When I first read that an employee of an alarm company has sued the company for emotional distress experienced during a company training event I just thought “here we go again, yet another American suing over nothing.” Remember that case a few years ago where a man sued his colleague for farting at work?
But check out what they did at this training:
Employees were paddled with rival companies’ yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, according to court documents. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks.
Who on earth still believes that this will create an effective learning environment?
When I design workshops and training sessions, I always try to make it safe and fun. Everything we know about learning says that people learn better when they feel safe and enjoy themselves. In this kind of setting, participants are:
- More open to new ideas
- More motivated to learn
- More prone to collaborate
- Friendlier and more relaxed
And here’s the most important thing: In every event I do, all exercises are voluntary. Even though I’ve tried to make everything fun, simple and straight-forward, there may still be elements of the training that are not right for some participants. And who’s the best judge of that? The participants themselves, of course! Therefore everything is voluntary and if any participants would prefer to sit out an exercise, then that is always OK.