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Is Engagement The Key to Effective Training?

12 April 2023

Engaging Learners to Enhance Engagement

 According to Gallup, which identifies employee engagement as ‘the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace’, the UK has the lowest level of employee engagement across the globe, at just 11% (compared to 20% globally). Rates of engagement in the UK have been in decline for a number of years, but this is an all-time low. The question, however, is does this matter?

Well, yes – a lot. An engaged workforce is more productive. According to a Dale Carnegie study, companies with engaged employees outperform those with lower engagement levels by up to 202%. Further, employees who are engaged in the workplace are 87% less likely to quit a job than those who are not (Wellable). The challenges in the UK’s hiring market with a persistent skills shortage, and beset by competition, retaining staff is a higher priority now than ever before. Finally, engaged staff will act as advocates of their employer’s organisation, speaking highly of the employer brand and boosting its reputation, both in the market generally and amongst potential recruits more specifically.

So, if we accept that employee engagement is a workplace imperative, we need to turn our minds to strategies we can employ to improve it. According to Achievers, an employee experience platform, 26% of employees feel that being undervalued and underappreciated is the highest barrier to engagement. Similarly, a study by BlessingWhite found that a lack of growth opportunities is the most common reason employees leave their jobs. With this in mind, could the solution to low levels of employee engagement lie in demonstrating how highly staff are valued by increasing the availability of development opportunities within the workplace?

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. For example, companies rated highly on employee training can expect to see a 53% lower rate of attrition (Linkedin). 73% of employees say they would have stayed with an employer longer if there were more skill-building opportunities available to them (Linkedin). However, there’s a caveat. While making learning a priority and increasing the number of training and skill-building opportunities your staff can access will help demonstrate how highly you value them and their personal and career development, if your staff don’t actually engage with those opportunities, your efforts will be in vain. An L&D programme is only as valuable as the engagement it garners from the staff who participate in it.

 

So, how does an employer make learning opportunities truly engaging?

Firstly, it’s important to recognise that each and every individual will learn in a different way.  An effective method of determining which learning style will prove particularly engaging is psychometric testing, which pinpoints a person’s personality type and provides tips on how  to get the best from them. Once you’ve determined what learning style will work best, the next is to make the material relevant.  

Relevant doesn’t, however, mean only providing training opportunities that will enhance an employee’s performance in their day-to-day work. Instead, it’s about ensuring it’s useful, practical and helpful to an individual employee, whether in their current role or for their future career. According to the 2022 Workplace Learning Report, employees’ top three motivations to learn are all connected to their own careers, namely ‘if it helps me stay up to date in my field’, ‘if it is personalised specifically for my interests and career goals’ and ‘if it helps me get another job internally, be promoted or get closer to reaching my career goals’. So, look beyond skills-gap analysis and try to understand what your staff would really benefit from, on a personal, rather than merely role-related, level.

In this regard, it helps to give employees autonomy over their learning, rather than forcing them to participate in rigid company-wide training programmes. Encouraging staff to take an independent approach ensures they take ownership over their learning and, in turn, engage with it more deeply and genuinely. According to LogicEarth, workers who ‘own’ their learning journey are 74% more likely to know where they want to go in their career development and 48% more likely to have found purpose in their work which can contribute to higher levels of motivation where learning is concerned and higher levels of performance more generally. Get your staff to document their approach in a personal development plan and regularly review it with them to ensure they remain motivated, engaged and accountable.

It’s also vital to take a broad approach to the routes to learning you provide. Traditional methods, such as academic courses and online training platforms are great, but so too are more personalised and creative options including mentoring, coaching, shadowing, job-swaps and peer-to-peer learning. Taking a more tailored approach will ensure an individual employee gets real benefit from the learning approach adopted which, in turn, will make them more likely to engage with it and seek out similar opportunities in future.

In addition, it’s important to treat training and development as a significant part of an employee’s work. Deloitte reports that employees typically have only 1% of their working week to focus on training and development. If this is the reality, then talking the talk won’t cut the mustard. Employees won’t engage with learning if they’re having to squeeze it into an already packed schedule. They won’t be able to justify making it a priority over and above the day-job, so it’ll get pushed further and further down the pecking order or, worse, it’ll become a burden rather than a benefit. To avoid this, make sure your employees have dedicated time available for learning each week, month or year and that your managers and leaders promote the importance of this activity and their support of those who participate in it.

It’s also sensible to recognise an employee’s achievement in completing a particular training course. Only by doing this will employees believe spending time on learning is good for their position within your business, as well as their potential for the future. Recognition can take many forms. Perhaps you’ll provide direct, positive feedback to the employees or maybe you’ll highlight their accomplishments company-wide, to help inspire other employees to embark on their own learning process. Alternatively, you might consider rewarding staff who complete a course of learning, whether via tangible means, such as the award of a pay rise or, less tangibly, through increased responsibilities.

Finally, think about the communication that surrounds learning within your organisation. Regularly seek open, honest feedback from your staff to establish what’s working and what’s not in connection with your L&D programme. You can roll out surveys or dedicate a portion of one-to-ones to reflect on training. You can then offer more of what works to bolster engagement on an ongoing basis. Equally, consider setting up a space for employees to discuss learning amongst themselves. You could establish an online platform where learners can share information about their activities, ask questions and provide updates and recommendations. Not only will this ensure you’re getting good data about your approach to learning and that your staff have a support network they can access in connection with their own training, it will also demonstrate how intrinsic learning is to your company culture and how much significance staff are encouraged to attach to their own learning.

Taking the approach recommended above ensures staff become stakeholders in their own learning which, in turn, will ensure they’re more engaged and the training itself is more effective. Given what we know about the benefits of successful workplace training and skills-development opportunities, that’s something that’s definitely worth investigating.

 

Engaging Learners to Enhance Engagement

 According to Gallup, which identifies employee engagement as ‘the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace’, the UK has the lowest level of employee engagement across the globe, at just 11% (compared to 20% globally). Rates of engagement in the UK have been in decline for a number of years, but this is an all-time low. The question, however, is does this matter?

Well, yes – a lot. An engaged workforce is more productive. According to a Dale Carnegie study, companies with engaged employees outperform those with lower engagement levels by up to 202%. Further, employees who are engaged in the workplace are 87% less likely to quit a job than those who are not (Wellable). The challenges in the UK’s hiring market with a persistent skills shortage, and beset by competition, retaining staff is a higher priority now than ever before. Finally, engaged staff will act as advocates of their employer’s organisation, speaking highly of the employer brand and boosting its reputation, both in the market generally and amongst potential recruits more specifically.

So, if we accept that employee engagement is a workplace imperative, we need to turn our minds to strategies we can employ to improve it. According to Achievers, an employee experience platform, 26% of employees feel that being undervalued and underappreciated is the highest barrier to engagement. Similarly, a study by BlessingWhite found that a lack of growth opportunities is the most common reason employees leave their jobs. With this in mind, could the solution to low levels of employee engagement lie in demonstrating how highly staff are valued by increasing the availability of development opportunities within the workplace?

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. For example, companies rated highly on employee training can expect to see a 53% lower rate of attrition (Linkedin). 73% of employees say they would have stayed with an employer longer if there were more skill-building opportunities available to them (Linkedin). However, there’s a caveat. While making learning a priority and increasing the number of training and skill-building opportunities your staff can access will help demonstrate how highly you value them and their personal and career development, if your staff don’t actually engage with those opportunities, your efforts will be in vain. An L&D programme is only as valuable as the engagement it garners from the staff who participate in it.

 

So, how does an employer make learning opportunities truly engaging?

Firstly, it’s important to make learning relevant, as generic provision will almost certainly lead to disengagement. Relevant doesn’t, however, mean only providing training opportunities that will enhance an employee’s performance in their day-to-day work. Instead, it’s about ensuring it’s useful, practical and helpful to an individual employee, whether in their current role or for their future career. According to the 2022 Workplace Learning Report, employees’ top three motivations to learn are all connected to their own careers, namely ‘if it helps me stay up to date in my field’, ‘if it is personalised specifically for my interests and career goals’ and ‘if it helps me get another job internally, be promoted or get closer to reaching my career goals’. So, look beyond skills-gap analysis and try to understand what your staff would really benefit from, on a personal, rather than merely role-related, level.

In this regard, it helps to give employees autonomy over their learning, rather than forcing them to participate in rigid company-wide training programmes. Encouraging staff to take an independent approach ensures they take ownership over their learning and, in turn, engage with it more deeply and genuinely. According to LogicEarth, workers who ‘own’ their learning journey are 74% more likely to know where they want to go in their career development and 48% more likely to have found purpose in their work which can contribute to higher levels of motivation where learning is concerned and higher levels of performance more generally. Get your staff to document their approach in a personal development plan and regularly review it with them to ensure they remain motivated, engaged and accountable.

It’s also vital to take a broad approach to the routes to learning you provide. Traditional methods, such as academic courses and online training platforms are great, but so too are more personalised and creative options including mentoring, coaching, shadowing, job-swaps and peer-to-peer learning. Taking a more tailored approach will ensure an individual employee gets real benefit from the learning approach adopted which, in turn, will make them more likely to engage with it and seek out similar opportunities in future.

In addition, it’s important to treat training and development as a significant part of an employee’s work. Deloitte reports that employees typically have only 1% of their working week to focus on training and development. If this is the reality, then talking the talk won’t cut the mustard. Employees won’t engage with learning if they’re having to squeeze it into an already packed schedule. They won’t be able to justify making it a priority over and above the day-job, so it’ll get pushed further and further down the pecking order or, worse, it’ll become a burden rather than a benefit. To avoid this, make sure your employees have dedicated time available for learning each week, month or year and that your managers and leaders promote the importance of this activity and their support of those who participate in it.

It’s also sensible to recognise an employee’s achievement in completing a particular training course. Only by doing this will employees believe spending time on learning is good for their position within your business, as well as their potential for the future. Recognition can take many forms. Perhaps you’ll provide direct, positive feedback to the employees or maybe you’ll highlight their accomplishments company-wide, to help inspire other employees to embark on their own learning process. Alternatively, you might consider rewarding staff who complete a course of learning, whether via tangible means, such as the award of a pay rise or, less tangibly, through increased responsibilities.

Finally, think about the communication that surrounds learning within your organisation. Regularly seek open, honest feedback from your staff to establish what’s working and what’s not in connection with your L&D programme. You can roll out surveys or dedicate a portion of one-to-ones to reflect on training. You can then offer more of what works to bolster engagement on an ongoing basis. Equally, consider setting up a space for employees to discuss learning amongst themselves. You could establish an online platform where learners can share information about their activities, ask questions and provide updates and recommendations. Not only will this ensure you’re getting good data about your approach to learning and that your staff have a support network they can access in connection with their own training, it will also demonstrate how intrinsic learning is to your company culture and how much significance staff are encouraged to attach to their own learning.

Taking the approach recommended above ensures staff become stakeholders in their own learning which, in turn, will ensure they’re more engaged and the training itself is more effective. Given what we know about the benefits of successful workplace training and skills-development opportunities, that’s something that’s definitely worth investigating.

 

Engaging Learners to Enhance Engagement

 According to Gallup, which identifies employee engagement as ‘the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace’, the UK has the lowest level of employee engagement across the globe, at just 11% (compared to 20% globally). Rates of engagement in the UK have been in decline for a number of years, but this is an all-time low. The question, however, is does this matter?

Well, yes – a lot. An engaged workforce is more productive. According to a Dale Carnegie study, companies with engaged employees outperform those with lower engagement levels by up to 202%. Further, employees who are engaged in the workplace are 87% less likely to quit a job than those who are not (Wellable). The challenges in the UK’s hiring market with a persistent skills shortage, and beset by competition, retaining staff is a higher priority now than ever before. Finally, engaged staff will act as advocates of their employer’s organisation, speaking highly of the employer brand and boosting its reputation, both in the market generally and amongst potential recruits more specifically.

So, if we accept that employee engagement is a workplace imperative, we need to turn our minds to strategies we can employ to improve it. According to Achievers, an employee experience platform, 26% of employees feel that being undervalued and underappreciated is the highest barrier to engagement. Similarly, a study by BlessingWhite found that a lack of growth opportunities is the most common reason employees leave their jobs. With this in mind, could the solution to low levels of employee engagement lie in demonstrating how highly staff are valued by increasing the availability of development opportunities within the workplace?

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. For example, companies rated highly on employee training can expect to see a 53% lower rate of attrition (Linkedin). 73% of employees say they would have stayed with an employer longer if there were more skill-building opportunities available to them (Linkedin). However, there’s a caveat. While making learning a priority and increasing the number of training and skill-building opportunities your staff can access will help demonstrate how highly you value them and their personal and career development, if your staff don’t actually engage with those opportunities, your efforts will be in vain. An L&D programme is only as valuable as the engagement it garners from the staff who participate in it.

 

So, how does an employer make learning opportunities truly engaging?

Firstly, it’s important to make learning relevant, as generic provision will almost certainly lead to disengagement. Relevant doesn’t, however, mean only providing training opportunities that will enhance an employee’s performance in their day-to-day work. Instead, it’s about ensuring it’s useful, practical and helpful to an individual employee, whether in their current role or for their future career. According to the 2022 Workplace Learning Report, employees’ top three motivations to learn are all connected to their own careers, namely ‘if it helps me stay up to date in my field’, ‘if it is personalised specifically for my interests and career goals’ and ‘if it helps me get another job internally, be promoted or get closer to reaching my career goals’. So, look beyond skills-gap analysis and try to understand what your staff would really benefit from, on a personal, rather than merely role-related, level.

In this regard, it helps to give employees autonomy over their learning, rather than forcing them to participate in rigid company-wide training programmes. Encouraging staff to take an independent approach ensures they take ownership over their learning and, in turn, engage with it more deeply and genuinely. According to LogicEarth, workers who ‘own’ their learning journey are 74% more likely to know where they want to go in their career development and 48% more likely to have found purpose in their work which can contribute to higher levels of motivation where learning is concerned and higher levels of performance more generally. Get your staff to document their approach in a personal development plan and regularly review it with them to ensure they remain motivated, engaged and accountable.

It’s also vital to take a broad approach to the routes to learning you provide. Traditional methods, such as academic courses and online training platforms are great, but so too are more personalised and creative options including mentoring, coaching, shadowing, job-swaps and peer-to-peer learning. Taking a more tailored approach will ensure an individual employee gets real benefit from the learning approach adopted which, in turn, will make them more likely to engage with it and seek out similar opportunities in future.

In addition, it’s important to treat training and development as a significant part of an employee’s work. Deloitte reports that employees typically have only 1% of their working week to focus on training and development. If this is the reality, then talking the talk won’t cut the mustard. Employees won’t engage with learning if they’re having to squeeze it into an already packed schedule. They won’t be able to justify making it a priority over and above the day-job, so it’ll get pushed further and further down the pecking order or, worse, it’ll become a burden rather than a benefit. To avoid this, make sure your employees have dedicated time available for learning each week, month or year and that your managers and leaders promote the importance of this activity and their support of those who participate in it.

It’s also sensible to recognise an employee’s achievement in completing a particular training course. Only by doing this will employees believe spending time on learning is good for their position within your business, as well as their potential for the future. Recognition can take many forms. Perhaps you’ll provide direct, positive feedback to the employees or maybe you’ll highlight their accomplishments company-wide, to help inspire other employees to embark on their own learning process. Alternatively, you might consider rewarding staff who complete a course of learning, whether via tangible means, such as the award of a pay rise or, less tangibly, through increased responsibilities.

Finally, think about the communication that surrounds learning within your organisation. Regularly seek open, honest feedback from your staff to establish what’s working and what’s not in connection with your L&D programme. You can roll out surveys or dedicate a portion of one-to-ones to reflect on training. You can then offer more of what works to bolster engagement on an ongoing basis. Equally, consider setting up a space for employees to discuss learning amongst themselves. You could establish an online platform where learners can share information about their activities, ask questions and provide updates and recommendations. Not only will this ensure you’re getting good data about your approach to learning and that your staff have a support network they can access in connection with their own training, it will also demonstrate how intrinsic learning is to your company culture and how much significance staff are encouraged to attach to their own learning.

Taking the approach recommended above ensures staff become stakeholders in their own learning which, in turn, will ensure they’re more engaged and the training itself is more effective. Given what we know about the benefits of successful workplace training and skills-development opportunities, that’s something that’s definitely worth investigating.

 

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