Outward Bound Vietnam’s corporate training

October 06, 2022 | 08:00
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Outward Bound Vietnam is providing new sessions on corporate training with an aim to boost morale, productivity, and dedication through its well-designed effective and engaging programmes.

Companies are paying more and more attention to the importance of corporate training. Hence, with an aim to boost morale, productivity, and dedication, there is now a boom of options targeted at corporates, from half-day onsite workshops to luxurious week-long teambuilding excursions.

Outward Bound Vietnam’s corporate training
Outward Bound Vietnam’s corporate training - illustration photo

The effectiveness of these capacity-building sessions is, however, rather questionable.

The first problem lies in the setting of many programmes. Some capacity-building programmes take place in a setting that is too familiar, like the office itself, which does not allow the participants to escape their everyday work environment and to be fully immersed in the training. The result is that during many office workshops, participants continue with their work on their phones, checking emails and notifications, or just completely zone out.

Furthermore, some settings are not challenging enough to encourage participants to step out of their comfort zones and develop. Challenges are vital, as studies show that the external pressures from overcoming one’s fears and self-imposed limitations will drive one’s personal growth, as well as professional performance at work, thanks to the boosts in focus, creativity, task management, and decision-making.

An example of an environment conducive to growth can be witnessed in programmes delivered by Outward Bound Vietnam (OBV), a social enterprise specialising in experiential education. OBV provides human-development courses that mostly take place in natural settings and involve a calculated degree of risks to drive participants out of their comfort zone and into “learning zones”.

Activities include caving, abseiling down a cliff, kayaking, raft building, hiking, camping in the forest, and so on. In addition, participants have their phones taken away to be in the here and now, and fully engaged in the activities.

The second problem with many teambuilding activities is that they do not define goals and communicate those goals to participants. As a result, many employees do not understand the purpose behind the activities, nor how the activities may benefit their work. In some cases, there is a lack of overall programme design, which leads to a series of disconnected activities.

To address this issue, right from the start, companies should express the targeted outcomes that they want their staff to achieve after the programme, and work closely with the service provider to ensure that each activity is geared towards achieving those outcomes and tied in with the company’s values.

Debriefing is another crucial component to ensure the programme’s impact. After each activity, a short review is recommended, when the participants are debriefed about the purpose of the activity and reflect together on how to achieve better results on the next attempt.

The third problem is the lack of transference. To ensure the knowledge gained through the activities is transferred to the work environment, participants should be guided to make connections between the activities they just partake in and the real-world scenarios, and thus apply what they have learned to their workplace. This can be achieved by asking questions like “Have you ever encountered a similar challenge elsewhere?” or “How would you apply what you just learned to solve problems at work?”.

Taking this one step further, an approach taken by OBV is to wrap up the programme with a solo reflection session, when participants are allowed some alone time to deeply reflect and make a detailed plan for the following weeks or even months. This helps to consolidate all the experiences gained from the programme and set clear strategies on how to use those experiences to achieve their goals.

Teambuilding is increasingly recognised as a crucial capacity-building component to boost staff performance, capacity, and commitment. Yet, many common issues, namely, little change of scene, unclear goals and message, and lack of transference, prevent companies from achieving these goals.

With insights from OBV, corporates can work with service providers to design more effective and engaging programmes, making sure that they leave a lasting impact on staff performance and as a direct result, on business growth.


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