How Learning Can Increase Employee Engagement
Investing in learning measurement and development programs can help keep employees happy and working hard.
Engagement is a word that’s recently gained traction in describing all of the emotions and behaviors that show an employee is actively and happily working hard for their employer.
Engaged employees are an indication of an organization’s overall success; companies with highly engaged employees are typically the most successful, whereas companies with disengaged employees are typically lagging in their markets. In short, engagement matters.
Employee engagement indicators and metrics are a hot topic in HR departments, and companies are actively looking for ways to make connections between their investment in employees and employee engagement metrics. Learning can be a powerful tool in addressing several aspects of engagement.
By incorporating and measuring learning and development programs in your organization, you can:
Provide learning as an HR benefit
“My organization has a mission and culture that I believe in.”
Before an employee is even hired, and certainly after they are working for your organization, demonstrating a commitment to developing employees through learning opportunities is one way to send a clear signal that employees are valued. Relationships are a two-way street; if you want employees to engage with your organization, show that you’re investing in them.
Encourage social learning
“Help me build relationships with my colleagues.”
A question often asked to indicate employee engagement is: “Do you have a friend at work?” While some people naturally build relationships with coworkers, others may struggle to do so. Social learning activities are an opportunity to get colleagues interacting outside of their day-to-day responsibilities and can help foster friendships while increasing learning across your organization.
Enable mentoring and coaching
“I know someone at work cares about me.”
Another indicator of employee engagement is the feeling that there’s someone in your organization who cares about you as a person. Mentoring and coaching are ways of forming relationships, but more importantly, knowing that someone who’s already successful in your organization is invested in your development makes you feel valued.
Provide professional skill and leadership development
“My organization is investing in helping me grow in my career.”
Different employees look for different things in professional development. Some want to become expert practitioners or the subject matter experts in their field. Others are interested in moving into a management track. Organizations that provide both skill improvement and leadership development use learning to help propel employees along their desired development track, and that demonstrates a commitment to helping them grow professionally.
Offer personalized learning experiences
“Don’t waste my time with training that isn’t relevant to me.”
Employees never feel like they have enough time, and training is often seen as an additional burden, not an opportunity. Making sure content is at the right level and relevant to the needs of the employee ensures that they see the value and feel that their time is being respected.
Facilitate ubiquitous learning
“Let me learn whenever and wherever I want.”
Think bigger than mobile learning: employees want access to training and social learning experiences whenever, wherever they have the time or need. Providing learning experiences that can be consumed at the employee’s convenience tells them that you are sensitive to their needs.
Promote immersive learning
“Let me practice without risk of failure.”
A click-through e-learning module with voice-over may provide content, but employees also need practice. Immersive learning experiences – like storyline-driven games, simulations, or other opportunities to practice a skill or decision-making in context – will give employees that “a-ha!” moment and a reflective learning experience without risk of failure on the job.
While organizations continue to look for ways to improve and maintain employee engagement, learning can lead the way in creating a culture of development that attracts the best and brightest to your organization and keeps them there. Investing in the development of your most valuable resources, your employees, truly pays off in the success of your organization.