Top 10 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (March/April 2016)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Top 10 Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that is shared with our readers in a print issue. Here are the details of KLA-Tencor’s Meditation Workshop.

KLA-Tencor: The Meditation Workshop

KLA-Tencor developed The Meditation Workshop to maintain its strength in talent engagement and also to raise output and productivity by reducing stress and increasing focus.

The training is based on the latest in neuroscience research and sound mindfulness principles taught through the ages. We all need to reflect on the past and plan for the future. But when the mind wallows unnecessarily in worries of the past or concerns of the future, it leads to anxiety and loss of focus. Staying in the present alleviates stress, brings focus, and, in turn, leads to higher productivity, creativity, and better relationships. The entire focus of the meditation course is to teach techniques to bring participants to the present moment.

The 2015 program rollout was focused on the U.S. headquarters, with a secondary pilot in India. Nearly 200 learners were trained. The training was based on a course instructor/designer Kishore Bubna, Ph.D., had delivered at local universities (Dr. Bubna was the senior director of Software Engineering at KLA-Tencor before joining the Corporate Learning Center). This foundation was supplemented through a comprehensive audience analysis, which informed the customization of the content for a practical, results-oriented engineering audience.

Program Details

The instructor-led workshop is supplemented by an audio recording for post-workshop practice, and a weekly post-workshop, in-class, instructor-led practice hour.

This interactive training:

  • Uses the latest in brain science research to help participants understand the states of the mind (beta, alpha, theta, and delta) and the impact of being in these states.
  • Teaches five different meditation techniques designed to take participants into the present moment, and be in the theta and delta states for at least brief moments during the workshop. Participants experience deep calm and peace by practicing simple techniques for just three to four minutes. The five meditation techniques are called sound watching, shirt watching, breath watching, body watching, and thought watching. Participants also learn a technique called “watching the watcher” as part of the five practices.
  • Teaches participants another set of techniques to get around common barriers that prevent them from getting into a meditative state. They learn how to switch from vigorous activity to a meditative state, what to do when thoughts overwhelm them during meditation, and how to calm the mind during meetings, escalations, etc.

The total duration of the workshop is three hours. But participants meditate for a total of 25 minutes. The rest of the time is spent listening to Ted talk clippings, five two-minute lectures, discussions, and question and answers.

After the training, guided meditations are provided via digital audio—these are used by participants for their daily meditation practice. The Corporate Learning Center also hosts a weekly instructor-led lunch hour meditation practice session for participants to strengthen their practice. In addition, the CLC’s “Welcome Back” policy encourages employees to revisit any course for free, forever.

Results

The monthly course has been fully booked since January 2015, with a sizable waiting list. As a result, more sessions will be added to the 2016 calendar and the program will be expanded overseas.

Additionally, several attendees have booked intact team sessions. Recently, one business unit general manager and vice president had his entire business unit take The Meditation Workshop. Another intact team that took this workshop recently decided to start their weekly staff meeting with a 10-minute meditation—they felt it would help them calm their minds and bring focus, and this, in turn, would lead to a more productive meeting.

Participant assessments have rated the course at 4.74 out of 5. Comments from the open field survey after the training include:

  • “This was very relevant to the high-tech environment. Valuable for my stress control in work and life.” 
  • “This is the most valuable workshop I’ve taken at KLA-Tencor. I never would have believed that such a course would be offered here next to technical and leadership courses.”

In addition, Talent attraction and retention numbers continue to meet KLA-Tencor’s corporate targets.

 

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders.