Corporate training events come with a certain set of expectations from employees. Whether those expectations are positive or negative is up to the organizer. Employee events like staff retreats, conferences, monthly or quarterly meetings, and even office social gatherings can be opportunities for corporate training, even if participants don’t realize that they are learning at the time. Subtly integrating learning into employee events can help prevent preconceived notions about corporate training from getting in the way of education. This is especially true for organizations that don’t have a great track record with training. Employees who feel that corporate training is a waste of time or boring will be pleasantly surprised with a well-executed and unexpected learning event.
You can come up with different creative ways to integrate corporate training into employee events. These are just a few examples:
Make It Immersive
The more engaging a training event is, the more likely an individual is to retain information. Immersive training events capture attention and enable participants to learn and practice new skills in a safe environment. When you tie those lessons back to the real corporate world, you have a room full of people who learned a new skill without even realizing they were participating in a corporate training event.
Here are some simple things you can do to create an immersive training event:
- Don’t leave out any details so your participants feel like they are really in the experience
- Make it energizing; the more exciting and energized the room, the more buy-in you’ll get from your participants
- Incorporate an experience where participants are mixing and mingling with people they don’t normally work with. This will allow participants to try new things while learning new skills and understand how things are across your organization
Make It Subtle
Nothing says “corporate training” like a personality test or a slide deck chock-full of bullet points. Many individuals automatically shut down when the projector turns on. On the other hand, when participants walk into a room and suddenly feel like they have been transported to an alternate reality, they can’t help but have their curiosity piqued. Before they know it, they are learning how to forge effective partnershipswhile completing a mission. After a few hours of wheeling and dealing, their ability to identify and capitalize on strategic partnerships has skyrocketed. Do the participants feel like they were at a corporate training event? No. They were too busy boosting profits by connecting with the right partners.
Mix It Up
Add a little variety to the day to keep participants engaged and on their toes. When employees don’t know what’s going to happen next, they can’t become complacent. You can keep minds and bodies more attentive by:
- Using multiple formats like video, lecture, games, and contests
- Scheduling part of the event outdoors when possible
- Using different areas of the space you are in
- Changing the layout of the room or doing some activities while standing or moving around
Merge with Management
It’s a lot easier for employees to feel that corporate training is valuable if leadership is doing it with them. When leaders are present at employee events and participating in the learning activities, it demonstrates a commitment to organizational development and helps individuals connect better with managers. Employee events are an excellent opportunity to build company culture by creating a common language and enabling individuals at every level in the organization to have a shared experience.
Make It Fun
Many employee events have a single activity that participants find fun and engaging. However, these are often surrounded by more typical activities like presentations, brainstorms, and breakout groups. This inconsistency causes participants to tune out in between the fun sessions, and the result is a loss of momentum throughout the day. If your corporate training event is immersive from start to finish, participants don’t have the opportunity to disengage. Maintaining a consistent theme for the entire event, even during meals and breaks, will keep minds on the task at hand. When done well, an immersive corporate training event will keep participants puzzling over problems and solutions after the event.
When planning your event, don’t forget to theme:
- Prizes and gifts
- Conference materials
- Newsletters or announcements leading up to and after the event
If the term “corporate training” triggers yawns and skepticism in your workplace, it’s time to consider a different method. The goal of a corporate training event is to produce long-term skill sets that participants are excited to use in the real world. By integrating immersive educational experiences into employee events, you have the opportunity to impart new knowledge and create an enjoyable experience at the same time. After one successful event, next time you say “corporate training,” you’ll be greeted with a completely different attitude.
What other methods have you used for embedding corporate training events into employee events?
Since 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.
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