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Impacting The Bottom Line with Effective Education Programs

How Samsung Semiconductor Stimulated Employee Performance and Communication
By Andrea Bargsley of BlabberMouth

Most companies today know that employee training is incredibly important and beneficial to maintaining retention, morale and devotion.   However, some companies may not know just how beneficial training can be, especially regarding its financial impact.   According to recent report, "Profiting from Learning," published by ASTD, an increase of just a few hundred dollars in a firm's training expenditures per employee can positively impact the firm's total shareholder return in the following year. In other words, employee development programs do, in fact, positively impact the bottom line.  

To ensure that employee training and development programs positively impact both the corporate culture and profits, one must also make sure to invest in the RIGHT training program.   In today's society, human resources managers cannot be certain that sending employees to lectures or discussion groups will be effective enough.   The best trainers are improving their approaches to include hands-on learning — or experiential education.   Experiential education is the next step toward ensuring the effectiveness of employee development programs.

Experiential education can be defined as activity-based exercises that create a common experience through which groups gain a deeper understanding about how they can work better as individuals and together as a team.   Stimulating a group of co-workers intellectually, physically, and emotionally increases their potential for creativity and motivation to work together as a team.   Because these individuals learn by doing — or by experience — their chances of fully understanding their professional challenges and possible solutions is more likely than using more traditional team building approaches like attending lectures or a slideshow presentations that only instruct, or tell, co-workers how to make improvements.

One company, Human Excellence from Austin, Texas, demonstrates its ability to develop experiential education programs that are fun, innovative and effective.   For the Samsung Austin Semiconductor unit, Human Excellence asked their 90 managers to organize into small groups and collectively build "equipment" using Lego blocks.   The learning tool itself — Lego blocks - was simple, but the "equipment" had to be functional and mobile which required the groups to be creative and work efficiently in teams.  

During the building activity, managers gained understanding of the role each member played on the team.   Some were motivators, some were supporters, and others were best with critical thinking and testing the final product.   Human Excellence created a relaxed environment with a fun activity that fostered self-discovery and collaboration among Samsung managers.  

In another project for Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Human Excellence once again showed the value of creative approaches to experiential education.   Human Excellence built the "Red Machine," a tool that simulated a manufacturing line .    Participants were asked to create a product under limited time while maintaining high quality standards using the Red Machine manufacturing simulation. This project enabled Samsung employees to gain a greater understanding of the relationship between two fundamental manufacturing concepts - yield and cycle time.

In debriefing sessions after the exercise, Human Excellence addressed how the participants can improve their performance as professionals and as a team.   Participants returned to work with an action plan that they could implement to improve their performance.   Again, they all worked as a team and learning these concepts on their own. Human Excellence developed the tools, monitored the exercise and facilitated the debriefing to ensure participants left the activity excited and more knowledgeable.

After Human Excellence trained almost 40 on the Red Machine, Samsung took the exercise back to their corporate training office and trained over 100 more employees with this exercise.   Samsung was able to customize the product for different teams so that it applied this to people with a variety of different functions and roles at Samsung.   Samsung's trainers were pleased with this tool and confident of its ability to improve performance and communication.

The experience of assembling these products allowed the participants to work as a team in a fun exercise allowing them to build competency in a process that has a direct correlation to their industry.

A Senior Manager from Samsung Austin Semiconductor was most impressed by Human Excellence's creativity and in its ability to develop out-of-the-box training tools that also help achieve real-world goals.

Human Excellence educates its customers with fun activities that discreetly teach life-enhancing and work-related lessons and goals.   For one of its valued customers, Human Excellence created experiences that helped Samsung Austin Semiconductor employees gain a greater sense of themselves and how they work with others which allowed them to do their jobs better — making the company more successful.

Andrea Bargsley serves as the vice president of marketing for BlabberMouth, an Austin-based full service marketing and advertising agency specializing in branding, creative design, and strategic communications. BlabberMouth helps businesses 'get the WORD out' to target markets with substance and style.   For a free marketing analysis and information about services, visit .


ASTD Report (mentioned in article)

According to a report titled "Profiting from Learning" published by ASTD, an increase of $680 in a firm's training expenditures per employee generates on average a six percentage point improvement in TSR (total shareholder return) in the following year.

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