14 Ways to Ensure Your Employees Get the Most Out of Workshops

ideas for boosting employee engagement.

When you invest in ongoing education and professional development for your employees, it shows them that you value their contributions to the company and, in doing so, it may also bolster morale and loyalty. To support this development, many companies will host speakers or workshops, but it’s important to ensure your employees are feeling engaged — especially if it’s a virtual meeting.

To help you do this, 14 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answered the following question:

“Many companies will host speakers or workshops as a way to support ongoing education and the personal and professional development of their teams. What’s one way you can ensure your employees are feeling engaged and getting the most from these opportunities?”

Here are a few of their ideas for boosting employee engagement.

1. Let Staff Conduct ‘Lunch and Learns’

“Leveraging your staff to lead a ‘Lunch and Learn’ type workshop is a great way to help your team improve their public speaking skills and show off their expertise. Doing this will engage all team members over time. You’ll be surprised to see how engagement goes up when everyone knows their number will be called soon to lead the discussion.” ~ Kristopher Brian Jones, LSEO.com

2. Hold Company-Wide Debriefing Sessions

“I think the key is to engage in these activities on a company-wide basis. All employees from the CEO to the support staff should participate, and then afterward hold one or more team ‘debrief’ sessions. The differences in key takeaways seen from various perspectives will be instructive and will help to flesh out the new ideas and experiences gained from the presentation or workshop.” ~ Kyle Michaud, Carolina Dozer

3. Involve Your Team in the Planning Process

“I’ve found the best way to engage my team in a workshop is to get them involved in the planning process beforehand. It’s difficult to engage someone in a topic they aren’t interested in, so I take the opposite approach and include my team in the planning process. They help pick the topics, speakers and ideas to be discussed. This gives them a say and ensures they are interested in the workshop.” ~ Shaun Conrad, My Online Accounting Course

4. Ensure You’re Providing Relevant Content

“Make sure the speaker or workshops you arrange for are relevant to what’s happening within your company. Your team isn’t going to engage with anything they can’t relate to. Tailor the topic of the speech or workshop to something your team has finished with recently or is currently working on. The more they can see themselves in the overall message, the more they will get out of it.” ~ Nick Venditti, StitchGolf

5. Allow Time for Questions

“One way to make employees feel more engaged in such workshops and events is by allowing them to ask questions of the host. This will not only make them feel more engaged, but it will also help them clear their doubts.” ~ Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

6. Take Suggestions

“Let your employees suggest areas of learning and development. While professional development for individual employees adds value to your business, it’s essential to make your teams feel that they’re part of it. Letting them decide or suggest areas where they feel they need training will make them look forward to the training sessions as they’re essentially part of the process.” ~ Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day

7. Offer Rewards

“You can make workshops and training sessions more engaging for employees by creating contests and offering rewards. For example, ask the host speaker to carry out a quiz and recognize the winner. Or, create a point-based set of tasks and have a prize for the person with the most points in the end. Such incentives will compel people to pay attention and be engaged.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress

8. Allow Your Team to Host

“One way to get your team involved in the process is to allow them to host the events. We encourage everyone on our team to come to us if they have an idea for a webinar that they would like to host for the rest of our employees. We always manage to get at least one volunteer a month, which helps keep everyone connected and encourages knowledge sharing.” ~ John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

9. Create a Positive Work Culture

“Care for your employees. There are many organizations with horrible work cultures that have unhappy staff who get to listen to world-renowned motivational speakers, athletes and other high-performance personalities. And guess what? It doesn’t work. Engaging your staff is a mindset problem rather than a strategic or tactical one. You can’t fake genuine curiosity from your staff.” ~ Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

10. Apply the Workshop’s Lessons

“Take a whole day for these speakers and workshops and be sure that half the day is for working on what the workshops are about. They are called ‘workshops’ for a reason, and applying what you are learning is a way to improve from them. If it is just a speech, that can be watched online or written in an email. If you are workshopping, work on what you workshopped.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

11. Encourage Interactive Experiences

“It’s important to ask the host speaker or organizer to add a few interactive elements to the training experience. For example, create time for a Q&A or get the speaker to work on a live example or case. When employees have experiences that are relevant and specific to what they do, they’ll be more engaged and get more out of a training workshop.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. Stimulate Engaging Conversations

“We get people involved with our company webinars by adding a 20 to 30 minute Q&A session at the end of each presentation. Our team members will often ask questions that lead to engaging conversations that teach everyone in attendance something new. I also like finding where team members need extra help so we can properly plan future events.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

13. Send Out a Survey

“To ensure that your team feels engaged with workshops and similar opportunities, you can send them a survey beforehand. Surveys are a great way to know your team better and gain their feedback for a clearer understanding. Ask employees how they would best benefit from a workshop and what you can do to help. Being proactive will encourage them to speak up about their needs.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

14. Host Giveaways

“You can help your employees feel engaged with workshops by hosting giveaways. People love to win free stuff, and giveaways are a fun way to ramp up excitement among your team. You can also make the prize something useful and practical that your employees are likely to use.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

Image: Depositphotos

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.