This feature is part of a series focused exclusively on employee engagement. To view other posts in the series, check out the spotlight page.
What makes an organization exceptional? According to most HR practitioners, it’s when the level of employee engagement is at its highest. Employees who are ‘plugged in’ to the corporate culture and are actively engaged in the successful pursuit of organizational goals are often those who are compelled to keep learning.
In a day and age when talent is in the drivers’ seat, appealing to top candidates means offering them opportunities to grow in their career through an environment that supports lifelong learning.
The state of employee engagement
Over the last few years, companies have made a concerted effort to try to bring up employee engagement levels, due to concerns that millennials and others were leaving in droves. We’ve all heard the statistics:
- 26% of employees globally are actively disengaged in their work, according to a Gallup Poll survey.
- It’s estimated that lost engagement costs American companies $450 billion to $550 billion per year.
- A Glassdoor report advised that 49% of employees rates their company as a good place to work.
- 87% of organizations mention culture and engagement as their top business challenges, and 50% call the problem "very important," based on the Deloitte report Global Human Capital Trends 2015.
It’s clear that organizations have their work cut out for them as they take concerted steps to improve the employee engagement levels that impact the bottom line. The good news is that this is an effort that will produce a solid return on investment, including attracting better candidates who can lead the way towards a better future for companies.
Employee engagement pays off for all
It’s not just about hiring and retaining the best people. An organization that’s focused on engagement through learning is a winning proposition for all.
"Research reveals that engaged employees are more productive and loyal to the company they work for. When engagement is combined with a continuous training and development strategy embedded in the organization's corporate culture, employees flourish,” says David Godden, VP of marketing for Thymometrics, an always-on employee engagement solution.
How learning impacts employee engagement
A workforce that has the required skills and expertise to be innovative tends to be the most engaged in any organization. Therefore, it’s critical for companies to communicate and foster learning at every level in order to achieve long term business success. This is especially true as many industries continue to face competition to attract the best possible employees who will become the next generation’s leaders.
When learning becomes a core value in the organization, employees feel 100% supported as they bravely face new challenges, technology, and concepts. They understand that the company is invested in their success, and the company is then ‘paid back’ through better performance, productivity, and loyalty. Employees who are supported in a learning environment can reach for their full potential and have a safety net.
They then become much more engaged in the corporate goals as they see their contribution as a part of achieving those goals. Learning employees who are engaged have a better sense of the value they have to the company and to the industry as a whole.
Increasing employee engagement with learning best practices
To make any organization exceptional, managers and front line supervisors should be armed with a set of best practices that increase employee engagement and support learning. At the same time, they need tools to measure employee engagement in real time so that immediate results can be determined.
Some possible learning and employee engagement best practices could include:
- Ongoing coaching with each employee to determine the best type of learning delivery that motivates and produces results.
- A variety of learning opportunities available from day-one on the job, including self-service learning modules, classroom sessions, and conference participation.
- The use of pulse surveys to measure employee engagement and satisfaction levels immediately following a new training session.
- Periodic reviews of new learning programs with beta testing groups made up of employees and front line managers.
- Performance reviews conducted when employees have completed a learning milestone, with promotions issued to reward and recognize.
It is recommended that all managers promote learning by participating and leading others through the process, too. Placing great value on knowledge and expertise can encourage more employees to participate in their own learning efforts, which helps to connect them deeper to the organization.