Creative Thinking

Giving Voice to Better Training

What makes a top training video work?

by Roy Cohn Training

When Procter & Gamble asked CCG to produce a training video about their new process for performance management conversations, we didn’t expect that the end product would eventually be named one of the three best videos of the year by Training Magazine. After all, performance management conversations are often a routine, check-the-box activity in many organizations.

But beneath the surface, these are among the trickiest interactions that corporate managers have to navigate. Not only do they sometimes have to constructively criticize an employee’s performance, but they also frequently have to deliver news about sensitive topics like salaries and bonuses. The result can be awkward conversations in which what’s really meant isn’t always what’s said.

We decided to take advantage of this gap between what’s said and what’s not. To do it, we needed a third character in addition to the manager and the employee—a character who wouldn’t be afraid to say what he, or anyone else, was thinking.

The character was actually a disembodied voice, sort of like a narrator if a narrator always stuck his nose into other people’s business. As our two actors talked through a fairly typical performance management conversation, the voice constantly interjected, reminding the characters of issues they might have preferred to sweep under the rug.

The device of the voice allowed us to say the unsayable. And that’s really what P&G wanted out of these conversations—managers who were willing to give their employees straight talk even when it was uncomfortable. By exaggerating that behavior with our disembodied voice, we made it more obvious what feedback managers needed to provide to improve employee performance.

The video received high marks from P&G, where our clients reported that it helped prepare managers for their conversations. And of course we’re proud of that little award from Training Magazine.

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