Top 10 for 2017: The Most Requested Training Topics

A road that shows 2017 with an arrow pointing ahead

One of the most common inquiries we receive is, “What are the most popular workplace training topics?” Well, it’s the time of year for “best of” and “Top 10” lists, so we thought we’d share a run-down of the most popular employee training topics our clients are planning for 2017.

And check out the hot bonus topic at the end of this list!

1. Strategic Planning

Facilitated strategic planning helps teams set short- and long-term goals, identify potential obstacles, and prioritize plans, timelines, and tasks for implementation.  Depending upon your current stage in the process, a formal strategic planning process can: identify key stakeholders and gather relevant information; create a vision & mission (“future state”); conduct an environmental assessment (“current state”); develop objectives, strategies, and goals; define steps to implement the plan; monitor and measure results; and make course corrections as necessary. Working with an experienced facilitator will ensure that your team’s time and efforts are maximized toward bottom-line results.
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2. Harassment Prevention

In today’s global marketplace disrespectful behaviors can have negative effects not only within a team, but within the organization with which they work and with the internal and external customers who are served. Organizations must foster an inclusive, respectful environment to succeed. Finding ways to use our differences as strengths instead of obstacles helps teams deliver better bottom-line results and more innovative solutions.  Training on this critical topic must cover not only key terms, definitions, and legal framework but also contributing factors, prevention strategies, and awareness of policies and procedures.
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3. Business Writing/Email Writing

Experts estimate that as much as 90 percent of human communication comes from non-verbal clues such as voice inflection and body language. In business writing, however, you have only the words to get your meaning across, so the way the writer uses those words becomes more important.  On-the-job writing matters – from RFPs to planning documents to client emails, your employees represent your organization every time they craft a document.  Workshops on this topic can cover grammar and punctuation errors along with common writing mistakes and memory tips for avoiding them.  In addition, participants can learn strategies for writing more efficiently and effectively.
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4. Emotional Intelligence/EQ

All managers can relate horror stories about employees or team members who were intelligent, technically capable, and able to perform the duties their job demanded…and who wreaked havoc on their teams because their social skills or self-management capability was lacking. When it comes to individual and team success, IQ is not enough; in fact, the skill set known as Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has consistently proven to be a better indicator of individual and team workplace success. Cultivating and using the five components of EQ can have a profound positive effect on you individually as well as the people you work with. 
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5. Time Management/Productivity

In today’s busy world it is important for workers to be as effective as they can with the limited hours of time during the day. If the unexpected interruptions and crises are affecting your employees’ productivity, then it is time to take control of the workday! Efficiency training can include topics such as practical and specific time management skills to increase effectiveness and reduce time-wasted activities; effectively managing Outlook and email; managing calendar and to-do list; how to prioritize and plan your day using your natural energy cycle; the basics of important decision-making of action items; and action steps to reduce interruptions and procrastination.
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6. Cultural Competency/Diversity

Celebrating diversity is one thing; cultural competency is something different.  Developing cultural competence includes examining our own worldview and biases and developing the willingness to learn and be educated from a different point of view.  In addition, it involves examining our societal rituals, roles, and values with the acknowledgment that other people have diverse ways of thinking, doing, and believing. In this fun, practical presentation participants cultivate their ability to understand, communicate with, and interact with clients and co-workers across cultures and styles, increasing their ability to be successful in a variety of situations.
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7. Compassion Fatigue

Individuals working in high-stress, customer-facing positions face demanding interactions as a regular part of their job requirements. Having to work with people in stressful situations, deliver difficult news, and offer appropriate emotional and logistical support to constituents/clients on an ongoing basis can take a very real toll on the providers. When the demands of the job outweigh the emotional reserves we have available to us, we can suffer from “compassion fatigue” and related stress which can lead to negative consequences within both a professional and personal context.
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8. Creativity/Innovation

Creativity is not something a person either has or doesn’t have. The fact is that EVERYONE is creative – but not in the same way.  Just as there are different types of intelligence (traditional IQ vs. EQ), there are multiple types of creativity.  It doesn’t matter what your formal title is…workplace innovation is the responsibility of everyone within an organization.  Organizations need team members to see, think, learn, and act in new ways to keep up with our constantly fluctuating economy and environment. The key is implementing innovation in the workplace, encouraging creative thinking in our teams, and incorporating practical tools for using an innovative process into daily routine.
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9. Leading Change 

Most change-management experts agree that traditional, executive-led change initiatives are not as effective as those led and implemented by the individuals most affected by the proposed changes.  To that end, change resilience training must help supervisors and managers implement workplace change more effectively and help individual contributors better deal with those changes being implemented.  The supervisor version of the program gives participants the opportunity to learn, practice, and apply effective communication and employee engagement techniques and strategies to generate support for – and improve implementation of – change initiatives. The individual contributor version helps participants understand the stages of dealing with change, how and why they struggle with change, and how change affects performance. 
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10. DiSC

There are, of course, many different assessment tools that rate behavior, preference, styles, attitudes, etc. and provide a framework for understanding the way in which you see the world and the differing ways in which others may approach the same set of facts or circumstances. Myers-Briggs/MBTI, Emergenetics, Lominger, Insights, StrengthsFinder and many others remain popular, but the most common tool we see clients utilizing is the DiSC.  The DiSC framework is easily learned and flexible enough to apply to a variety of individual and team learning needs – communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, decision making, and others.
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**BONUS HOT NEW TOPIC: Business Analytics

Businesses have gone big with their investments in data-related technology and infrastructure. But all those millions of dollars and terabytes of data don’t just magically produce better business decisions. Who in your company is extracting real value from your troves of data? How do you turn data into actionable insight? According to Shannon Murphy, Data Analytics Program Manager at BMGI, “Many businesses are venturing more deeply into the area of data analytics. Building a team of data scientists and data analysts is a top priority, but daunting given industry statistics boast that these resources are SCARCE, EXPENSIVE and TRANSIENT. How can you ensure the next hire is skilled in data analysis, will fit into the culture of your organization and get along with the team? LOOK INSIDE your organization.”

See here for a more in-depth look on how you can utilize your existing staff and new hires to take advantage of the business intelligence your organization has available. Contact us to arrange a discussion on developing and leveraging this critical talent within your own team.

Check out the entire list of our consistently most requested training topics. You can also search through our extensive online catalog of training programs.