How to increase the impact of a one-day workshop
A Danish consulting company ran a one-day workshop for its client as part of a larger development program for middle management. Leveraging digital facilitation platform Howspace, the consultants maximized the impact of the client organization’s time together and generated true ‘wow’ effects during the day.
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Developing leadership skills and methods among middle management
A Danish top-tier HR consulting company had quite a typical assignment from its client organization, a construction company employing several thousands of employees: A 1000-employee division wanted to raise the level of leadership skills among its middle management, since it was recognized that leadership would have a significant impact on employee satisfaction and, eventually, on the very results of the organization’s work.
Quite an extensive leadership development program was established that would span over a period of 1,5 years. The program consisted of a variety of self-study, practical exercises and group work. In September 2016, the program participants, 100 of them in total, were scheduled to gather together for a one-day workshop in Copenhagen. Both the consultants and the client company obviously wanted to make the most of the one-day opportunity to spend time face to face.
Matching modern technical tools and traditional workshopping methods
The consultant organization had used Howspace before and thought of leveraging its functionalities for ‘lengthening’ the scarce hours of that precious face time among the program participants. In brief, they wanted to achieve something different and bigger than ‘just another workshop day’.
The client wanted to achieve something different and bigger than ‘just another workshop day’.
Here’s how Howspace helped make the most of the workshop:
- Pre-activation. About a week prior to the actual workshop day, the consultants, in cooperation with the client’s representatives, sent a set of preparatory questions and assignments to the participants in order to engage them beforehand.
- Planned and prepared content in Howspace. While Howspace fluidly supports real time layout adjustments and new content creation during the day, it makes sense to prepare the key content elements in advance to ensure smooth progress of the day. During the day, new content elements were revealed to the participants as they proceeded on the agenda to avoid the participants getting confused or overwhelmed by the bulk of it thrown at them up front.
- Questions to the CEO during the day. The participants were encouraged to file in questions via Howspace to the CEO and top management during the day. The CEO would then address and discuss the questions over the next week or so.
- Real time polls with real time results visible to everyone. Over the course of the workshop day, several questions and opinions were asked from the participants. Everyone could answer the polls through their mobile access to the shared workspace. On the workspace reflected on the big screen in front, the graphs representing the group’s answers were visible to everyone real time, as the results poured in. The excitement among the group was very tangible.
- Effectively presenting a flip chart in front of 100 persons. After lunch, the 100-person group was divided into smaller groups that had assignments to do. Recognizing the worth of the good old pen and paper, the consultants didn’t want to force the participants to go all digital using Howspace, although that, too would have been technically possible. Instead, the groups were asked to work on flipcharts, then take photos of their flipchart documentation, upload the photos on Howspace, and then present their main findings to the entire 100 person group using the photos that were presented to the audience on a big screen, directly through the Howspace workspace.
- Sharing the materials and results afterwards through Howspace.The small groups worked on flipcharts, took photos of their flipchart documentation, uploaded the photos on th Howspace workspace, and presented the flipchart photos on a big screen to the entire 100 person group.
Like no other tool
Already half-way through the day over lunch, the client company representatives were very excited having seen the engagement levels among their middle-aged construction engineers. Howspace was introduced as the consultants’ tool for making the most of the workshop participants’ day together, and now it was the client company itself that wanted to start using it on their own.
For the client company, Howspace had demonstrated something totally different from what they were used to: Instead of using cumbersome and expensive rental equipment to allow for polling and engagement during a day, they could just set up a Howspace workspace and send all participant a link to it that they could follow using their phones.
No raising of hands and slow counting of votes when polling, but instead a rapid digital polling process were the individual votes were private but the aggregate results were immediately visible to all.
Also, the client company was starting to see opportunities in real time engagement overall: Perhaps next time around the employee satisfaction survey should be conducted over a limited period, with aggregate results visible to all and management commenting on the results during the process?
Check out our template for hybrid workshops! This template will help you successfully lead the energy levels and the results of a workshop in a hybrid setting when part of the participants are physically present and part participating virtually.
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