I dropped by the offices of marketing agency Leo Burnett in downtown Chicago today to hand off a few copies of the July 2008 edition Chief Learning Officer magazine to Jeff Tritt, who was featured in the Profile article of that issue. While there, I happened to get wind of a couple of interesting examples of engaging employee development programs.!@!
The first was taking place when I arrived. Jeff took me to a workshop Google was running to help Leo Burnett employees better understand its various applications and Web media in general. There were several people clustered around seven stations – each manned by a Google employee – which were based on distinct Google functions such as YouTube, Analytics and Maps & Earth. These posts gave Leo Burnett’s staff the opportunity to see each of these demonstrated by experts, and try them out for themselves.
The other learning event took place a few days before. This was a scavenger hunt that took place on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and involved some 1,000 Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide employees. This exercise was set up to have them go out and find different “easter eggs” in one of the largest retail districts in the world, which would provide them with various takeaways about the nature of marketing and advertising. This event culminated in a companywide cookout in scenic Millennium Park.
A couple of points about these learning programs:
1. In both cases, the programs were somewhat structured, but participants were given the chance to explore the learning environments on their own.
2. Each one was not just a development opportunity, but also an occasion to further build up the corporate culture through employee interactions.
Some of the most engaging learning experiences take place in self-directed, social situations. This is especially true for many of the individuals in the Millennial generation who have just arrived or are coming into the workforce.
What are some of the engagement techniques you’ve used to reach younger workers? We’d love to hear about them!
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