5 Tips to Get the Most Bang from NeighborWorks Training Institutes
Each year CPDC staff benefit from our partner NeighborWorks’ trainings. As such, our People & Culture team put some thought into how employees can maximize these educational opportunities. With NTI Detroit 2016 now underway, we share tips to help other affordable housing and community development pros go forth, prosper and make the most of the opportunity!
As busy professionals, many of us know this cycle all too well.
You secure a ‘slot’ or are allowed the budget to attend one of NeighborWorks annual Training Institutes (NTI). You attend, network and take copious notes. You return to the office the following week with a large binder, fact sheets, slides and a flash drive with the intent to revisit these valuable materials to enhance your own work and to share with colleagues. Yet somehow, despite the best intentions, you soon become consumed with daily tasks—never to touch your training materials again.
This is often the reality of the aftermath of professional conferences, seminars and workshops. But it doesn’t have to be! This year, CPDC’s People & Culture team (our equivalent of Human Resources) put on their thinking caps about ways employees can be more effective at making the most of information gained from professional conferences like NTI.
Check out these tips on how your organization can maximize NTI and other professional development opportunities.
Think ‘Yelp’ for NTI. At CPDC, one condition for all employees that attend trainings is that they must share a brief review of each course taken. This practice has multiple benefits. It creates a review repository of courses that are an excellent reference when colleagues are determining what courses to take to best enhance their work in the future. (A colleague who attended a class firsthand can advise better than the course title or description.)
The act of documenting course highlights also makes it less likely that you will bury the resources you acquired. We store this list of courses our employees have taken and reviews on our SharePoint portal. Employees are required to submit reviews within one week of returning from a training.
At CPDC, staff have found great value in attending courses outside of their direct areas of work, but that complement their work. By better understanding the ‘big picture’ of our respective organizations’ missions and connecting silos across departments, we all win.
Jerry Lane, Accounting Manager at CPDC says that even with 45 years of experience in accounting that attending a Real Estate Finance course offered by NeighborWorks helped him better understand what processes real estate developers have to go through in doing due diligence on deals.
3. Share the Wealth!
If you took a particularly enlightening course that could have wide benefits for your organization, make it a goal that within a few weeks of returning from a training that you put together a few slides of the highlights and schedule an informal ‘Lunch-and-Learn’ to share information with colleagues.
Not only will this make you look like a superstar, but passing on resources can be invaluable for some smaller organizations where staff wear many hats. You made the investment in time and resources. So whether its tips on how to grow your reach on social media or cost-effective ways to market and brand, the more you can share to empower all the entire team, the more effective your organization’s work as a whole.
4. Stay Connected with Rockstar Instructors
Today, it is easy to stay connected to the many industry thought leaders who are instructors at NeighborWorks trainings to continue benefiting from their knowledge. Before you leave a training, don’t forget to expand your organization’s network by connecting with these individuals via social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. Many share tips daily that will inspire and enhance your work and there is always the potential for partnerships or other collaboration down the road.
5. Consider a Certificate Program to Build Your Resume
NeighborWorks offers professional certificates in nine content areas and, for those with limited time and budget, one-week certifications are also offered. One-week certifications are an effective way to build competency in a specific subject and earn a certificate that will enhance your resume and career credentials. These certifications can typically be applied toward the aforementioned more comprehensive professional certificate program, which can significantly improve your professional standing.