CLI’s Creative Approach to Engage and Train your Workforce

Dr. Tim Buividas Training and Development Leave a Comment


CLI reviews a training case study in this blog.

Susan Cain Ed.D., Partner, The Corporate Learning Institute 


It’s seven in the morning at Alliance Disaster Kleenup in the Chicago suburb of Wheeling, Illinois, as employees arrive at work in various stages of wakefulness. The employees are attending a creative training session designed to engage them as well as offer useful training skills, offered through the Corporate Learning Institute. ADK’s CEO, Josh Tubero, has provided a full-on breakfast bar from Panera Bread to welcome them.

 A Training Session Start that Engages Employees

It’s the start of the monthly in-service training called ADK University–but this isn’t your typical  in-service training. The session starts with a rousing group shout of “Good Morning!,” and then some shared updates from ADK President Justin Tubero. From there, the meeting takes a turn toward the unusual.

CLI’s Dr. Sue Cain introduces the topic: managing projects in a mini-presentation, then leads the group in a hands-on experiential activity. Teams are spread out throughout ADK’s complex, attempting  a project simulation called “hitting the numbers.”

The ROI of Shorter Training Sessions with Targeted Skill Building

The bite-sized workshops offer a break from routine and engage and train employees with the real-time skills that can be unpacked and used immediately on the job. This offers a cost-effective return on investment that saves time and money. But unless training is designed to engage employees in a fun and meaningful way, any training can become an expense instead of an investment.

Three Things that Make Training More Creative and Effective

To fully engage adult learners and generate lasting impact, training  has to include three elements:

  1. Experiential learning, or learning by doing.
  2. Relevant learning content that is immediately applicable to work.
  3. Some form of personal performance accountability so that learners demonstrate use of materials on the job.

From Learning Lesson to Work

Back at ADK University, the teams have developed solutions to the work simulations and are dashing into the conference room to share their results. Since the topic is project management, the teams have been coached to share their results using project management protocols.

Each team presents their findings as the session winds down. Then the teams huddle to talk about how they can apply insights back to work. The hour and a half session ends with action planning using a template called “One Bold Step.”

Sharing Appreciation and Supporting Accountability

As the session ends, last minute thoughts are shared as employees dart out toward their work areas, trucks, and cars. The session was just long enough to impart some job-specific tips on managing projects,  share updates, and support accountability for transferring learning to work. It also provided a forum for Josh and Justin to show real appreciation for hard work–and allow employees to grab a quick breakfast as they get ready for their busy day.

CLI  offers creative approaches to engaging and training your workforce. Find them at

Alliance Disaster Kleenup is an award-winning disaster response and recovery organization proud to develop employees who have a uniquely high level of compassion for serving their clients. Find out more about Alliance Disaster Kleenup at 

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Dr. Tim BuividasCLI’s Creative Approach to Engage and Train your Workforce

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