TikTok's 7 Lessons for More Effective Employee TrainingTikTok's 7 Lessons for More Effective Employee Training

TikTok's 7 Lessons for More Effective Employee Training

Corey Bleich

🍿 5 min. read

With its snappy videos, catchy tunes, and almost hypnotic engagement, TikTok has taken the world by storm, and it's now making its way into the workplace. Here’s what you need to know about the intersection of TikTok and employee training, including the trends from this popular app that will shape employee learning in the future.

The rise of TikTok

In September 2016, Chinese company Bytedance launched a little video product called A.me (renamed Douyin three months later). The original idea for Douyin was to showcase lip-syncing and dancing. Bytedance launched the international version in 2017 (named TikTok outside of China), and in just five years it had a total of 3.5 billion downloads and one billion active monthly users.

While TikTok has struggled with security and privacy concerns, with some companies and government agencies banning the app’s use outright, it still enjoys massive popularity.

The bulk of its active users (60%) belong to Gen Z, a group that stands to become the largest demographic in the world by 2034. In 2022, TikTok was the second most popular app downloaded in the U.S., and number one worldwide.

One billion active monthly users 
Users collectively watch 167 million videos per minute, 2nd most popular app in the U.S., 1st worldwide

How does this social media trend impact instructional design? TikTok and the lessons from its popularity simply have to be an integral part of your employee training.

As Gen Z enters the workforce and makes their way up the corporate ladder (or not), their familiarity with this format and their willingness to engage with it makes it a great match for implementing training that’s relevant and interesting to this demographic.

And in a world where interest and relevance is fleeting, you’ll need all the help you can get.

TikTok and employee training: Trends to learn from

When it comes to TikTok and employee training, there are seven key trends to watch for and integrate into your own learning plans.

1. Video, video, video

TikTok is all about the video, and that’s good news for employee training. Not only are videos entertaining, but they are also one of the best ways to increase engagement and learning.

Video also:

  • Increases motivation
  • Can be evergreen (depending on the topic)
  • Reaches people with different learning styles
  • Can be watched multiple times

One of the best parts of using TikTok-type videos for employee training is that you don’t need to have stellar quality video. Regular users are accustomed to shaky cameras, weird angles, and unprofessional productions. In many cases, that’s part of the attraction.

2. User-generated content

TikTok’s popularity is due to the fact that any user from anywhere can create and upload content.

Based on this, consider all of the possibilities in bringing new ways to source short video content from subject matter experts (SMEs) across your entire company. Share these on your LMS, internal intranets, or chat programs like Slack.

For example, everyone from the mailroom to the boardroom can create and upload videos to share, such as:

  • A day in the life
  • Success stories
  • Processes
  • New technology demos

Instead of one person laboring alone at instructional design, TikTok-style training makes it possible for a collaborative approach to employee learning. This creates a more equal informational exchange that is just as likely to grow from the bottom up as it is to trickle down from the top.

👉Discover more: Find out how to use content curation for learning

3. Made for microlearning

TikTok-style videos are primed as microlearning content. Microlearning covers specific topics or skills, and TikTok’s short, engaging video format is perfect. It encourages bite-sized learning that can be quickly consumed and easily retained.

When creating these types of videos, consider just how much you can share in one minute or less. How can you distill key concepts, or focus in on your topics, to allow for this short time frame?

4. Built for the user

TikTok has refined their algorithm to more accurately suggest videos based on user activity. So what does this mean for TikTok and employee training?

Let’s go back to Gen Z, the generation of digital natives known for setting boundaries and choosing to ignore directives that don’t seem relevant. They don’t believe in blindly following bosses or management that does not recognize them as equally important partners. They want to be seen and understood, and they want to know their bosses better.

With this cohort, it’s all about relationships, a strategy outlined by Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory. Instead of forcing employees to conform to existing company culture, LMX asks leaders to check in with themselves and reach a middle ground. Just like TikTok changes to suit the user, be the company that sees and acknowledges employee interests by using tools that employees trust.

5. Track trends with hashtags

It can be challenging to keep up with the cool kids when it comes to ever-evolving trends across social media platforms. But TikTok makes it easy with hashtags.

Following TikTok hashtags for your industry (or that are related even tangentially to the product or service you provide) can keep you on top of trends that matter to you and your future training programs.

6. TikTok as an external-facing highlight reel

Your employees are having moments that deserve to be celebrated. Why not capitalize on TikTok as a way of sharing your highlight reel?

And it doesn’t need to be a one-and-done video either. Recruit employees who have done something exceptional to take over the company TikTok for the day. This slice of life behind the scenes helps customers and others in your industry get to know the people behind your business. This sort of personal touch can set you apart from the competition, but it also serves to let employees know that you see them and the good work that they do.

7. TikTok as a trainer

TikTok-style clips are short, to the point, and often use humor to get a sometimes serious point across. Similar videos can be a light-hearted tool for employees to receive just-in-time education without feeling like they’re stuck in class.

Consider how to use these types of videos as direct training assets, with the following examples:

  • Create on-site video demonstrations of complex tasks or procedures.
  • Share videos that introduce new employees to the company culture, values, expectations, or key executives or customers.
  • Encourage employees to create and share their own training videos on an internal intranet, showcasing their expertise and offering tips to their colleagues.
  • Create challenges or contests on these sites that encourage employees to participate in training activities.
  • Create videos that focus on developing employees' soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, or leadership.

How to bring TikTok-style videos into your training

It can be challenging to integrate new tools and media into your employee learning programs. TikTok is not complicated to use, but it can be difficult to get the same sense of that social media site within training videos.

Fortunately, EdgePoint Learning is here. We stay tapped into the latest learning trends and can help your team get up and running with custom video support. Get in touch today to learn more!

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