marketing campaign. This can include contests, reminders, build-up teasers, public shaming (publishing of results, and competition between groups/business units.  You will need to create a "buzz" around this so it becomes top of mind for employees and their leaders... even if to avoid looking bad. One successful tactic is to create a "compliance month" type cycle so everyone knows what to expect and you can blitz the marketing before and during.
  5. Create an escalation policy. This is the stick to the carrots mentioned above. Publish the fact that anyone not compliant by X date will be escalated to Y level.  You may wish to have multiple layers depending on the complexity of your organization and the risk involved.  Prep the leaders who's team members are about to be escalated to the next level that it will be happening and you want to partner with them to avoid that. This sort of pressure allows you to be the hero/partner as afterall it's the evil escalation policy, not you doing it.... you are there to help them avoid it.
  6. Establish required training as a job requirement.  No different than showing up on time, completing your tasks, etc....  Completing the (truly) required training needs to be a standard part of the job fulfillment. Not doing so will be reflected in performance reviews and possibly merit increases.... just as any other non-performance would be.  See #2 above.

So.... 100% can be done.  Just be sure that the effort/resources make sense in light of the business risk involved. Hope this helps!

Simon Blair

A few more thoughts on the "stick"...

Try to get the consequences nailed down and get top leadership on board prior to launch. Many people resist compliance training (for various reasons), but I'd bet just about everybody will complete the training ASAP if they know that they risk suspension without pay if they don't complete by date X and termination if they still haven't completed by date Y.

If your launch message says something along the lines of "You have X days to complete this course. If you don't, here's what will happen." then most people will make the time.

One final thought, "make the punishment fit the crime". Hold back suspension/termination consequences for mission-critical compliance training. Job-related training can be addressed as part of whatever performance management process your org has (e.g. annual review).

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