Q&A With Jeffrey Langa (BNP Paribas)

Interactive compliance training
Q&A with Jeffrey Langa
Vice President, Compliance Training, BNP Paribas

Jeffrey Langa

Jeffrey Langa is the Americas Compliance Training Manager at BNP Paribas. He is responsible for the creation, development and execution of the Annual Training Plan throughout the region. He further chairs a monthly Training Council meeting with the training leads in the Americas region. Jeffrey is a former regulator having worked at FINRA for 6 years, and has been working in Compliance for over 15 years. Prior to Compliance, Jeffrey was an Institutional Sales Trader for 6 years as well.
Q1. In your opinion, what makes an effective compliance training program?

Incorporating the following minimum standards into a training program would help to make it more effective: leverage 21st century technology such as whiteboard animation, short videos and/or gamification which helps improve the visuals as well as acting as a storytelling tool; simplify the content so it is direct and only focuses on what employees need to know; have uniform training standards across your firm to ensure consistency in the training programs; and run comprehensive metrics at least weekly so progress can always be tracked.

Q2. What communications strategy do you use to help launch mandatory training efforts?

Our training communications are conducted through e-mail notifications as well as through publications on our Intranet home page. Our messages include pertinent information describing the training, requirements, and due dates as well as direct contact information in the event any questions arise. Communications should also include information on the next planned trainings as well as the anticipated launch dates. This helps employees to be properly informed and helps to set expectations as well.

Q3. On average, how much time every year do you think staff spend on mandatory training and should that time be protected?

Employees can spend anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a year on mandatory trainings. This number varies greatly depending on your role in the organization.

Q4. How important is it customize your training and what sort of customization do you do?

Compliance training should be directly related to your firm’s identified risks as well as to internal and external requirements. The best way to achieve these results is by customizing training content so that it is directly pertinent to your firm while helping to achieve the goals you have set forth for your training.

Q5. What’s the biggest challenge you face every year when it comes to compliance training?

There is a historical quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, amongst others, which states, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.” It’s easy to create a training that includes the “kitchen sink” and is very lengthy, whereas simplifying training content, and creating targeted training material is much more difficult to do, but in the end is significantly more effective.

Q6.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever got on putting together your compliance training program?

Training content should be refreshed at a minimum of every other year to ensure the content does not become stale and employees stay engaged. Leveraging new technologies, such as whiteboard animation and short videos, is a dynamic way to greatly improve training material.

Q7. What are your training pet hates?

We have created the challenging standard to be 100% complete in all of our trainings. While we have had success in achieving this goal, there are seemingly always the same bad apples who struggle to complete their training in a timely manner.

Q8. What’s been your biggest success and why?

Our training program received the Brandon Hall Gold Excellence in Learning Award in 2017 for the Best Compliance Training Program. It was rewarding to be recognized for the dedication and hard work that was put forth.

Q9. What innovations are you seeing in current training, and do you think there is anything missing currently?

We are continually researching new technologies to help make our trainings more effective and efficient. New innovations such as whiteboard animation and gamification have helped to greatly improve our trainings. We are always on the lookout for the next great technology that we can utilize.

Q10. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking of training their employees, what would it be?

Prior to creating a training, look to identify two or three messages you would like an employee to take away from the training. Then take the time to build a storyboard with shorter and crisper content. Your training will be more effective, and your employees will be appreciative!

We are continually
researching new technologies
to help make our trainings
more effective and efficient