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Guest post! What bathrooms can teach you about just-in-time training.

Hey hey, y’all! It’s Courtney, and I’ve been tapped to emcee the blog today!

Though she doesn’t spell her first name right, Kortney Nordrum is my favorite former hockey cheerleader (and one of our most favoritest customers ever). Her other claims to fame include being the Regulatory Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer at Deluxe Corporation... and being Ricardo’s hair twin.

Even their animojis match!

(Yes, Ricardo's has fangs and a monocle.)

I wish I were so cool.

Anyways, we invited Kortney to the blog today to talk about whatever she wanted, and she happened to pick one of my favorite topics: just-in-time training! Even better, she’s framed it around an occasion when non-compliance is super gross at best.


So without further ado—Kortney!


Hi. I’m Kortney (with a K) and I love compliance. At this point, you’re thinking one of two things:

  1. Broadcat's Courtney finally saw the light and decided to spell her name the right way; or
  2. Duh, Kortney we all love compliance; that's why we're reading this compliance blog.

Okay, so maybe you're thinking both things. Well... only one of them is true: we all love compliance!

giphyNow that we agree (and so we're basically best friends 💜), I want to share why I love it so much.

I used to think that compliance was fun because it's about laws and rules and I love laws and rules (or so I'm telling myself until I pay off my law school loans). But, after a bit of reflection, I realized it's something else: the teaching.

In compliance we call it training, but it really is the opportunity to help others understand the world just a little bit better—breaking down big concepts into manageable pieces. Seeing the lightbulb go off when explaining a rule or policy to someone in a way that means something to them is THE BEST.

As compliance pros, we have a bit of a love-hate relationship with training, and we tend to get a little jaded. We know we have to provide it, we know they have to take it, and we know someone should probably track it to make sure those two things are happening.

But training can be so much more. That’s right. I’m talking real-world, on-the-job, just-in-time, don’t-have-to-pass-a-test-or-watch-a-boring-video training.

While formal compliance training is great—and necessary—the real understanding and operationalization happens in the trenches and the cubes and… whatever the spaces in open office layouts are called. This is where you reach your workforce and reinforce what they should know in a way that's meaningful and not intrusive or obnoxious.

Enter my favorite example of just-in-time training EVER:


Yep, this is my fave (and not just because germs are gross).

This sign is a really simple solution to a complicated problem. The problem, as you may have guessed, is that when employees don’t wash their hands, people get sick—especially when the employees are handling food (if you want to be grossed out, Google Mary Mallon). [Ed. note: seriously, do that. SUPER interesting. History FTW!]

Not surprisingly, the FDA and state health departments are somewhat invested in people not getting sick.

Enter: THE SIGN.

Instead of requiring hours of additional training on hand washing or testing employees’ hands with bacteria test strips, the regulatory agencies made it simple—post a sign. A sign that reminds employees of their obligations every time they enter the restroom.

They know they need to wash their hands and they’ve been trained on appropriate hand-washing techniques, but sometimes… people “forget” (or get lazy). This reminder puts the rules front and center but does so in a way that is easy to understand and operationalize.

It is the perfect just-in-time training.

Other reasons I love this sign:

  • It's short and easy to translate
  • It includes a visual/icon to reinforce the message
  • Everyone can see it, which means if you are an employee and you don’t wash your hands, EVERYONE in the bathroom knows you are super gross and they should definitely tattle on you (in compliance we would call this “driving accountability”)

This concept of easy, just-in-time training isn’t new, but it is just now starting to get traction.

As I was writing this blog, I kept asking myself how we could implement more of it at Deluxe… and I’m already starting to nerd-out about the opportunities and the helpful posters and checklists we could use. [Ed. note: Compliance Design Club's got some great ones!]

It will mean more work for my team, but I think it's a great opportunity to operationalize the concepts we spend so much time preaching. Compliance is always changing, and our programs are always evolving, but I think it is important to remember that just because we’re doing something right, doesn’t mean it we can’t do it better.