Let’s be honest: cyber security employee training has a reputation for being dull. Most employees dread it. They expect dry training talks, lackluster presentations, and examples they can’t relate to.

In any training, people must come first. You should create a model that focuses on the people you’re trying to reach: your own employees.  A people-centric approach lets you focus your cyber security training on what matters most—motivating employees to care about cyber security.

You always hear that humans are the weakest link in security. But we think it’s time to reangle this mindset. While the outcomes of cyber security incidents can be severe, the training doesn’t have to be.

When spirits are high, and people enjoy themselves, they’re also engaged, interested, learning, and might even be invested. Today’s training modules should incorporate some modern twists. Look for cyber security employee training that includes these four key elements: gamification, personalization, variety, and high-quality content.

1.     Gamification

Gamification combines play and interactive learning to make security training more appealing. Interactive gamified learning gets employees engaged, connected, and concentrating on what they see and hear on the screen.

Effective gamified cyber security training starts by introducing employees to the issue, then brings in simulation and interactive elements to deepen interest and stimulate learning.

Incorporating challenges, levels, and leaderboards and the chance to earn badges, points, and rewards gets employees excited and motivated to participate. This sparks friendly employee competition and builds team spirit. It encourages internal cyber heroes to develop naturally among your staff.

Achievement goals and competitive aspects take the boredom out of training. Gamification motivates employees to learn and to achieve high scores.

Their enthusiasm for the gamified aspect ultimately converts into good cyber security behaviors and awareness.

2.     Personalization

It’s especially hard for people to dig their teeth into cyber security training learning materials when they don’t relate to what they’re reading, seeing, or hearing. A one-size-fits-all approach to training is what pushes employees away. It reinforces the “I don’t care” and “this is boring” mood.

It’s shocking how many people believe that a phishing attack or Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam won’t happen to them. Each of us likes to think we’re savvy enough to spot the signs of a faked email or malicious attachment.

The certainty that it won’t happen can even be stronger for some employee roles. A salesperson who spends every day traveling between high-touch sales meetings might not open as many emails as a back-office customer service representative.

However, cyber criminals can use any weakness to their advantage. They know that employees are busy, not paying attention, and inherently trusting.

Putting people first means recognizing that employees are not all alike. Personalizing training messages to reflect different company roles, knowledge levels, and cyber security know-how provides training that engages and motivates.

When organizations use a customized and people-centric approach in cyber security training, employees pay attention, and messages resonate. When employees see themselves in videos, microlearning, example scenarios, and office security messaging—the lessons sink in.

Look for customizable cyber security employee training for your organization and people. You can apply this personalization and customization to more than the content.

You can modify the branding, communication tools, language, and training delivery model to align with your organizational look and messaging style. Read the Definitive Guide To People-Centric Security Awareness to learn more about the importance of personalization in training.

3.     Variety

People have short attention spans. In fact, 55% of readers only spend 15 seconds on a webpage before clicking the next tab in their browser. Many click away even faster from videos.

Think about what this means for your cyber security training. To keep employees interested and involved, you must give them variety and options.

No one learns the same way. You need to develop a security awareness program that uses various training methods and communication tools.

Your younger employees respond to gamified training and get excited by leaderboards and earning rewards. Your more senior employees might prefer a more traditional approach that uses microlearning or nano learning training modules that they can easily incorporate into their busy workday.

When people have a choice, they’re more likely to absorb information and grasp the takeaways. Employees pay attention when organizations reinforce core cyber security messages through office communications.

The key is ensuring that the tools used engage a range of learning styles. For example, including a short video in your cyber security email newsletter helps capture the attention of two groups—those who prefer watching videos to reading and those who choose text over video.

4.     High-Quality Content

Your employees are busy people. They see lots of messaging daily and have little time for boring, flat, or poorly written training content. To capture and hold their attention, your cyber security training materials must stand out. More than flawless, they should be exceptional.

Your employees are clever. You can’t trick them into participating or engaging in training. Instead of gimmicks, focus on high-quality content with these key characteristics:

  • Professional expertise: domain experts who understand adult learning, the psychology of changing behavior, and current cyber security trends create the content.
  • Solid pedagogy: content design follows proven adult learning methodologies. Look for self-directed learning, customized courses, task-oriented instruction, and content that focuses on the “why.”
  • Short, interactive microlearning and nano learnings: these contain risk-specific content and reinforce security awareness messaging in digestible bites. They give employees a chance to make decisions in a training context and see the immediate impact of their choices.
  • Gamified modules: these complement training objectives by providing a positive, engaging, and motivating learning experience.
  • Role-based content: the materials are specially designed to resonate with specific roles and responsibilities in your organization.

For example, your human resources team needs different cyber security training than your development team. Role-based content improves learning through customization. It also helps defend against cyber criminals who use other tactics based on employee access to information.

Cyber Security Employee Training Should Be and Can Be Fun

For many people, training feels like going back to school. With the right approach, that could feel like stepping into the future instead of going back in time.

You have a tremendous opportunity to change attitudes about training and cyber security using modern training tools and methodologies.

Take advantage of cyber security training that puts your employees first and supports them in gaining knowledge and insight. When employees relate to training content, they feel engaged and motivated to learn.

Give people training that looks and feels like the content they consume every day – interactive, bite-sized, dynamic, video-based, personalized, and high-quality.


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