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The Year I Gave Up On My Training Blog

Back in Feb 2016, I was tapped out with training blog post ideas. I just couldn’t get my head (or more importantly, my heart) around any topics that were substantive or relevant.

Feeling alone and lost, I surrendered. I gave up.

I stopped writing this blog and walked away.

My full-time job was (and is) as a corporate videographer and producer, so I wasn't like I was "close" to training on a daily basis.

But I kept getting drawn back.

Throughout the year, I would occasionally hear about a bad training experience from a colleague or friend and it would make me cringe.

Over the years - and armed with the added insight that I am wired as an Intuitive Feeler (NF) - I have learned to listen to my gut. And when I hear about bad training experiences, there is literally something in my gut - in my core - that becomes unsettled.

And most recently, my gut had to work overtime as I witnessed (second-hand) the worst of the worst….

Mandatory HR Training

Do your employees get a cold chill down their spines when Mandatory HR Training is mentioned?

If you are responsible for designing or delivering mandatory HR training, let me just say, “I’m sorry.”

For the handful of you learning professionals who work hard and actually make such training engaging, entertaining and/or informative for your participants, I say “Thank you!"

Personally, I haven’t met a mandatory HR training yet that fits in that category.

Yet We Still Call It "Training"

Unfortunately, most HR training workshops are cruel information dumps, where employees are trapped in a room for several hours. In my opinion, a terrible waste of everyone’s time.

You can stand next to a freshly-used litter box and say, “[sniff] I smell gardenias!” That will not change the fact that you are still standing next to a freshly-used litter box.

  • No one will want to hang out with you while you are near that litter box.

  • If the company makes it mandatory that all employees stand next to that litter box, they will say, “Well gosh, if that wasn’t the nicest smelling litter box I’ve ever smelled.” And they will be lying.

  • And when forced to stand near that litter box, each employee will mentally escape to his or her “happy place.”

So those glazed stares you observe as you lead your mandatory HR training is just that: people who have escaped to their happy places.

How long has your training been going on…20 mins? They went to their happy places 10 mins ago; maybe sooner if you’ve filled you slide with too much text and bullet points - all information that you feel compelled to read.

This scenario assumes you’re just speaking to the people in the room with you. If this is a webinar, and you’ve got employees dialing in…help us all. If you’re not engaging the people in the room, you know what’s going on in the field.

I recently was riding with a colleague who was on such a webinar. Since he was driving, he had the webinar playing on speakerphone. It was mid-morning and I actually got sleepy 30 mins into the webinar…and I wasn’t even attending! I was a bystander.

I was a victim of second-hand impairment from bad training.

Fixing Ineffective Mandatory Training

If you have no plans to modify your mandatory training content beyond it’s current information-dump status, here’s my quick solution:

  • Create the content, post it and have employees view it on their own time.

  • Offer the webinar as an optional 30-min Q&A for those who have questions or would like more detailed information. But don’t be disappointed if no one shows up.

What do you get out of this approach?

  • Your Mandatory training box is checked.

  • It's a less painful experience for your employees.

  • Your HR team has minimal involvement.

  • No one presumes any actual retention of information.

  • And employees are off-the-hook until this same time next year.

How About an Even Better Solution?

If you know that your mandatory HR training isn’t wanted, liked and/or effective, and you want to make it better, The EMU Experience can help you.

I wanted to stay away. I tried to stay away. But situations like this - which are way more common than we want to admit - are completely unacceptable, ineffective and a general waste of everyone's time.

I should just be able to walk away and let you do your mandatory training "thing." But I can't. But I can help you make it so much better. If you're willing to trust me.

P.S. - And yes, my blog is back...with a new name and a new home.

The Unexpected EMU blog can now be found at

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