Demystifying Experiential Training – The Why & Stuff to Try (NOHRC 2018)

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Experiential Training by Games Done Legit

Do you hate business-isms as much as I do?

Words like “synergy” and “paradigm” and “pivot” have evolved/devolved beyond their dictionary definition, morphing into neutered buzzwords seemingly reserved for high-level snoozefest meetings.

“Experiential” is getting there.

But don’t let its overuse detract you from in what my opinion is the single-most-important realization HR professionals are having:

Experiential training means one thing: giving people participatory, fun stuff to do for work.

That’s it. And there are tangible, demystified ways you can bring it to your organization’s training.

I googled “experiential” and got this image from Eventopedia. I’m experentially confused by it.

The “no duhs” whys of Experiential training

At work, if people in general are enjoying themselves and feel valued:

  1. Productivity is up
  2. HR “interventions” are down
  3. Turnover is down
  4. Bad apples are less likely to spoil the barrel

Lubrizol Corporate Training with Games Done Legit

Shameless plug for Games Done Legit’s team-building programs!

It’s the 21st century; work doesn’t have to suck. Finally, we have enough research reinforcing these “duh” concepts, so organizations are paying attention to them.

The “Experiential” keynote at NOHRC 2018 sounds great

This all means HR professionals get to learn about this stuff at conferences, then figure out how the heck to take these pie-in-the-sky ideas from model companies and put them into action with their budget, culture and personnel.

Northeast Ohio Human Resources Conference 2018 is right around the corner, and the Thursday keynote topic is right up our alley. “HR Breakathon- Define, Design, and Deliver the Ultimate Employee Experience” by Ben Whitter, founder of the World Employee Experience Institute.

Point number 4 in his description especially caught my eye:

  1. Enhance professional capability in effectively leading and communicating change through a human-centered, holistic and experiential focus.
Now, I don’t have a copy of Ben’s program, but I infer that this basically means that people do their job better when people believe the company even remotely cares what they think. (Whether it’s true or not, only the C-levels know for sure!)
Experiential means people want stuff to do. Not more work, obviously. But people want to contribute to the conversation and feel like their voice matters .

Games Done Legit exhibing corporate team building at NOHRC

Shameless plug to visit our Gold sponsor booth at NOHRC 2018 for fun you can bring to your work!

What’s an example of an Experiential meeting?

Corporate Quiplash for Group Training, Team Building, and Events from Games Done Legit

You can’t stop people from using their smartphone at meetings. So encourage it with a fun activity! 
For instance, for meetings or training, on one hand, you can one-way talk or present to your audience, hoping they won’t tune out after about 7 seconds (which they will if they don’t care about the topic).
Or you can find ways to engage the audience’s smartphones or computer, which they already in their hands (begging to update them about Facebook friends or March Madness), to make them active participants in the group event.
Polling or games that augment your topic gives a live event an entirely new feel.
Suddenly, you won’t see glazed eyes or secret phone checking, because their main go-to when distracted is now directly engaging them into the event. They’re being told, “You’re a part of this thing too, we care about your ideas, and we need your help to make this more interesting.” 

What’s an example of Experiential Training?

There’s nothing more riveting than one-way communication in the Information Age!

People learn best by doing, and next by seeing. Compliance training on a 10-questions PowerPoint quiz is not the optimal way to train & impart knowledge. You know this, but what can you do about it?

Again, you can impart information on a one-way street to your employee, or you can bring them in to actively shape the training process – or even learn by make their own mistakes in a safe environment (in which they won’t get ridiculed or “yelled at” by either employees or their supervisor).

How about a training session where you poll the group on what they would do in X situation? And showing the result of X action, right or wrong?

Or including the information in a game that was designed 1st to be fun, and 2nd to impart your knowledge?

If you can “trick” people into learning because the learning process was actually enjoyable, you can teach anything. This is why games designed for education first and fun second almost never work.

Corporate Training with Games Done Legit

The wonderful sight of co-workers actually enjoying themselves at a team building function!

This is also why gamification sucks, coincidentally.

If you’re taking the same work but just applying new metrics to it for people to compare, just because you call it “experience points” and “leveling up”, you’re basically just putting lipstick on a pig. If your methods are the same, and they were boring before, they will be boring with gamification.

This is why using actual games that are fun in work settings is so much more effective than gamification. Gamification is an artificial motivator; fun is an actual motivator.

Taking fun seriously at work

Virtual Reality at Hyland Software Games Done Legit

Virtual Reality is exciting not just because of the physical-skills training we design with it, but social-skills training in areas like sensitivity, leadership, and unconscious bias. And it’s fun!

If you haven’t noticed by now, fun is pretty serious business for us at Games Done Legit. It’s really exciting to see so many HR managers, trainers and experts talking about what we’ve always known to be true:

Making work fun helps both the company and its employees.

I hope this helps you alleviate the pressure a bit of how to take these huge topics like experiential training and figuring out how in the world to get them into your company’s ecosystem as an HR professional.

NOHRC 2018 will be an amazing, informative event – hope you can make it! Stop by the Games Done Legit booth and say “hi”! I promise we’ll have something experiential and fun for you to do there quick!