It’s our company mission and my personal never-ending quest to make work less like “work”. After a year of learning and meeting HR professionals, I present to you “Fun Corporate Training: 3 Programs to Make It Less Painful” to kick off your new year!
We met hundreds of cool HR professionals last year through joining Cleveland SHRM and exhibiting at NOHRC, HR Star, and Ohio SHRM (thanks Alliance Solutions for having us!). We don’t have to explain the benefits of creating fun corporate training. But we will just in case. (Feel free to skip the next few paragraphs after the Backstreet Boys image if you’re on board with us already!)
Training: ‘Cos I Want It That Way
Just like the song, training is about doing things the way you want it done.
The problem is, no matter how well you think you’ve put on paper how to do it, the words still might not really make sense to people (again, just like the song. “Tell me why, I never want to hear you say” … ?).
I have a very specific way for doing just about everything, and during an event is not the best time to train on the way I want things done!
So that means writing procedures. It sucks. I hate doing it. I’d honestly rather run around like a crazy person at my events than have to write down step-by-step how to properly wrap Nintendo controller wires.
(ProTip: not like this)
But now that we’re having multiple special events on the same day, until someone invents a clone lab where I can churn out copies of myself (which will also allow me to have the Contra partner I’ve always wished for), unless I want to run a terrible business, I need to impart this knowledge to others.
It’s hard enough to document that knowledge, let alone make it interesting!
How can I write procedures when even the directions put me to sleep?
So I can just imagine what HR professionals have to go through. “Fun corporate training” is a phrase that you’d think was an oxymoron, the way people react! But it is possible to make it less painful.
Creating fun corporate training benefits everyone: the business itself (which needs error-free work & safe, happy employees), the employees (who want to do a great job but don’t want to be bored out of their minds), and the HR professionals (who have to meet the needs of the business & also their associates).
1. Quiplash 2
A charming list of user-generated answers
Have you played Apples to Apples, or Cards Against Humanity? They’re board games with no right or wrong answers — they’re party games where you supply cards to create funny associations.
Basically the point is to create funny stuff everyone can laugh about, even for people who are don’t exactly score “Jim Carey” on the humor scale.
Quiplash is similar, except up to 8 players play via their smartphone and a TV set. Even better, up to 10,000 people (yes, that comma’s in the right place) can participate too!
The game generates prompts that two players at a time will write an answer for. Then all the other players and spectators vote on which answer they like better.
I wanted to provide video, but when used as a party game, Quiplash lends itself to being pretty dirty. This is the least potentially offensive answer screen I could find.
So sounds like a fun icebreaker, not fun corporate training, right?
Well, in Quiplash 2, they let you write your own prompts!
Last year we ran Quiplash for the Heights-Hillcrest Chamber of Commerce, writing lots of prompts like “The worst theme for a chamber networking event” and “What not to name a horse at our February 23 ‘Day at the Races’ fundraiser”.
We also hosted Quiplash for a Westfield Insurance manager retreat, baking in lots of insurance in-jokes that I didn’t understand but everyone there obviously loved! I was flattered to hear that the team “raved” about the event. So that’s an endorsement I can live with!
Quiplash 2 is available on modern gaming consoles like the Nintendo Switch and even many streaming devices like Amazon Fire.
It’s pretty easy to use, but of course we are always happy to do all the work, MC it, and provide everything the event needs for any overworked HR professional!
2. Poll Everywhere
The awesome picture I supplied for one o the “Who would you hire?” polls. This guy tells me “I can’t pick out a shirt that fits me, but I can do just about anything else!”
Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days, and there are a billion ways this can be used to leverage it for awesomely fun corporate training.
Your Partner In HR held a really great Unconscious Bias event in December, and their team wanted something more interactive to finish up the event with so people would feel engaged, energized, and walk away with a really positive attitude.
It’s also a subject we’re very passionate about, since I was a little kid and the arcade got kids like me out of our neighborhood bubble and introduced us to kids of all ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds. Finding common ground with people really different through gaming (at a time when I was so shy and thought all kids were just looking for ways to make fun of me) completely expanded how I saw other people and the world.
I’m sure I generated a lot of Unconscious Bias because of how my mom let me run around with that hair and those glasses.
I searched the series of tubes for a game or application that would accomplish what the team was looking for.
Poll Everyone was one of three programs I found, but we all agreed it was by far the best.
- There’s no app to download. This is near essential. Anything you can do to avoid making people download apps, do it. It might seem like everyone has an iPhone, but iOS comprises just 1/3 of the U.S. smartphone market. Oftentimes apps won’t talk to the other platform (if one is even available) so this is crucial.
- Many types of user engagement: traditional polls (with words OR pictures), wordclouds, “rank these from worst to best”, etc.
- Real-time results: the presenters see the results come in live via their acccount’s webpage, allowing you to integrate it into the program and give people a reason to participate (people want ways to contribute and feel a part of an event, not be a spectator).
- Flexible to your event size: There are both free and pay options, with the pay ones offering data analysis & summary after the event, plus up to 1000s of participants.
- Remote participation: we didn’t utilize this, but you don’t need everyone in the same room. You can do this via conference call, Skype, etc.
And, display results in pretty colors!
Doing live, anonymous polling and keeping some of the prompts fun led us to get what we perceived to be truthful, uninhibited answers.
A survey monkey page with tons of questions and requiring a name doesn’t yield nearly the level of engagement we got, which was near-universal participation (which we could tell easily by examining the number of attendees vs. number of answers we got per question).
When I get a post-event survey more than 3 questions long, this is pretty much how I fill them out.
I could tell by the attendance numbers (more than 100, and it sold out quickly) and the organizations represented that YPHR runs great events with content people want.
Not only did YPHR get some great post-event analytics from Poll Everywhere, but people seemed to really enjoy participating and not knowing what was going to come next in the series of 10 activities we did.
3. Virtual Reality
The uses of VR/AR for business and education are, in a word, unlimited.
VR can radically transform what we think of as “training” by making it awesome.
Most people in training roles haven’t had the chance to discover it yet though, partly because of the mis-marketing of VR to the public and “Lets make a quick buck off of VR without knowing anything about it” companies out there.
And with the incredible (but not often talked about) pool of software developers we have in Cleveland, our ability to create and design custom programs in VR is also unlimited.
Because high-end VR tricks your brain into thinking what you’re experiencing is real, it means a whole new frontier for fun corporate training.
I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s definitely work-related and I bet they’re enjoying it more than sitting at a desk and using a mouse!
For instance, going back to the topic of Unconscious Bias — it’s easy for someone to say, “I don’t let my biases affect my work.” Everyone is going to say that. But if you put that person in a variety of controlled situations, where you can actually see how these unconscious biases manifest themselves in a real way, you’ll dramatically help people see the root of the issue.
We had trainers from a national bank (not sure if I can say who yet) come in to look at our fun corporate training platforms, and while we do that, we just show everybody high-end VR since no one’s really gotten to experience it, and it might spark ideas for how it might benefit their line of work.
One of their major needs was finding ways to train and observe branch managers in customer situations.
VR can be helpful in preparing people in customer service for situations like this
Now all of us who’ve grown up with videogames can find ourselves immersed in and empathizing with 8- and 16-bit character sprites on a 17″ TV set.
I just got to this scene in Terranigma a few days ago for the first time. It’s so sad!
So the power of VR to literally place us in a believable, real world, is that much more powerful!
While there’s been a big focus on using VR to train for dangerous or physical work, it has just as much potential in help us with person-to-person interactive and even learn about ourselves.
We’re just in the brainstorming stage with the bank, but it’s incredibly exciting to talk about our first custom-developed VR project that can really help HR professionals and their employees in a pretty new way!
Or we can just put you inside Lawnmower Man if everything you know about what VR can do is from 1990s cinema.
I hope this was helpful in reviewing some examples of fun corporate training we came up with that worked out great for our clients.
One question I got at a recent demo was, “Can I just buy this software myself?”
Absolutely! That’s why I wrote all this! To show HR professionals what tools work and how to use them.
We get a variety of requests regarding training.
- “Here’s our training, now please design a solution for us.” Awesome!
- “We have recurring training – can you design us a training platform that we can update and implement ourselves?” Of course!
- “We need ideas and we’ll just take what you say and do it ourselves.” Glad we helped!
Even with #3, I’m glad our knowledge is being put to use to make someone’s life a little easier.
Generally, the HR professionals we meet with don’t have the time, energy or expertise to design their own tech-based custom training solutions, just as I don’t have the time or expertise to design and build my own furniture at the office (IKEA doesn’t count).
Either way, if you need more fun corporate training (and sure, we all do), take our info and do something with it!
If we can help make it happen, all the better!