Let’s come out and say it: cyber security employee training does not have a great reputation. Most employees dread cyber security training, having previously been exposed to dry training talks, lackluster presentations, and examples that they simply cannot relate to.

And this is exactly why we are transforming the way employee security awareness training is designed and delivered. To be effective and engaging, it’s critical that all types of training put the people you’re trying to reach first.

A people-centric approach allows you to focus cyber security training on what matters most –motivating employees to care about cyber security. We know that humans are the weakest link in security. All it takes is one click of a link or replying to an email requesting confidential information for a data breach to happen.

This is exactly why it’s time to put the fun back into cyber security training. When we’re having fun, we are engaged, interested, paying attention, and learning.

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 making security training more appealing. Interactive gamified learning gets employees engaged, connected, and concentrating on what they are seeing and hearing on the screen.

Effective gamified cyber security training first exposes employees to the issue and then engages with simulation and interactive elements to stimulate learning and interest.

Incorporating challenges, badges, points, levels, rewards, and leader boards gets employees excited and motivated to participate. This encourages internal cyber heroes to develop naturally and stimulates friendly employee competition and team spirit.

Gamified cyber security employee training takes the tedious nature out of training. Employees are motivated to learn and to achieve a high score which converts to adopting good cyber security behaviors and awareness.

2. Personalization

It is really hard for people to engage in anything when they cannot relate to what they’re reading, seeing, or hearing. A one-size fits all approach to training is what pushes employees away from learning and reinforces the “I don’t care” and “this is boring” mood.

So many people believe that a phishing attack or BEC scam could not happen to them. Each of us likes to believe that we’re savvy enough to spot the signs of faked email or a malicious attachment. However, cybercriminals know that people are busy, not paying attention, and are inherently trusting.

When a people-centric approach is used to training modules, newsletters, posters, and emails, employees pay attention and the messages do resonate. When they see themselves in the videos, microlearnings, and topics – the messages click.

By putting people first and personalizing training messages to their company role, knowledge level, and interest in cyber security you provide training that engages and motivates.

Look for cyber security employee training that is customizable to your organization and people. This personalization and customization be applied to the content, branding, communication tools, language, and training delivery model. 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 most readers only spend 15 seconds on a webpage before clicking the next tab in their browser. And now think about what this means for your cyber security training – yes, you need variety and options.

No one learns the same way, meaning you need to incorporate a security awareness program that uses a variety of training methods and communication tools. Your younger employees respond to gamified training and get excited by leader boards and earning rewards. Your more senior employees might prefer a more traditional approach that uses microlearning or nanolearning training modules that they can easily incorporate into their busy workday.

When the core cyber security messages are then reinforced with relatable and engaging email newsletters, posters, banners, and company events, people start paying attention. The key here is in ensuring that these communication tools are designed to engage the different types of people you have in your organization. For example, including a short video in your cyber security email newsletter helps capture two groups – the people who prefer video over reading and those who prefer words to video.

4. High-Quality Content

Your cyber security training content must be outstanding to capture employee attention. Your employees are exposed to wide range of content on a daily basis, which means they have very little time for content that is boring, flat, or poorly written.

Remember, your employees are smart, and they cannot be tricked into participating or engaging in training. This means you need high-quality content that has these key characteristics:

  • Created by a team of domain experts who understand adult learning, the psychology of changing behavior, and current cyber security trends.
  • Designed using a proven pedagogical approach and adult learning methodologies. Look for self-directed learning, customized courses, task-oriented instruction, and content that focuses on the “why”.
  • Microlearnings and nanolearnings that provide risk-specific content that reinforces security awareness messaging in short digestible bites of content. Employees need the chance to make decisions in training and then see the immediate impact of their choice.
  • Gamified modules that complement the training by providing a positive, engaging, and motivating learning experience.
  • Role-based content that is designed to resonate with each person’s role and responsibilities within your organization. For example, your human resources team needs different cyber security training than your development team – remember cybercriminals use different approaches based on the access to information each employee has.

Cyber Security Employee Training Should Be and Can Be Fun

 For so many people, training feels like going back to school. You have a huge opportunity to change attitudes about training and cyber security when you use modern training tools and methodologies.

Take advantage of cyber security training that is designed to meet employees where and how they learn best. When you do this, the boredom evaporates, and people are motivated to learn.

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


Whitepaper – Gamification for Cyber Security Awareness Training Success

To learn more about how gamification in security awareness training elevates participation and learning, download the whitepaper.