Organisations face challenges introducing relevant training programs for their employees, that also increases employee engagement. Relevancy of programs and conferences is also highly questionable and budget restrictions make it all more challenging.
Highly engaged employees build great products
We organised unConference for News Corp Australia’s Technology and Digital teams and it was fun to see teams come together, engage and share their knowledge.
unConference is a loosely structured conference. It encourages the teams to exchange their ideas and information between participants in an informal, relaxed and fun setting. This program encourages team building and innovation through the free flow of ideas and discussion.
In an unConference, if a session doesn’t inspire attendees and they are not contributing, they should get up and find a different one. This is the Law of Two Feet
Organising an unConference at scale amongst teams that have diversified goals and are geographically dispersed can be challenging. This post gives an insight into these challenges and how to overcome them.
Technology and Digital teams are huge, comprising a total of about 600 people. And they have never had an unConference before. So scale was definitely a challenge. What if 500 people turn up to the event? What if only 10 turn up? Adding to the complexity, they are also geographically dispersed.
Sending “Save the dates” early on and giving enough leadtimes for teams to plan and allocate their times helps. Enabling hangouts is a good move creating a good inclusive environment to the geographically dispersed teams. Adding a little bit of structure to the event will make things easier at this scale. However, try to not lose the spirit of the program due to this structure.
The idea of having a loose structure to the event was totally new and made people question the relevancy of it.
Questions like will raise “How can I justify that this is a relevant event for my teams? How will I know that there will be something useful for me?”
My answer to those questions is “No you can’t justify and No you won’t know beforehand”. However, you can only find it relevant to you and your teams, if you all participate. You can only find the event useful if you pick up a post-it note and write/vote a topic that you want to hear or discuss. That way YOU ensure that the program runs to YOUR needs.
Why is this program important?
It encourages sharing of knowledge and information in an informal and relaxed setting. And hence directly contributing lateral learning and cross-pollination (sharing knowledge across teams and departments)
It increases employee engagement as this is an event for them, by them! They are the participants and deciders of what should be discussed. I collected the feedback from the attendees and about 85% of the people who filled the feedback form liked the event and thought we should do it at least once a quarter.
It creates new acquaintances and friendships and thus encouraging team bonding across various teams and departments. This also reflects positively in their projects.
I could go on and on in this section, but if you are looking at creating a People Development program at your organisation that increases employee engagement and cross-pollination get in touch.