In order for a workshop to be successful there has to have been opportunity for the all attendees to have participated in an interactive way. If this does not happen then there has not been a workshop organized at all and the attendees have been at a lecture.
Whilst some staff might gain from being in a lecture situation there is a very good chance that other individuals will day dream, doodle, text or in other ways fail to be alert and receptive to the goal of the workshop.
So the underlying task for all workshop organizers is to plan for them to be interactive. Because unless all attendees gain from the workshop then the workshop has been a disservice to the organization as valuable production and service time will have been lost.
Some staff will attend and participate in workshops willingly whilst others are intimidated and uncomfortable in workshop settings. It is the role of the workshop organizer to come up with ideas and ways to put this latter group at ease so that they can participate well.
One very common technique that works well to put people at ease with one another is the employment of icebreakers at the beginning of the session. The funny and non challenging activities generally manage to get staff to relax and to feel more comfortable being with each other.
It is a good idea to ensure that all group work is organized into small groups. Large groups can be threatening to certain staff members and some will not contribute well in such settings. Making the groups smaller encourages the shy members to participate.
Another way of ensuring that people remain involved and are actively participating in the workshop is to allocate specific tasks to each group member.
Such tasks might include recorder, time keeper, reporter etc. The organizer should arrange to ensure that all groups get a chance to report to the entire workshop. The organizer should also indicate that they value receiving the ideas and thoughts of the attendees.