Dollars and Sense: Getting results from training seminars

As a manager, your in-box at work (both the one on your desk and your computer) is most likely filled with flyers about all kinds of training seminars. While most offers are quickly discarded, occasionally you discover a seminar that might be beneficial for a staff member.

After checking further on the seminar, you extend an offer to a staff member to attend and she eagerly accepts. The enrollment form is completed and the seminar fee paid.

The staff member attends the seminar and returns to work all excited about the great ideas she learned. The manager and the employee return to their normal routine and within a short period of time, the employee who attended the seminar quickly forgets about all those &8220;great ideas.&8221; The seminar manual that the employee received soon becomes a dust collection site. What a wasted opportunity!

To maximize the developmental potential of any seminar, it is the manager&8217;s responsibility to set clear expectations about seminar attendance with the employee at the time the invitation to attend is extended. The expectations are simple; that the employee will attend the seminar with the goal of gaining at least two or three (or more depending on the nature of the event) new ideas that the employee will implement when she returns from the seminar. This turns the seminar into a true developmental activity and not simply a one or two day vacation from work.

By setting upfront expectations, the manager is positioned to help the employee turn the seminar experience into meaningful developmental action. We suggest that the manager and employee schedule a seminar debriefing meeting for the afternoon of the first day the employee returns to work; strike while the iron is hot so to speak.

At that meeting, the manager hears the most value ideas that the employee gained. Using this feedback, a written developmental plan of action is created and implemented so that the employee truly capitalizes on these fresh ideas and grows her knowledge and expertise in the process.

Seminars, if carefully selected, present terrific growth opportunities for our people. As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that these potential benefits are not squandered.