September 22, 2022

Encouraging ethical decisions and changing employee behavior is the end goal of an effective compliance training program. Yet, a 2021 Gallup poll found that only one in 10 individuals who participated in ethics and compliance training within the past 12 months say they learned something that changed how they work.  

Unlike traditional compliance training courses focused on memorizing laws and job-related policies that can quickly be forgotten, behavior-based training has been shown to change behavior by immersing learners in real-world scenarios and interactive challenges to help them practice behaviors they can apply at work. The result is an engaging learning experience that employees actively participate in that builds positive workplace habits and retention to maximize your training investment. 

Knowledge You Can Use 

Behavior-based training goes beyond information sharing to providing learners with examples of what success looks like and practical steps for applying their newly gained knowledge in their own work environment. In doing so, it motivates learners by answering the question, “What’s in it for me?”  

“Behavior-based training not only explains what to do but enables learners to practice it and use it on the job,” said Iris Nunn, Senior Instructional Designer at Traliant. For example, training  doesn’t just say “Don’t harass.” It explains what an employee can do and say to effectively intervene in real-life situations to prevent harassment.  

Practice Makes Perfect 

One of the best ways to learn is by doing. Behavior-based training involves employees and managers in realistic scenarios that require making a choice about potential issues or conflicts and enabling them to see the outcome of their decisions. As a result, learners can reflect on their own behavior and begin building the right habits.  

“Showing the practical application of desired behaviors in a nuanced work environment that employees can relate to is far more effective than trying to convey it in a three-sentence slide or test,” said Lisa Crowe, Traliant’s VP of Content. For example, a real-world video can show what harassment looks like in a hospital setting versus a retail environment so the learner can easily identify with the situation.” 

The scenario-based approach helps workers bridge the gap between the training experience and on-the-job applications. It also enables them to view the different perspectives of individuals through a wider lens to understand that not everyone sees things the same way. Creating these “aha” moments make the learner think, “Wow, I really never thought of it like that,” to initiate behavior change. 

A “Sticky” Learning Experience 

Behavior-based design stimulates higher levels of cognitive activity during training as outlined in Blooms Taxonomy, a hierarchical learning classification of observable knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors and abilities. Published by Benjamin Bloom in 1956, the taxonomy includes six major categories: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. 

“Traditional training is designed for basic levels of knowledge transfer, whereas behavior-based training gets into the higher levels of thinking, such as analyzing a situation, recalling and synthesizing the information they’ve learned and choosing how to respond,” said Allison Goldthorpe, Senior Instructional Designer.  

As an example, Goldthorpe said Traliant’s behavior-based training makes learners an integral part of short, relatable episodes and has them perform critical skills instead of just answering the correct answer on a quiz.  

Inserting learners into an interactive narrative where they must process and internalize content to perform authentic on-the-job applications provides a safe virtual environment to make mistakes and motivates them to choose to do the right thing. 

“You need individual behavior change before you can have organizational change,” adds Nunn. “Behavior-based training provides a better return on investment by influencing employee behavior to effectively reduce the number of incidents that HR must deal with, and potential legal and reputational risks. It’s also proven effective in creating a more inclusive, respectful and ethical work environment to attract and retain talent and increase productivity.” 

Traliant Insight 

Opting for behavior-based training enables organizations to realize their compliance program goals by taking advantage of advances and best practices in modern training design that are proven to affect workplace behavior and culture. 



Mark Hudson