Training, Development & Retention
It's Monday morning, and our well intended applicant, dedicated to self-improvement and great interview results, is back from a conference where she attended a training session. This session was touted as a must attend event where one could learn all they needed to become a successful interviewee. People who had attended sessions delivered by this trainer raved about how great it.
They claimed that they learned a great deal and that this trainer was extremely good with the audience. Every effort and due diligence about this session seemed to point out that if you wanted to become more productive, improve your skills, create job offers and invest your time wisely: this was a must-see event. Our applicant now facing a daunting challenge in the opportunity to “swim with the sharks”.
As is often the case, this session was available, among others, at a weekend conference offered by an organization that is well-respected. Our applicant, bent on getting the best return on her investment and precious time, poured through the conference material, speaker bios and session descriptions to “cherry pick” those sessions that best addressed the areas where she felt she needed the greatest improvement to meet her goal of becoming a successful applicant. After careful consideration and gathering the opinions of others, she opted to attend the session. Since there were other sessions where she wanted to be in attendance there was a conflict in scheduling. The one session she felt compelled to attend was concurrent with another she wanted to visit. The “conference-meisters” wisely scheduled all speakers in back to back sessions, thus making it possible for people to attend the sessions where a scheduling conflict occurred. She wanted very much to attend the first of the two sessions offered by this coveted trainer, but so she could attend both sessions, she opted to attend the second one instead.
As soon as the first session she chose ended, she raced down the hall to assure herself of a good position at the doorway and a good seat during this crowded training session. This legendary trainer’s first session seemed to run over somewhat. Her anxiety brought about by waiting for her turn, was abated by the incredible enthusiasm, laughter, kudos and praises voiced by those departing the first session. Finally the room cleared out, and she had her chance. She raced to the front of the room grabbing a great seat. With handout, and notepad at the ready, the speaker stepped up on the platform.
The entire audience was fixated upon the trainer as a step by step, proven process was delivered. Details concerning the circumstances, the conditions and time-tested techiques were clearly explained by this eloquent speaker. The speaker’s style and humorous nature struck the heart chords of every applicant present. “This guy is funny” raced through the minds of many in the room. Insights in his anecdotes offered documented that this was a speaker who had real hands-on experience. The room burst into laughter every few minutes. Notes were taken furiously. Everyone swarmed the speaker with questions at the conclusion of the session. Training materials offered by the speaker were cleared off the table by eager applicants. Our applicant left confirmed in her decision to make this session a priority!
The rest of the conference went very well. Other sessions attended by our applicant were enlightening, entertaining and brought a sense of real value to the overall conference experience and investment. At the dinners and luncheons, she overheard many positive comments by her peers, who had attended this coveted session. The social gatherings, dinners and luncheons, and hallway dialogues were considered a great networking tool by our applicant.
She sought networking relationships with many peers in attendance at this conference. Her conference bag was stuffed with training handouts and business cards of those with whom she had networked.
On the flight home, she contemplated the extensive exposure to experiences and insights, she had gained. She made a commitment to herself to apply all she had learned come Monday morning. Armed with new resume submission tools and interview techniques, she knew she was now well on her way to becoming an employed professional in her dream opportunity.
So here we are again, it's Monday morning, it's 8 a.m., and it's time to apply all of the secrets, techniques, and skills she acquired at the conference. As she reached for the phone, a rising sense of panic engulfed her. It now seemed that what she so clearly understood in the sessions had faded out of her consciousness.
She sat the phone down, reached for her conference bag and furiously reviewed notes and handouts from the session. What had happened? Why wasn't she, when it counted the most, able to apply what seemed to make so much sense in the session, and afterwards?
She spent the next several hours grasping for every recollection from the session. The more she tried to apply the mastery and techniques presented the more frustrated and disappointed she became. By lunch, she had all but given up on her dedication to improvement. While she ate her salad and drank iced tea in the crisp fall sunshine, she concluded that she was doing pretty good. After all, she didn't live to work. Next time she'll take better notes.
Upon her return to the desk she realized she had several phone messages from friends and well wishers. She raced back to her desk to return these calls quickly. As the heat of the desk increased and the rest of the day passed by, the session she had attended, the insights she had gained, and the commitment she had made faded into a memory. Her potential employer contacts seem even more elusive than last week and her ambitions stubbornly remain discouraged.
Our applicant's story is a common one. As a speaker to worldwide audiences, I attended a long list of conferences in the past. I will likely be at many conferences to come. As a career improvement practitioner, I attend many training sessions, keynotes and social networking events. During my formative years as an applicant, I devoured all of the training sessions I could find. I took copious notes. I bought training materials. I poured over the material again and again. From my experience and the experience of many with whom I have worked as a consultant, there seems to be a major disconnect between what we hear in a training session, and what we are able to apply in the aftermath.
This challenge is not unique to applicants. From professional development to self-improvement; opportunities abound to gain training. The Internet, multimedia, stand-up training and other forums offer a garden-variety of training and development.
As winter approaches, we are confronted with many opportunities to attend webinars and training seminars in our various industries. People seeking re-employment or a better opportunity are often advised to make the investment in participating in these conferences and seminars. In your due diligence and evaluation of these training and development experiences, I recommend that you apply your own map of needs for improvement when choosing which sessions to attend. Be very honest with yourself about where you need to improve. Conduct positive evaluation and analysis sessions with your contacts and fellow applicants. Openly discuss the training that you see offered and direct yourself and members of your office into those sessions at best address their needs.
If your motivation to attend training is to be entertained, there are a multitude of very energetic, humorous and entertaining speakers, and many industry conferences and sessions. This is not a bad thing in any way; however, it is not the answer to development of professional skills mastered by top producers. The exposure to experienced applicants is a tremendous foundation in developing job seeking skills. What becomes equally critical to your success in becoming a successful applicant is the personal mentoring and coaching necessary to develop you as a unique individual and resourceful position candidate. As I conduct training seminars and deliver my messages, I am always encouraged when I see people taking notes and paying attention. Having spoken to thousands of applicants in the past, I am equally aware that many of those notes end up in that year's conference bag, never to be seen or referred to again.
Establishing a relationship with a skilled coach and mentor is a prerequisite to developing yourself as a highly successful candidate and in your strategy to forge the career of your own design. Every top professional with whom I have had the pleasure and privilege to work, formulated the foundation of their skills and abilities by interacting with someone who had been there and done that and possessed the unique ability to develop the skills in others.
There are countless valuable tools available to applicants today. Each offers its own advantages, when applied wisely. Not one of these individual tools or systems, whether practiced or electronically based, can live up to the claim of productivity by reading directions or listening to an accompanying CD. Top professionals wisely choose from among this myriad of offerings, those tools that can best serve their unique needs. Of greatest importance, however they also seek practical advice and mentoring in the balance between the use of these tools and personal/artful execution.
One of the barriers or obstacles many face in achieving a coaching relationship is the lack of available personnel within your office or enterprise. Owners and managers, often working their own desk as well, rarely have the time or disposition to function as a career coach. HR practitioners are by definition, untrained in key career development skills. Seek the critical training that must seize the position you desire from those who have practical experience in the creation of the same. Regardless of your circumstances, strive to seek out those people who possess the skill to develop you into the professional who gains the interviews you seek and offers you deserve.
Keep in mind though that the old adage, “Training without coaching is entertainment” can either be a motivation to seek competent coaching from industry experts and trainers or it can be a cause for regret when you forget what you learned.
Doug Beabout CPC CSP brings over twenty-seven years of expertise in top production, personnel services firm ownership, and industry training. His reputation for training excellence has placed him, repeatedly, as a guest speaker for the National Association of Personnel Services. Doug currently works with many state level associations as a featured trainer and speaker at several state conferences. He is a business consultant to many franchised and independent personnel services firms.
Doug is owner and president of The Douglas Howard Group, a personnel and training services company. Doug works a “desk” every day and he is uniquely qualified as a personnel services industry trainer. Many of his clients have put their net worth ON THE LINE to succeed in the personnel services industry and did as a result of his training and guidance.
Doug previously held the position of Vice-President of Training and Development for SRA International, Inc. for ten years and was responsible for the establishment and success of hundreds of personnel services firms and their staff members. Prior, Doug was owner and president of a successful contingency, temporary and retained personnel services firm for ten years in Dayton, Ohio. He gained his early placement experience as a personnel services consultant in an independent firm.
Doug’s professional experience started as an officer in Strategic Air Command. He was assigned to several B-52 bomber units throughout the continental U.S. and Pacific regions. Doug has a Bachelor's degree in Comprehensive Training and Education.
Doug has held the title of CPC; certified personnel consultant (NAPS) since 1981 and is included in several Marquis’ Who’s Who publications.
Doug can be reached at his Destin Florida Search Consulting firm, the Douglas Howard Group, 850.424.6933Call Doug today at 850.424.6933 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org , he will take you to your highest billing goals.
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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.
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