Custom Training Case Study: Western Union’s Bold Approach to Awareness Training

On: November 8, 2013
We sat down with Alex Yokley & Kim Hickman of Western Union to discuss their unorthodox approach to information security awareness training for end users.

The execs at Western Union knew how important it was for their employees to understand and apply best practices in the areas of privacy and records management–but they weren’t getting through to employees with training that was dry and a little bit boring.

With more than 9,000 employees and 515,000 agents across 200 countries, Western Union connects people and businesses around the globe by providing fast, reliable, and convenient ways to move money. Throughout its 162-year history, Western Union has been committed to being close to its customers, speaking their language and sharing their culture in every corner of the world.

The Challenges

Chris Gunias is Director, Records Information Management for Western Union. Finding the state of the company’s privacy and records training to be a bit stale, he set out to create a more interesting and engaging way of conveying vital compliance information that might also serve to stimulate a broader culture of privacy awareness.

“The training program we had,” he explains, “had a lot of text, but very little action; it was very informative, but frankly, it was boring. So we kicked off a series of brainstorming sessions on what would make the training more interactive and memorable.”

Gunias knew that in order to achieve those goals, he would have to go above and beyond mere regulatory requirements. “If all we wanted to do was check a compliance box,” he says, “we would have left the training the way it was. But we wanted something that would create a buzz. We wanted to elevate the role and importance of privacy. And we wanted people to remember and think about the training material long after they had taken the course.”

Other challenges Gunias faced were the motivational issues impacting the prevailing training success rates. “The previous training program yielded an acceptable completion ratio; however, we were striving for more than that. If the course was to be memorable ten minutes after completion, that meant we’d have to do things very differently; we’d have to involve people in different ways to inspire motivation.”

Read the full case study to learn how Wester Union worked with MediaPro to incorporate gamification and hand-drawn characters into a new training course that quickly became the talk of the company. Also, check out this write up in CSO Online

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