Employee engagement is a critical consideration for businesses of all sizes. Regardless of your industry or niche, if your employees are not engaged, they will be less happy, less productive, deliver lower rates of customer satisfaction, and even stay with your firm for shorter periods.
Employee Engagement by the Numbers
To truly understand the importance of employee engagement within your business, let’s take a look at some important numbers:
- According to Dale Carnegie, companies with engaged employees outperform their competitors by over 200%.
- Increasing employee engagement by just 10% can generate $2,400 more in profits per employee per year, according to the Workplace Research Foundation.
- Gallup tells us that higher engagement rates increase employee retention, productivity, and even customer engagement. Plus, they boost profitability by up to 21%.
This leaves us with a big question – how do you ensure employee engagement? Many options can help you achieve that goal. Most employees report feeling more engaged when they have better compensation, greater recognition for their accomplishments, having access to the tools they need to do their jobs, and having a good work-life balance.
However, learning and development are also critical tools here, helping ensure that your team is as engaged as possible. How, though? Below, we’ll explore some of the more critical tips to help ensure that you can improve engagement through L&D.
Tips for Using L&D to Bolster Employee Engagement
So, given its importance, how do you ensure that your team is engaged? What role can learning and development play here?
1. Understand Its Importance
First, make sure that you understand the importance of L&D to your team. It’s about more than just ensuring you comply with legal or industry mandates about ongoing learning or continuing education. Most careers today require continuous learning to grow and evolve as both a professional and an individual.
Employees denied the training required to do that will automatically disengage because companies that fail to provide L&D opportunities show they are not committed to helping their employees succeed. When properly implemented, L&D can transform your business into a hub of personal and professional development, boost employee engagement, and future-proof your firm.
2. Realize Technology Matters
Once upon a time, L&D required pen and paper, notebooks, and textbooks. That time is long gone. Today, technology is the fulcrum on which learning and development balances.
Without the right technology, your team cannot learn and grow. In-person lectures are giving way to digital conclaves. Paper tests and quizzes are transforming into online games.
Boring learning material is evolving into engaging, enjoyable, even exciting experiences. Technology is the key to these outcomes. If you’re still mired in the past, you won’t be able to provide the right L&D experience, and you’ll fail to enhance engagement.
3. Keep Tabs on Progress
Another important tip is to ensure that you’re able to track your employees’ progress through the various L&D modules they complete. It sounds pretty simple, but without the right learning management system in place, it quickly becomes impossible. Failing to track progress could mean your employees repeating modules and basically treading water, going nowhere.
That immediately leads to disengagement and undoes any good that your training and development might have done in the first place. A solid learning management system (LMS) provides granular tracking capabilities so it’s always possible to see exactly where every employee is within their training. It can also empower your employees to manage their progress, which can further engage them by giving them a sense of control. They can take breaks, skip back to modules they may want to revisit, and more, all without losing their position.
4. Create a Culture of Learning
Learning and development can only do so much if your company’s culture does not recognize its value. If L&D is denigrated by team leaders and managers, or it is glossed over by those in positions of leadership, you can expect employees to follow suit. Not only does that limit the value of learning and development in the first place, but it creates disengagement within your team. To avoid this, create a culture of learning, where the value of ongoing L&D is not just recognized, but celebrated. It can be argued that without this type of culture in place, no amount of technology will help you improve employee engagement.
5. Align Individual and Corporate Goals
You want your teams to hit key targets and achieve specific performance metrics. Your employees want to grow their capabilities and talents, become more valuable to your organization, and be recognized for their efforts. Learning and development allows you to align those corporate and individual goals. By providing resources through a learning management system, you give your employees the means to set performance and development goals based on feedback from performance reviews, check-ins, and discussions. Provide your team with support that goes beyond technology – they also need the time to work on achieving those goals.
6. Incentive Learning
Humans work better when there is something to work toward. We need some sort of incentive to give something our all. An incentive plan tied into your learning and development strategy would reward top performers in tangible ways that encourage them to achieve even greater heights but also spur others on to achieve top-performer status themselves. Incentives should be things that anyone can achieve, that have value to your employees, and that make the effort required to improve themselves “worth it”. Sure, compensation is always welcome, but don’t overlook less obvious options, such as additional paid vacation, trips, gifts, or even just being recognized in front of their peers.
In the end, engagement is vital for organizational success. Without it, you’ll constantly fall short of your goals. However, ensuring that your employees are engaged can be more challenging than many assume. Learning and development can be the key to success here. When combined with the tips above, a solid learning management system, and a culture of learning, L&D can create immense engagement, ultimately supporting your ability to reach key goals and continue pushing forward.