How can you boost employee and customer retention?
Time and money, which is no surprise. 94% of employees say they would stay longer with a company that invested more in their training. Still, employees say they don’t have enough time to participate in professional development. So, companies should consider providing training and room in the schedule to complete it, or else it’s pointless.
Why? According to LinkedIn Learning’s 2022 Learning in the Workplace report, learning and development (L&D) professionals agree it’s less expensive to reskill a current employee than hire a new one, just as it’s less costly to retain existing customers than attract new ones.
If training boosts employee loyalty, it makes sense that it would do the same for customer retention. Imagine the impact of providing ongoing product training for busy users who want to use your product to meet their goals.
But customer workshops aren’t used only for customer training. They also give time and space to encourage conversations, gather feedback, and build relationships.
Of course, you know your company's success depends on upskilling, reskilling, and building relationships with your employees and customers — or you wouldn't be here.
Read on to discover the steps to hosting a memorable workshop and the types of workshops that will delight your attendees.
What is a workshop?
A workshop is an interactive learning session — run by a facilitator — where a group of attendees learns together through instruction, collaboration, and hands-on practice.
Workshops are at their best when the workshop facilitator is a subject matter expert. This is because attendees will receive accurate and thorough answers to their questions. A talented facilitator guides attendees through the material and discussions instead of lecturing them.
Workshops create spaces for groups to learn, discuss questions, brainstorm ideas, identify problems, make decisions, and develop solutions. Often, workshop attendees are colleagues or professionals in the same field looking to learn a skill they will use or might use in the future.
When people attend workshops, they expect to dig into the material during the workshop and interact with other attendees in an informal setting.
Depending on the content, workshops can run from a few hours to a few days. And they are an efficient way to learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time.
Types of Workshops
For most, ‘Workshop’ is interchangeable with ‘training,’ but that is a limited take of what workshops can be. Businesses can hold internal and external workshops to collaborate on ideas, generate new strategies, learn new skills, and solve problems. Here are a few ideas:
By hosting workshops internally, your organization can keep up with new information, trends, and changes. Consider hosting these workshops within your organization:
- Sales enablement: Equip sales representatives with current products and services along with sales tactics, strategies, and best practices during a half-day to full-day session.
- Career development: Help employees boost their marketable skillsets in workshops hosted by people operations.
- Brainstorming: Give teams time to collaborate and innovate by hosting brainstorming workshops.
The key to meeting organizational goals is educating and equipping your teams with the necessary skills and knowledge. And the workshop format promotes collaboration and learning by doing, which increases the likelihood of attendees using what they learned well into the future.
The benefits of workshops expand beyond the confines of a company’s workforce. By hosting workshops for customers, you can provide value while building relationships. Workshops for networking or customer events usually last longer and have multiple sessions. Here are some ways to use workshops to build customer trust:
- Customer advisory boards: Gather customer feedback and uncover customer trends in a workshop formatted like a panel discussion or Q&A session.
- Discovery calls: Uncover new clients’ needs, wants, and insights in a workshop format to share the breadth of services and inform the next steps in the sales process.
- Product feedback: Host focus groups in a workshop format by asking customers to evaluate existing products and services and share feedback on upcoming releases.
- Community education: Build your community by hosting workshops to help your community learn about your industry or specific topics.
The interactive nature of workshops helps your customers see the company as a valuable source of knowledge and a partner in their success.
How to run a powerful workshop
Successful workshops call for careful planning, preparation, and execution. For example, if you are hosting a community education workshop, here are the steps you might take to plan it:
Prior planning prevents poor performance — especially when running a workshop. The more detailed your plans, the smoother the workshop will run. Once you've determined the workshop format and content that best helps your attendees meet their goals, consider completing the following steps well ahead of your workshop to ensure success:
- Prepare content, visuals, and equipment so everything runs smoothly during the workshop.
- Find a facilitator who knows the content and how to make discussions fun and effortless.
- Prepare attendees by sharing a detailed agenda that includes FAQs and goals.
- Set up your virtual platform to create a welcoming and easy-to-navigate environment.
- Promote your workshop via social media, email, and platforms your attendees spend time.
By putting in the work at the beginning, you set the stage for a workshop attendees look forward to attending.
When the workshop is underway, you might feel like a juggler trying to keep all the balls in the air. But if you followed the steps above, you already set a solid base before the workshop. Consider following these tips on workshop day to ensure it runs smoothly:
- Greet attendees with a playlist of energetic music and fun introductions to set the tone.
- Remind attendees why they are there by reviewing the agenda and desired outcomes.
- Track the time and schedule short breaks every 45 minutes to keep attendees comfortable.
- Help attendees collaborate and share their experiences by sending them to breakout rooms.
- Thank attendees for attending, and assign action items for the following days.
When attendees take the time to attend a community education workshop, you want to be sure it lives up to their expectations. Consider helping them along their path to knowledge by using research-based education strategies.
- Help them assess their prior knowledge by using polls and displaying real-time results.
- Apply the content to real-world situations during and after the workshop.
- Provide immediate feedback to help attendees refine their understanding.
- Schedule short reflection periods throughout so attendees can process new information.
- Close with a quiz or a round of trivia to help attendees cement their newfound knowledge.
To that end, the more novel you can make the workshop experience for your attendees, the more memorable it will be for them. To do this, encourage friendly competition with extras like virtual badges, points, and leaderboards. You can also invite them to interact via chat, Q&As, and emojis.
Your work doesn’t end when the workshop does, so take some time to close the open loops. To measure the success of your workshop and gain feedback from participants, consider the following steps:
- Send a recap of the main points discussed during the workshop and a survey to collect feedback on the workshop and how to improve future workshops.
- Gather insights from the facilitator's evaluation of the workshop.
- Analyze your gathered data to determine if the workshop achieved its desired outcomes.
- Share the results of the evaluation with all stakeholders.
- Use the event data to inform your future workshops.
Want to go above and beyond to set your company apart from the competition while serving your community with real value? Create a workshop resources page that attendees can visit to review the content. Also, consider sharing snackable snippets of information on your social media channels.
Since brains lose what they don't use, people lose what they learn over time when there's no effort to retain it. This even has a name: The Forgetting Curve. To help combat information erosion, borrow from educators’ playbooks using an evidence-based practice called retrieval practice or spaced repetition.
Workshops are the workhorse of company meetings
Workshops are powerful tools for internal and external growth. Not only are they collaborative and capable of conveying a broad range of messages, but workshops also prepare folks to take on their next challenge.
With Session, hosting a successful workshop has never been easier. From sales enablement to career development and everything in between, Session has the tools and resources you need to host engaging, practical workshops that inspire and empower your stakeholders.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for Session today and experience the many benefits of workshops.