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Maximizing Employee Learning Opportunities


Investing in your employees’ professional development is an excellent way to keep your staff engaged. From your organization’s standpoint, investing in professional development also ensures that employees remain valuable to your organization.

But how do you make the most out of employee learning opportunities?

Here are a few tips for finding the right learning opportunities for your staff and maximizing the time spent during the workshop or course.

 1. Assessment

In order to provide successful learning opportunities to employees, an assessment needs to occur to determine what professional growth opportunities would benefit both the employee and the organization. Not everything the employee sees for their future will be a good fit for their current role or career trajectory within the organization. Ideally, supervisor and employee will meet to discuss the best course of action by identifying gaps in skill, knowledge, or experience, to determine the right course of action.

 2. Goal setting

After initial assessment conversations, setting obtainable goals is the next step. Goals are most successful when they are measurable, so setting incremental goals with short-term goals that lead to an eventual long-term goal is ideal. Having these conversations and setting a plan into action has the added benefit of allowing employees to feel that their expertise and future with the organization is valuable.

3. Follow through

After assessing employee needs and setting goals, all that is left is to take action. Perhaps the decision was to pursue a certification, or maybe it was participation in a one-day workshop. Either way, the employee is engaged in additional professional development opportunities at this point of the process.

4. Reflection

Was the course or workshop a success? Supervisors should meet with employees to discuss the value of the training provided. Was the content easily translatable to the employees’ everyday roles and responsibilities? Did the employee return with a new sense of ownership or a new perspective? If the development attended was skills-based, i.e. software training, include cross-training opportunities with other staff members as part of the employee’s overall goals. Knowledge can then be transferred and shared with the team.

Tips for successful workshop days

Not all professional development opportunities are created equally. How can you make the most of the experience?

  1. Check in regularly

One of many tips provided by TrainingZone for managing difficult participants in group learning is regularly check-ins. This goes for both the facilitator of the course as well as the participants. Checking in regularly ensures that the content is suitable for all course participants and that all participants are able to benefit from the time spent in the classroom.

2. Discussion

Lectures are boring. Get the group talking with an icebreaker activity, and place an emphasis on interactivity. The facilitator may have the knowledge in the room, but participants are likely to learn just as much by sharing experiences with each other.

3. Bonding

Especially for one-day workshop activities, bonding with the group is a key element to success. Consider a meal together at a restaurant like Olive Garden where conversations can continue flowing even outside the classroom activities.

The bottom line

Placing an emphasis on employee professional development is key to any organization’s success. It keeps employees engaged, interested, and also valuable to the organization. By meeting with employees to assess, goal set, follow through, and reflect, the right opportunities can be easily narrowed down, making each learning opportunity a cost-effective and valuable investment. And, by regular check-ins, discussion-based classroom activities, and bonding and team building, employee time will be maximized in the classroom.


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