You just created the best organizational training plan ever and you are ready to roll!  Or are you?  Have you planned the kick-off?

Why do you need a kick-off meeting and what exactly is that anyway?

If you have ever participated in a major training endeavor for your company you may or may not have been involved in a kick-off meeting. Kick-off meetings are considered best practice and essential for a successful program. These are directed by organizational leaders at the highest levels to the participants of the training program. It serves multiple purposes; here are a few key points for the leader(s) to consider accomplishing during the meeting:

  • Explain what the training is about. Not just a sales or customer service training course for example, but illustrate how this will help each individual achieve their full potential. This is your chance to explain the “What’s In It For Me?” clearly and gain buy-in.
  • Build rapport and create a cohesive unity amongst the trainees and with management about the training. Encourage trainees to work with each other throughout the process because everyone has different strengths to bring to the table.
  • Build trust. The benefit of transparency for management is critical for feedback and making adjustments as necessary during the rollout. Let progress be realistically evaluated with honest and timely feedback from participants.
  • Define projected outcomes. Make sure the participants understand what is expected of them both during the training and after. Explain how each individual’s contribution will help the organization reach its goals.
  • Establish timelines. Ensure everyone knows when their contributions are due to keep people on track and avoid delays.
  • Create a theme to rally around. Make this a part of the culture during the training and as an ongoing reminder following. Participants will feel a sense of ownership and accountability to others to succeed. Get their buy-in.
  • Combine the meeting with a social function, a company lunch for instance, to create a fun atmosphere.
  • Bring in a guest Keynote Speaker with an amazing story and proven motivational speaking style.
  • Create some teams within the trainees and instill some friendly competition.
  • Introduce the training team. Welcoming the outsiders into the organization as recognized experts to solidify their credibility.

Training is an investment in your employees and your organization. Get started on the right track, ensure everyone is onboard, and enjoy the rollout and your ROI (return on investment). Read the article by Bruce Hodes in Training magazine about Annual Kickoff Meetings.