May 02 2018
Kristen Evans
5 Minutes to read

You’ve made it through the hiring process (finally!), and you’re thinking hard about how to train new employees. There’s plenty of ground to cover, too—from copier codes and parking, to office culture and lunch recommendations.

Companies that bundle all this information into employee training videos may help managers cut down on training time—but is that really the best option for your new hires? Crucial trainings, like sexual harassment, are simply less effective when completed by video, according to CNN—and a personalized approach helps employees navigate new training material more effectively.

Depending on the needs of your new hires, regular one-on-one meetings with a supervisor, group management, and other small acts of kindness can make a big impact during an employee’s first days. Intensive onboarding helps employees navigate company culture, leading to better employee retention and more confident workers. After all, no training video in the world will make up for hands-off management!

Here are five vintage employee training videos that might make you chuckle—but will ultimately help you rethink your approach to training and management:

1. Blockbuster Customer Service

Blockbuster may be long gone, but this nerdy training video, in which Buster the Manager interrupts his trainee throughout her day, lives on via the internet. Some of Buster’s advice will probably always apply to customer service reps: “listen, think, act!” is a solid mantra for anyone in client services, after all. But Buster and his micro-managerial style would benefit from some executive training, so he can more effectively foster trust and focus on end results. (Hey, that customer seemed pretty happy to me!)

2. Selling Is Service…and Service Is Selling

The employees in this department-slash-thrift store are really good at rapping. Their mantra, “Selling is service, and service is selling,” might be catchy, but the video could more effectively demonstrate how to train new employees or improve their customer service abilities, too. Need some suggestions for beefing up your customer service training? This resource from the customer service experts at Zendesk will help you set up employee-to-employee training programs or make more effective practice tickets.

3. McDonald’s: “Clean It”

Do musical parodies defeat the purpose of employee training videos? This one from McDonald’s is—you guessed it—a play on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” We love MJ tributes as much as anyone, but food service employees need plenty of resources from managers to do their jobs well, from food-safety protocols to customer-service refresher courses. Because food service has one of the highest turnover rates in industry, managers play a big role in keeping their teams informed, safe, and happy. Here are a few suggestions for how to train employees to cultivate a longterm mindset from their very first day.

4. IRS: Star Trek Parody

We salute the IRS for finding humor in a workplace that must bring its own set of challenges (no one likes getting audited, after all). If you’re wondering how to train new employees to deal with difficult customer situations, take a look at this resource from Harvard, which encourages managers to clarify customer service protocol and offer employees conflict-resolution training.

5. Pier 1: Let’s Connect with a Customer

The sales associates in this Pier 1 Imports training video rap, sing, and host an awkward dance party in the parking lot. It’s cute, but customer service reps need more resources for all sorts of timely issues, from answering online tickets to handling a rapid-fire production schedule. We love these helpful lessons from a customer service rep published by the career experts at The Muse for doing just that.

Want to ensure your new hires will succeed in the office? Learn how employee training affects workplace culture.

Find out more

Kristen Evans

Written by:

Kristen Evans

Kristen Evans has written copy for national snack brands and covered food for outlets like Extra Crispy, a TIME vertical devoted to all things breakfast. She’s worked countless shifts as a waitress and a wedding caterer and now writes for BuzzFeed and The Los Angeles Times. Learn more at

Posted in: In the IndustryTraining

Tagged with: Coaching and Mentoring, Job Success, Office Management, Training Engagement, Training Measurement and Effectiveness, Training Program Development