Stop Wasting Your Budget On Workshops That Don’t Work

black woman in blue shirt delivering a company workshop to employees in a classroom

We’ve all been a part of this cycle: Something feels off about your company’s culture – a lack of communication, difficulty making decisions, an influx of incidents reported to HR – and leadership has decided it’s time to do something about it. They go out into the world and bring back a training company with a cool idea. Maybe there are individual assessments, or everyone does crafts while they learn, or the company is endorsed by an industry influencer. 

So you invest in a round of workshops. And it feels solid. If their claims are so powerful, then your organization really will benefit and grow, as individuals and as a working team. Then a week after returning to the office from your catered off-site retreat, everything is exactly the same. It’s as if the professional development didn’t happen at all. 

Why are the courses and workshops that your organization paid for not working? How can you create a workshop that actually does work?

Avoid Information Overload

Every person has a limit to how much information they can process at any given time. And adults have specific needswhen it comes to entering a learning space – especially when that’s not how they typically spend their days. 

Off-the-shelf workshops often don’t include critical elements for success like being immediately relevant to the attendees or approaching learning as a problem-solving exercise. While some attendees might enjoy the novelty of the experience, many will still be connected to their day-to-day work, checking emails, and having sidebar conversations. That’s a lot to process, and important lessons are less likely to sink in.

The solution for impactful workshops lies in customization. Chances for real impact rise dramatically when the presenter or facilitator has taken the time to get to know the organization and;

  • Tailors their workshop to be relevant and immediately impactful, 
  • Ties exercises into current, real-life challenges, and 
  • Presents in a style that suits the company’s energy and tone.

Implement True Accountability

If the accountability portion of a workshop is everyone making a promise to themselves on an index card, or choosing a check-in partner without required check-ins, then there really isn’t accountability. 

Making sure lessons or skills learned in a workshop are truly implemented begins before the workshop starts. Leadership needs to understand and be bought into the change the workshop intends to create in order to create systems of accountability that are baked into the day-to-day. Whether it’s a new team meeting structure or a different way to do performance reviews, those systems also aren’t one-size-fits-all. Not from organization to organization, not from team to team. 

Culture change consultants that only sell workshops without additional support to ensure implementation before, during, and after the workshop might be offering a thought-provoking experience, but they’re not offering true, sustainable change. And since most professional development programs are initiated to improve some aspect of company culture, experiences alone won’t cut it. 

Take A Holistic Approach

Too often, professional development is offered as a one-and-done solution. Information is dropped into a company then everyone hopes really hard that the important parts take hold. But to truly have an impact, it needs to be holistic from the start. 

Before a workshop happens, your corporate trainers must understand the needs of your organization and the people within the teams. They should cater the topics and content to what’s at hand. And show people how to apply the information in a way that makes sense to them, is really understood, and can be accessed and applied easily.

After the workshop, they should come back, see how things are going, help adjust accountability plans, and implement ongoing learning, processes, and policies to make the change you set in motion take hold. 

Culture Refinery’s Holistic Approach

At Culture Refinery, we start with an assessment to understand your teams, from their challenges and hurdles to what’s important to them and the way their personalities interact. Then we develop a workshop we know will matter to them.

We skip over participation certificates in favor of an accountability approach. That starts with presenting material to stick with the organization forever. Then we stick around to evolve it as your company evolves. 

The workshop is just the beginning. To support ongoing learning and development we offer moments of microlearning like relevant article and videos. We help you set up book clubs and discussion groups, and provide panels and learning series. We keep the conversation going because it’s through this ongoing, tailored process where impact actually happens.

Ready to get started offering professional development programs that are really worth it? Contact us. 

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