Roberta Nedry participated in a series of articles that appeared on socialagendamedia.com. The full article text is available by clicking on the article titles below.
How do you ensure that training and development is cost-effective yet still supports corporate needs?
A red carpet attitude starts at the top. Leadership and role-modeled behavior at every level is critical to ensuring training and development is effective. Accountability for actions desired from training and development is also essential to supporting corporate needs. We say, “People do what is expected when it is inspected!” How internal employees are treated is how employees will treat customers. The internal social network supports that. It’s critical to understand what experience management is all about BEFORE implementing technologies so that training is cost effective and yields maximum impact.
What in your opinion should organizations do to get more value out of their spending?
Start at the top and focus on training perception as opposed to just behavior. Once learning and development activities take place, a structure must be in place to reinforce what has been learned. Many organizations do training as a 1-2 times a year activity and neglect the day-to-day integration to keep what was learned constant and consistent. When we deliver our training and experience management programs, we work with clients to set up this structure before the training along with leadership training so that maximum value can be achieved.
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Considering the volume of information training attendees need to digest, do you (or your clients) assure that your training events not only offer educational content but also provide entertainment value? If so, how and why?
Engagement value is more important that entertainment value. Entertainment value can be used to help engagement occur but best motive is helping employees feel they have an important role and are contributing to the big picture. Employees want to feel they can have a real impact, that they are listened to and that they are learning things–that’s what attracts and breeds top performers.
What is your approach to licensing training content vs. developing 100% of it in house? What successes have you (or your clients) had? What failures have you learned from?
Clients need to license training content from experts and those who have experience, skills and solid track records to support the content being delivered. We are experts in our field of Guest Experience Management, Hospitality Training, Customer/Guest Service and Service Excellence and create all our own content. We are influenced by some of the original experience thought leaders like Walt Disney and James Gilmore (The Experience Economy).
We also use organizational management techniques of connecting profitability, service and loyalty. Our success has been to see complete culture changes in our client organizations and to see employee perceptions go from negative to positive and become truly motivated teams. Employee retention improves, customer loyalty builds, customer reviews and referrals increase, and positive organizational change takes place. And, of course, profitability and the bottom line increase! Where we see failure is when leadership in our client companies does not remain focused on being leaders and role models to and for employees. Employees will treat others the way they are treated. If they feel management does not care, they will not care as much either. We constantly evaluate good, positive and indifferent strategies in our clients and try to guide them to the positive experiences that will benefit everyone in the organization and in turn, their customers. It must go in that order to be the biggest success.
What training areas are you focusing on for 2014? What primary formats will you be using and why?
We offer a variety of onsite programs, which are very effective, based on the emotional connection we make with participants and the engaging style of our workshops. Our content is very customized so we can deliver anything from a few hours to half day to full days and series, which build on stages of skill development. We also offer online programs which reinforce the onsite training and can serve as easy access refreshers and orientations 24 hours a day. We are planning to do more videos and publications based on client demand in 2014.
What have been your most successful demand generation and sales strategies in 2013 for acquiring clients for your training programs?
We write articles that are published around the world which generate tremendous interest and leads based on our content, style and methodology. We offer follow up and refresher courses to our existing clients as part of our partnership and commitment to ensuring their long-term success. We help evolve existing clients into other strategies and skills that will build on exceptional service delivery and maximizing the experience. Our existing clients and relationships also send us a lot of referrals and we have tremendous loyalty with our own customer universe.