What are employees gaining through all of the training that organizations offer? While team-focused events are valuable ways to bring together individuals into a cohesive unit, corporate events with a training focus can do this while targeting essential skills for teams. If you want participants to walk away with a new or sharpened skill under their belts, consider incorporating the following five elements into your event:
1. Don’t Just Show or Tell — Do
While listening to a series of lectures and presentations may be the preferred agenda at company events, for many individuals it’s certainly not the most effective. To ensure your colleagues are developing life-long skills, and aren’t just passively absorbing the information they’re sure to forget once they reach the event parking lot, you must get them up and moving through interactive activities and discussions that reinforce the tenants and skills presented. Experiential learning transforms dull company events into rare opportunities for your colleagues to stretch themselves in a safe and supportive environment.
2. Instill Passion, Not Just Competition
Speaking of support, training events that use games often divide a larger group into smaller teams. While a little healthy competition is definitely a good thing, it’s important to consider how the competition might spill into everyday work. At the end of the day, you don’t want to encourage a volatile workplace due to the results of your training event. When you are competing in groups or teams, focus on internal competition as much as external:
In a timed activity, can teams beat their own score during a second or third round?
Is there a record teams can beat for efficiency, accuracy, or score?
Are there aspects that every team, even a winning team, can improve upon?
In addition to shifting focus slightly away from competition, the training activities you use should also bring about passion. A good learning activity creates an environment where all participants are invested in the process, and thus, the outcome. Focus on fostering collaboration on a common goal, active listening, and communicating effectively, since these are the skills that high-performing individuals — who are often already innately competitive — need the most guidance to become productive and passionate team members.
3. Teach Leaders How to Provide Feedback
When working with high-performing teams, it’s easy to assume that such teams are made out of equally high-performing, outgoing individuals always eager to contribute. This is often the case, which is why so many company events focus on sharpening listening skills — since these talented individuals presumably have the “speaking and sharing” part of communication down pat.
However, that’s only one part of the communication process. While team members may have no problem speaking up and sharing their thoughts on projects and colleague contributions, how they do so can make all the difference; in fact, studies have shown that how team members communicate both with the team as a whole and on a one-to-one basis are excellent predictors of a team’s success.
Effective feedback involves a delicate balance of giving (without attacking) and receiving (without taking offense), and a review of this cornerstone of communication is ripe for attention. Nailing the “how” and “when” in terms of providing feedback is especially important for leaders in charge of performance management, which makes it a great topic for your leadership-focused company events.
4. Gather Feedback
Want to ensure your future corporate training events are even bigger successes? Wrap up by asking for feedback. Going straight to the source at the close of your event means you won’t have to guess about what worked and what didn’t, and what was missing altogether. Plus, if you covered the topic of giving or receiving feedback at your event as suggested above, then this presents the perfect opportunity to practice a newly learned skill.
5. Reinforce the Message
Reinforcement is just as important to your event’s success as the event itself. It is said that participants will lose up to 70% of what they learned in the first week post-training. In addition to providing follow-ups to participants that contain a recap or point to relevant materials, consider also reaching out to managers to convey what the company event encompassed and how managers can support and nurture their team members’ new skills. Urge them to create a plan with their employee that tracks progress made toward mastering the skills introduced at the event, so your company event truly has a measurable, lasting impact.
Helping your colleagues to adopt new skills is just half the battle — the other half is making sure they continue to practice them. What strategies have you utilized to ensure that your colleagues are still practicing the skills taught at your company event long after the it has wrapped up?