[This blog post was submitted by freelance writer Kyle O’Brien.]
Unless you’re your own boss, most every other job out there requires formalities from the moment a person is hired. Some sort of training exercise, or a bunch of binders covering everything from the history of the company itself to general workplace compliance. Yet, knowing the difference between making sure your employees actually understand the video against whether it’s a “status quo” thing is the big issue here.
Picture, if you will, that scene from the movie, Waiting (and if you haven’t seen it, I don’t blame you), where the new waiter is seemingly locked up in a small office and is forced to watch one training video after the other. The quality of each film is grainy at best, the structure of the video is long and bewildering, and by the time the employee’s done watching it, he has no clue if it was about sexual harassment or how to greet customers.
Ok, maybe that movie wasn’t the best example to use—but the context of how old-school training videos were more laughable than educational is the main point. With that said, here are my top 4 training videos that were nothing short of confusing.
Wendy’s Meets Parappa The Rappa
Forgive my analogy to an old-school video game, but after seeing this gem of a training video, you’ll understand and probably want to play the game rather than watch this train wreck. The premise is simple: some chef-to-be is staring at a microwave, probably thinking he should cook his burgers there instead of the grill—and before he can even press the button, a magic rapping training chef appears, and the rest is history.
The whole “Made Fresh, Never Frozen” slogan should’ve been apparent to employees, not just customers. Call me crazy, but if I had any questions about cooking burgers, I’d rather have a video that has bullet points explaining exactly how long to set each burger and other important information.
Funcoland’s Magic Customer Service Ride
Another example of why less is more, or at least a training video that shows how best to train your employees to grapple customer service could’ve been done in so many other ways. While FuncoLand was a video game company by trade, their training videos seemed angled to confuse even the most avid of gamers, let alone a new recruit.
Here, a newbie employee is asked what the word “gaming” stands for and once he answers, he’s swept into a Tron-like video sequence of dodging poor computer graphics and a wizard. The video spends more time trying to diminish the employee’s knowledge about how to talk to customers and less time trying to make him understand how to do it. #TrainingFail.
The Custodial Laugh Track
McDonald’s had a training video aimed at educating their custodial employees about not just what a “McC” means, but how to wash windows. The zingers are plentiful if nothing else.
What’s hard to determine is whether they’re focusing more on trying to see the “McC” in a window when it’s been cleaned to a mirror shine, or whether they’re talking about cleaning regulations. Instead of hitting the main points of their job and how it contributes to the rest of the office as a whole, the end product makes it seem that the employee should care more about the “McC” label above all else.
Or The Video’s Way Too Long
This video isn’t terrible by any means, it’s just a bit long in the tooth. It’s an Army Hospital training video on sexual harassment done years ago, and it comes off more as a lecture from C-SPAN and loses focus by not having a list of guidelines on a sidebar while the person goes over some key areas. Sure, it covers the bases of what not to do at the office, but the length of the video is far too long for anyone’s full attention.
There comes a point somewhere along the way where, as a company, you’d rather have a training segment that both fulfills the legal requirements and is more likely retainable for the employee as well.
So what does this all mean in the end?
Well, it’s a combination of things, really. Training videos are made for a multitude of reasons. Most are there to keep your staff up to speed on regulations, while others could simply be a refresher course on certain applications every single employee utilizes, such as Microsoft Office, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Seeing how workplace efficiency has so many moving parts as it stands, knowing that you can create better structure for the office and increase productivity by having short and to-the-point training modules in place should be a necessity rather than a luxury. Employees need to have well-trained supervisors up top to give better direction for projects, supervisors need to be focused on surveying business operations, and so on. And with that, companies need to have a set of training manuals or instructional videos to not just further their learning, but make it so it’s both easily accessible to reference and digestible as a whole.
Modern videos are aiming to do just that.
In the end, companies should look to how easily messages are delivered to such a massive audience and put that notion into practice with their training programs. Because whether your business is just getting its feet wet or looking to incorporate and think bigger, making sure there’s a system in place where every individual is aware of his or her accountability and has streamlined tools to succeed and complete tasks at a higher rate than usual is the real selling point.
About the Author
Kyle O’Brien is a freelance writer covering a broad range of topics on the business industry, from workplace productivity to project planning and beyond. He has consulted for ej4, a video company aimed at creating various custom elearning programs, from business books to mobile versions.
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