Compliance Insights from Traliant: Part 1 – John Arendes from Transforming Training From Boring to Brilliant | Thomas Fox – Compliance Evangelist

Welcome to a special five-part blog post series on the New Traliant, sponsored by Traliant, LLC. Over this series, we will discuss what is new at the company and key issues that Traliant is helping to lead and define the online training industry in going forward. I will visit with John Arendes, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), on what is new at Traliant and what the Department of Justice (DOJ) has communicated to the compliance community regarding its expectations around online training and communications; Maggie Smith, Vice President of Human Resources, on the role of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in your corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) program; and Scott Schneider, Head of Content Development, on your Code of Conduct and anti-corruption training. In Episode 1, I visit with John Arendes on the New Traliant.

Arendes was brought on to lead the company in late 2021. It has always been known as one of the most innovative online training companies with its fabulous tagline of “Boring to Brilliant.” Arendes went on to note that the “good news is there has been extremely strong leadership but one of the co-founders and the other co-founder was getting ready to do the same.” He went on to relate that he was brought into to build upon their success.

The biggest challenge in the online training arena is how do you make compliance training more engaging, and how do you really design a product suite that changes behavior. Indeed, this is a challenge that Arendes has worked on at other compliance organizations, training engagement. Arendes said, “what has really been the secret sauce in terms of engagement is making the courses applicable to the environment in which one takes it.” He provided the following example, “we have a preventing discrimination and harassment course that is designed for healthcare, and it is in this health care environment, which is much different than those that work in a retail environment or an or office environment. When individuals can see their environment replicated in a hospital setting in a doctor’s office, working with nurses, and creating real life scenarios; that is what makes the Traliant training much more engaging.” Further, he noted, “We’ve had customers tell us that they look forward to our next season, with new scenarios, real life scenarios taken from the news.” When employees take a Traliant online training module, “they can relate to it and that has really been a significant factor in why our success has been so strong.”

A key area of Traliant innovation has been in the area of how you make behavioral changes through online training. Arendes said that a key from the online training perspective is to have an impact around the design of training so that it engages employees. He pointed to Code of Conduct training and noted that a key driver is “how do we create code of conducts that represent the environment in which that company culture is based on? How does an organization think about anti-bribery/anti-corruption and all those other components that the DOJ wants organizations to look at?” He feels it should be based on “real life scenarios so that people understand clearly, what is required of them, not just from reading a document.”

Another change has been in damages. Not that the DOJ has increased fines and penalties but that reputational damages has become as important or even more important than regulatory fines and penalties. This really speaks to overall corporate culture and how a company expresses the importance of what they are doing simply beyond “just training.” This
has led to many companies embracing the concept of not simply online training but online education. He believes this is starting to change culture, as employees “realized that the organization had taken the time to reflect and think about their own mission, what the employees hear, is that this engagement was being rolled out.” He noted that the challenge for companies is how to make that transition, from ‘training’ to ‘education’. Traliant has gone a long way towards solving this because it is able to do these online educational “customizations, that allow organizations to express their culture and the importance of why this is in their culture at a very cost-effective way.”

Join us for our next episode where we look at current DOJ expectations around compliance training.

Check out the podcast with John Arendes here.

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