If you are revamping an existing employee training program and plan to implement experiential training, the process can sometimes feel challenging; especially if you’re new to this type of learning. Here are a few guidelines to follow to make the switch to experiential employee training less overwhelming:
1. Define the Behaviors You Want to Change
One of the essential elements of successful training is linking the content delivered to real-life scenarios in the workplace. One way that an outside training provider can do this is by going through a discovery process within in your organization prior to the event. This discovery process will enable the training team to discover the perceived and real needs and to customize the training so new concepts will resonate more effectively with participants and connecting the dots during the debrief will be easier.
Here are some of the elements uncovered during the discovery process:
- Common terms used in the organization
- How the business is structured
- Shared values in the company culture
2. Find the Right Experiential Training Provider and Check Their Track Record
Experiential training providers that have a track record of success will have no trouble providing testimonials and references from organizations they have worked with in the past. Consider these other factors about a provider:
- How long the company has been in business
- What types of organizations they work with
- How much repeat business they get
- How many experiential training programs they offer
- Whether or not they have won any awards; and what those awards are
- Do they provide customized solutions for the exact challenges you are addressing
- Will they become a close partner that is truly considered part of your company or do they act as a 3rd party provider with a limited relationship
Select the Right Facilitator
Facilitators have the power to make or break your an experiential training initiative, and if you don’t choose the right one, your participants won’t engage and you won’t get the best return on your investment. There are countless corporate training providers in the world, but not all of them will help you achieve your training goals.
Some of the qualities to look for in an experiential training facilitator are:
- An established track record delivering experiential training across a range of industries
- A genuine interest in improving your organization
- A commitment to tailoring the training content to your needs
- The ability to conduct an intensive debrief that links training and on-the-job real world application
3. Come Up With a Retention Plan
Behavior change doesn’t start immediately after training. It takes time and ongoing knowledge reinforcement for individuals to successfully apply their new skills and for new behaviors to become ingrained. Many corporate trainers take a one-and-done approach that leaves you wondering what happens next. Look for an experiential training provider that offers post-training support, including:
- Retention and measurement tools
- Long-term training strategy development
- Ongoing coaching
- Performance evaluation tools
- A reporting system for tracking progress
4. Feel the Excitement
Experiential training is exciting. If you don’t get at least a little jazzed up when talking to a potential provider, chances are, they aren’t going to deliver the type of training that makes employees want to come back for more. You can also get a sense of this when listening to testimonials or talking to references. If the tone and language don’t convey a certain level of excitement about the training, consider evaluating other options. Just like hiring new employees, you look for candidates who want to be there and excel, not just show up to get the paycheck. The best experiential training providers will stand out by their enthusiasm for their work.
As you evaluate experiential training providers, look for companies that emphasize a discovery process, have expert facilitators who are passionate about learning, and provide ongoing support so you get the most from your corporate training program.