At Goodwill, it is our mission to give individuals who face barriers to finding gainful employment the tools necessary to achieve success in the workforce. That doesn’t just mean providing them with the skills to perform a certain task or discipline, but also bringing out the attributes that allow them to adapt and become a cohesive and collaborative member of an organization. This stands true for the people we employ as well as those we serve outside of Goodwill.
Multiple Goodwill agencies throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia are now implementing a new internal training program called Employ Excellence. The program is designed to enhance an employee’s ability to interact and work effectively with teammates and managers by exploring and capitalizing on key aspects of emotional intelligence. Although the program’s objective isn’t unique, its approach most definitely is different. Employ Excellence is presented in an atmosphere that is unlike your average classroom environment.
Participants will often come to the two-day training class expecting a traditional learning experience – sitting, listening to lectures, and taking notes. They are soon surprised when they discover that Employ Excellence not only provides few of these standard presentation elements…it actually discourages their use.
Few other educational and professional training programs encourage students to listen to music, play with puzzles, toss balls around, roll dice, draw, create, and have fun all while acquiring valuable skills that will help them grow personally and professionally.
The Employ Excellence curriculum is a highly interactive learning experience—there are no lectures or long presentations. Participants engage in activities designed to address the competencies of self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation.
The modules covering these topics may be a stand-alone training session, or may be combined with any of the other modules to create a more expanded learning program. The modules may be given in any order, providing the facilitator the freedom necessary to adapt to the ever changing and fluid demands of training and development.
Employ Excellence from the employee’s perspective:
“Employees are selected to participate, so they feel recognized in a positive way. Employees learn about the different aspects of emotional intelligence and have the opportunity to observe the trainers modeling positive emotional intelligence traits in a variety of challenging situations. Participants gain valuable insight to their own emotional intelligence through a series of exercises and receive positive reinforcement and/or spontaneous coaching during each session. The structured post-activity conversations allow participants to share their ideas and discuss areas for improvement and paradigm shifts.”
A recent participant in Goodwill of Greater Washington’s Employ Excellence program had this to say about the program’s overall experience:
“Over the course of the two day program I witnessed Goodwill’s dedication to strengthening the individuals who are employed within its organization. I also learned Goodwill associates in the program believe in themselves and are willing to step up to the plate when it comes to making sure the work environments around them are as strong and cohesive as possible for those they work with. Goodwill’s belief is that the lessons learned through the Employ Excellence program will permeate the culture of the organization just as it continues to grow and serve the community.”
Employ Excellence from the trainer’s perspective:
“The excitement for the trainers of Employ Excellence is in the fact that they are facilitating and not training the materials. In traditional training, the instructor provides information and processes for the student to follow; however, when facilitating Employ Excellence the learning comes from the students and their experience with the material. The trainer provides a learning environment that encourages self-reflection and evaluation. The employees are given the steps to follow when things don’t go their way but it is more meaningful and memorable for the learners to actually experience things not going their way and processing how they actually handled the experience.”
A trainer for Employ Excellence explains what it is like to see the change in employees who participate in the program:
“It is extremely rewarding facilitating Employ Excellence. When a learner “gets it” you see the light bulb go off, you hear the change in their tone and in the language they begin to use and you know that you have had a positive impact on someone’s ability to not only get but maintain employment. In addition, you know that this person is now equipped to use these skills when communicating with their peers, managers, and customers.”
The ultimate goal of the Employ Excellence Program is to improve employee retention by focusing on emotional intelligence. This will lead to lower attrition, reduced recruitment costs, and a reduction in critical man hours that can be refocused elsewhere.
The Employ Excellence model works because the employees are actually teaching themselves, which resonates with humans on a higher intellectual and emotional level than being told “how to act”. So far the results are very encouraging. For the future of your business consider Employ Excellence now.