What To Look For In An Employee Training Program

Finding the right training program for employees can be a challenging task. You know that the employees are experiencing a learning gap in a specific subject area or skill, but you are not sure how best to address this gap. Your first step is to look for a training program that can be customized for you. Custom programs help you fill in the gaps by tailoring the content to the specific needs of the group and the priorities of the organization. But what else should you look for? Here are three more factors to take into consideration for an employee training program:

1. Diversity Of Perspective

A training program should offer employees exposure to a variety of ideas and perspectives that they may not encounter in their positions. As your workforce evolves, the ability of employees to work with diverse groups and individuals is of great importance. In addition, providing employees with the opportunity to hear from experts and practitioners with outside perspectives helps spark employees’ curiosity and continued interest in learning.

2. Focus On Real-World Application

A training program should include theory as well as hands-on, practical exercises. Experiential learning through case studies, small-group activities, and interactions with practicing professionals can help ensure that what is taught in the classroom can be successfully executed in the workplace. Having employees navigate hypothetical but realistic scenarios is often a great way to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace.

3. Emphasis On Collaboration

A training program should engage employees on a personal level and help them develop skills like collaboration that they can use beyond the workplace. Structured in-class discussion and activities can create opportunities for employee collaboration post-program. In addition, group learning experiences set a new baseline for performance expectations and even new shared vocabulary for work conversations.

Employee training programs can allow employees to better understand their industry landscape and serve as an opportunity to help employees work more effectively with stakeholders. Whatever the area of development may be, taking into consideration customization, diversity of perspective, real-world application, and collaboration can help you find a training program that employees continuously refer back to while moving your organization forward.

Our Custom Education team works with organizations to provide education and training to enhance employees worldwide. Learn more about custom education >>

How To Work With Recruiters In Your Job Search

Sometimes the secret to landing your dream job is working with a recruiter. But recruiters aren’t always easy to work with, and navigating the relationship can be difficult. Follow these do’s and don’ts to save your sanity when working with recruiters:

Do: Pick the right recruiter. You need someone respectful and professional to partner with you in your job search. Before working with a recruiter, ask for recommendations from others in your field and look on LinkedIn to see which recruiters have strong endorsements and share good jobs or content.

Don’t: Go on fake interviews. Bad recruiters or staffing agencies often post boilerplate ads for jobs that don’t really exist. They use these vague posts to reach out to applicants to invite them for an interview to “discuss what you’re looking for” or “meet about some opportunities.” This is a way to collect candidates for their database in case a job comes up later. Avoid time wasters like this by asking for details on the job before agreeing to speak with anyone. If it’s a legitimate job, they’ll be able to give specifics even if they’re not able to disclose the name of the company yet.

Do: Use your recruiter as a resource. Your recruiter was hired to help the company find the right fit, so he/she may be able to give you insight into what the company is really looking for, what the salary range is, and what the most important skills are for the job. If you’re working with a corporate recruiter, who is employed within a company’s HR department to facilitate the interview and hiring process, you can also avoid bothering the hiring manager by following up with the recruiter about benefits questions and status updates on the selection process.

Don’t: Forget who your recruiter works for. Recruiters don’t work for you, they work for the company with the open position(s). Remember that you’re speaking to an agent of the employer. Be polite and professional, and don’t tell your recruiter anything you wouldn’t say in an interview.

Do: Follow up. Recruiters are busy people, so check in every so often to make sure you’re top of mind. If you’re working with a staffing agency, sending a summary of your top skills and what you’re interested in, or even a link or two to jobs that you have your eye on, can help your recruiter understand your career goals and where to place you.

Don’t: Pay for gimmicks or hidden fees. It shouldn’t cost you anything to work with a recruiter. Don’t pay any fees that weren’t disclosed ahead of time. You shouldn’t have to pay for background checks (except in a few industries; typically these are paid for by the employer), you should be under no obligation to pay your recruiter for setting up interviews or pay if you do not accept an employment offer, and you definitely should not pay for any gimmicks like personal branding websites or video resumes.

Do: Be open to temping. Temp-to-perm or contract-to-full jobs are becoming increasingly common, especially in the tech industry, to help companies minimize the risk of making a bad hire. Be open to starting out in a temporary position (as long as there’s a clear timeline for making the transition to a permanent job).

Don’t: Get pressured into taking a job that’s not the right fit. Recruiters are paid to help companies fill open positions, and bad recruiters sometimes push candidates to accept a position that isn’t a great fit just so they can get paid. Be your own advocate, ask questions that’ll help you understand the work environment and whether that’s a fit for you, and make sure you get a job that you love.

Do: Confirm details with the employer. When working with an external recruiter it’s possible for information to get miscommunicated. The employer is the one hiring and paying you, so if you receive an offer of employment make sure that you get the details about your salary, hours, and benefits in writing from the HR department at the company before you accept the offer.

Don’t: Forget to network. If your recruiter is good, your relationship shouldn’t end when your job search is over. Stay in touch for the next time you’re looking for a new career opportunity, and send work their way when you know any talented colleagues who are looking to make a move.

Take these tips and find the recruiter who you totally click with. Need other resources for your job search? Check out our student career resources >>


The Coach Approach | Berkeley Point Capital

Faculty member Eric de Nijs and Berkeley Point participant Asha Hawthorne taking part in a mock coaching session.

A common practice in organizations is that employees are promoted into management because they possess strong technical skills, yet their people skills are not taken into as much consideration. Berkeley Point Capital, one of the nation’s leading providers of multifamily capital solutions, recently commissioned a custom education program from Georgetown University to challenge that practice.

Emma Kiendl and Eric de Nijs, two faculty members from Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, taught a total of 45 managers from Berkeley Point in a custom program called The Coach Approach to Leading, Managing, and Developing Others. The program was highly interactive and included live faculty coaching demonstrations, participant speed coaching experiences, and a focus on developing the skills of masterful listening, asking powerful questions, providing feedback, and making effective requests. These activities culminated in each manager drafting a development plan for a staff member.

By supporting their managers’ development, Berkeley Point is helping their managers become inspiring leaders and coaches of their in-house talent. We sat down with participant Asha Hawthorne to learn more about her experience:

INT: What were you doing in this photo? 

AH: Eric was helping me think through solutions to a vendor relationship/communication issue I’ve been struggling with since joining the company.

INT: How did you feel while talking to Eric?

AH: Honestly, it felt like therapy (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). Eric is a master at listening and posing helpful questions that get you to a proper solution.

INT: Are you applying what you learned at Georgetown in your job? If so, how?

AH: I am applying what I’ve learned — both personally and professionally. The Coach Approach has opened my world to new possibilities!

INT: Do you have any advice about coaching for other managers?

AH: I would advise managers to focus more on building relationships than driving results. If you show people you care and are willing to invest in their growth, then they are more likely to go the distance with you.

Post by Emma Kiendl, an instructor in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. As an internal executive coach and organizational consultant with over 15 years of experience, Emma is passionate about helping clients broaden their perspective, explore new possibilities, and take action to achieve their goals. She is dedicated to helping public servants discover the impact they seek through their work and helping them grow into effective and resilient leaders.

Our Custom Education team works with organizations to provide education and training to enhance employees worldwide. Learn more about custom education >>

Staff Satisfaction Central to Student Engagement

I was recently interviewed by a publication for higher education leaders about how staff satisfaction impacts student satisfaction. The full text of this article is available here.

Students today are more sensitive to service and support than ever before. Whether they’re 19 or 39, today’s students behave more like customers and expect to receive an experience from their colleges and universities that matches the kind of experience they receive from companies like Amazon, whose hallmarks are engagement and ease. Unfortunately, without delivering a great staff experience, institutions cannot achieve the level of service that students expect. In this interview, Senior Assistant Dean Amy Levine shares her thoughts on what it takes for an institution to deliver a great staff experience.

Interviewer (INT): How does the staff experience impact the student experience an institution is able to deliver?

Amy Levine (AL): Our students are perceptive. They are bright, mature, and extremely motivated. They are executives and professionals, and they pick up on the tones, attitudes, and the environment around them. This intuition is not unique to adult students, but it’s heightened by those who are also working and have competing priorities. When our students interact with staff, they have certain expectations that must be met. Of course they want their questions answered and problems solved, but they also expect a fair, equitable and professional environment—the same environment that matches the classroom.

INT: What are the characteristics of a great staff experience?

AL: Once an institution begins to prioritize the staff experience, leaders should look towards building an experience that is agile and flexible, has a culture of creativity, has an expectation of accountability, recognizes success, celebrates wins, and practices values and missions.

Staff members all have different priorities so you want to learn their personal values and experiences. These should be ongoing conversations, not just annual check-ins.

Like any strong professional relationship, a positive staff experience is going to take work from all parties. At Georgetown, we have our Jesuit values reflected in the Spirit of Georgetown that guide everything from our classroom curriculum to staff recruitment. But it does not stop there—we can’t just say that, we have to actually live it for our staff.

INT: What impact can IT have on improving the staff experience?

AL: Small investments in IT have the potential to vastly improve the staff experience. A solution that minimizes the burden or time for a simple (but time-consuming) task can enable staff to focus on larger, more thoughtful projects that have a greater contribution to students and programs.

Consider what is already available for free at your institution. Google products continue to improve and advance. There are also many new free or low-cost applications to help with time management, tracking to-do lists, and even to remind you to meditate. Wunderlist and Todoist are tools to keep tasks straight, prioritize responsibilities, and allow staff to feel focused, productive and satisfied. I also recommend asking your team and those around you for their suggestions at your next staff meeting.

INT: What first steps should senior leaders take in determining whether aspects of the staff experience need to be improved or addressed?

AL: The first step to determine this is to actually ask the staff! Visit their work stations. Say good morning before launching into a meeting. Identifying areas of improvement for the staff experience rarely happens in an organized working group made up of senior leaders (though that helps keep ideas and conversations moving forward). Foster a trusting environment where all staff feel safe and comfortable sharing ideas that will enable them to succeed. As the senior leader, you don’t have to fix everything over night, but you need to be working to improve something, every night.

How Georgetown Meets Clients’ Learning Needs

Georgetown University is home to world-renowned faculty and research centers, and these resources aren’t just available to students. Leveraging the full resources of the University, Georgetown’s Corporate and Custom Education department designs and delivers custom learning solutions for teams, departments, and organizations. In order to guarantee that our clients’ learning objectives are met, our team emphasizes three components in the design and delivery of custom programs:

1. A Thorough Needs Assessment

Contemplation is a critical dimension of intellectual inquiry, and Georgetown’s Custom Education team recommends that clients reflect on the need(s) for a custom education program. We ask clients to consider the knowledge-level of employees, what the employees need to learn, and what is happening at the organization that needs to be changed, improved, or built upon.

Through a series of reflective questions during the discovery and needs assessment process, the Custom Education team works together with the client to make sure the learning objectives are appropriate and realistic.

2. A Collaborative Classroom Experience

Grounded in the university’s Jesuit traditions, Georgetown’s Corporate and Custom Education programs draw from the core value of cura personalis, which translates to ‘care of the whole person.’ In academic life, this refers to individualized attention to the needs of a student, respect for his or her unique circumstances and concerns, and an appreciation for his or her particular gifts and insights.

Cura personalis is reflected in the collaborative classroom experience that our custom program instructors foster in the classroom. By paying attention to the variety of personal and professional experiences represented in the classroom, instructors are able to create individually tailored relationships with participants. This encourages more open dialogue and allows the instructor to better target learning gaps and more effectively achieve established learning objectives.

 3. An Applicable “Toolbox”

Georgetown’s Custom Education programs introduce key frameworks and concepts and then apply them to practice through a mixture of class assignments, case studies, and real-world examples. By building from theory to practice, participants are able to more fully internalize the learning and place it within a real-world context.

Upon completion of a custom education program, participants walk away with a “toolbox”, in the form of templates, handouts, or slides. Equipping participants with an applicable toolbox helps to not only refresh participants’ knowledge when needed, but also continuously reinforce the learning objectives.

If your organization is interested in custom learning design and development, please contact us at ccpecustomeducation@georgetown.edu or 202-687-7000 so that we can begin the discovery and needs assessment process.