At Dashe, we’re always focusing on new, creative ways to engage and educate employees. One of the most important characteristics of an employee education program is its ability to engage employees, as engagement is almost always directly correlated with learning outcomes. In fact, in 2021 employee engagement in the United States dropped for the first time in nearly a decade. With average employee engagement already shockingly low across U.S. organizations (hovering right around 36% of employees being actively engaged in their workplace), it is critical that businesses work to implement learning and development programs to supercharge their employees.
Regardless of where employees are in your organization, from management to entry level positions, it is important that they feel well-supported. With the emergence of digital work environments, employers must do more than they previously had to support learners and keep them attentive. Where the office setting brought casual interactions and accountability as the norm, muted microphones and cameras seemingly locked in the “off” position are becoming the new normal, and employers are responsible for bridging that gap. Effectively utilizing learning and development can help both employees and employers bring a renewed sense of energy and engagement into the workplace.
Something we write about often at Dashe is the importance of creating development tools and resources that are learner centric. Often, employers create L&D programs that are in theory effective but fail to consider the individual wants and needs of their target audience. It goes without saying that programs like these are significantly less effective than they could be, and often do more harm than good. In fact, rushing to create an ineffective learning program can do more to alienate employees than to help them develop their skillset. Given this, we recommend focusing on providing user centric learning tools.
Creating User Centric Learning Resources
Modern learners are much different than they were even five years ago. Employees demand flexibility and agility, and one of the easiest ways to supercharge their engagement is by creating programs that tailor to their schedules and productivity types. That is, using an approach that focuses on the people, not the project, can be very beneficial.
In learning and development, tailoring your workplace to your employees can be done in a few distinct ways. For example, creating resources and training opportunities that are available across devices and accessible at any time can allow employees to be more flexible in their work. Furthermore, consider updating and refreshing outdated training content and learning programs to bolster engagement in an increasingly online world. Finally, work with learners to understand how they learn best, and create future training programs based off that feedback. No one expects their employers to know exactly what they want if they never ask, so focus on bringing learners into the development process.
Establishing Consistent, Effective L&D Communication
Another great way to supercharge employee engagement and productivity is to keep information surrounding L&D consistent and constant. As with any business department, the more informed employees are the better; for L&D, this is twofold. On one hand keeping employees aware of learning and development opportunities will help develop a strong learning culture. On the other hand, working to create and rollout more L&D programs will create better positioning for your employees and will ultimately lead to better business outcomes.
Creating an Enjoyable Team Environment
As mentioned above, teamwork and collaboration have changed since the emergence of virtual and remote work. Employees are interacting less and in different ways; where once there was room for casual conversation at the office, now a scheduled video conference is often the only “face to face” time coworkers get. Learning and development professionals have been working hard to develop solutions to bridge these novel gaps in social interaction—there are many routes you can take to create an enjoyable team environment in remote work. First, focus on setting aside time for non-work interaction. This can be as simple as dedicated personal sharing time at a weekly staff meeting. Also consider developing and implementing programs that offer interaction through development; there are various L&D modes that prioritize social learning, a strategy that can supercharge engagement.
Establish and Reiterate Core Values and Goals
Employees perform best when they have clear, actionable goals. Organizational culture, including vision, mission, and values is a critical piece of ensuring employees are engaged with and inspired in their work. Consider this quote from Lisa Earle Mcleod, an executive advisor for large companies such as LinkedIn and Salesforce:
“The millennials are telling us what we already know in our hearts to be true. People want to make money; they also want to make a difference. Successful leaders put purpose before profit, and they wind up with teams who drive revenue through the roof.”
Employers cannot expect their employees to be motivated and engaged if they do not have a clear sense of the direction of their business. Reiterating core values can help employees understand their place in your company, which is a critical piece of helping them stay motivated. Many organizations are opting to implement learning and development programs that educate their employees on company history, motivations, and broad goals.
As your organization continues to move through 2022, it is necessary that you continue to work on concrete ways to help employees stay engaged and excited. Take pride in getting employees involved in their engagement and strive to be an organization that draws in the top talent not just with high salaries and good benefits, but with a sense of purpose and belonging. If you’re looking to supercharge your employees, consider the variety of benefits custom learning and development programs can provide.