How to Teach Professionalism in the Workplace Using Film

Use film to teach professionalism in the workplace.
i Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Unfortunately, learning professionalism is easier said than done. Bad habits can be hard to break, and changing them means dissecting them. Most workers don’t want their misdeeds to be the focus of in-depth discussions and training exercises. Using film to teach professionalism is a good way to shed light on undesirable actions, without making workers feel persecuted for unsavory behavior.

    Step 1

    Make an honest, thorough assessment of the professionalism in your workplace. Observe worker behavior to identify negative trends in professionalism. Ignoring the late arrivals, rudeness to clients and gossiping is counterproductive. Compile a list of weak areas to address with films. Possible topics include dress code compliance and dealing with negative client feedback.

    Step 2

    Announce the incorporation of workplace professionalism training into the schedule. Explain the importance of soft skills in business. Stress that while technical proficiency always matters, professionalism is still essential to maintaining business relationships. State your intentions of using film as a teaching tool. Express your desire to make training both informative and fun.

    Step 3

    Compile a list of film possibilities. Use a variety of methods to find useful films. This includes getting recommendations from colleagues, brainstorming for mainstream movies that contain business scenes and visiting official training video websites. Rule out the ringers from your list, as going by title or recommendation alone can prove embarrassing. Read the descriptions of potential films carefully to make the most appropriate selections. Study user reviews to eliminate films with outdated terms and procedures. Avoid otherwise good selections that contain potentially offensive scenes. Clear all films with management prior to showing them.

    Step 4

    Account for short attention spans. Don’t equate length of message with strength of message. Cut lengthy films into shorter, more digestible chunks. Group several related clips together for rapid-fire lessons. View full-length movies over several sessions.

    Step 5

    Limit distractions during viewing times. Preoccupied staff may miss important points or disregard training altogether. Divide a large staff into small groups to make viewing sessions more focused. It may be necessary to separate talkative colleagues during training. Saving refreshments until training is completed can increase active participation.

    Step 6

    Engage in interactive discussions after watching films. This helps drive home key points and eliminate confusion. Ask open-ended questions to gauge whether intended lessons were learned. Encourage workers to share their opinions about the positive and negative actions of the characters. Identify ways to incorporate the “good” into your workplace.


    • Making your own films can be a way to teach professionalism, while building office cohesion.


    • Soft skills can be the hardest for some employees to master. Stay vigilant.

the nest