The importance of employee engagement as a factor to build and maintain an efficient workforce cannot be overstated.
There are a remarkable number of reasons why employee engagement is paramount, including higher productivity, improved business output, job satisfaction, and enhanced revenue. Studies have shown that a highly engaged workforce is 21% more effective than a disengaged one, yet only 36% of employees in the modern workforce are engaged.
The issue of disengaged employees is even more glaring with the rise of remote work considering there is lesser accountability on how employees are choosing to utilize their time. Now is when organizations have to take employee engagement even more seriously by understanding how to measure, enhance, and sustain it.
This is where L&D teams step in. L&D teams play a key role in employee engagement by ensuring that employees feel valued, are learning actively, and are able to achieve the career goals they aspire for. Employee engagement should be at the core of every L&D strategy because although employees value learning and development opportunities, they also need to feel invested in this learning.
Here are a few ways in which you can make employee engagement the central focus of your L&D strategy:
- Assess the L&D Needs of Your Workforce
Before you begin working on your L&D strategy, you need to identify the training needs of your employees and their skill gaps. Once that is done, you will have to evaluate the performance of all your teams and then define your L&D goals based on this data. This is one way to effectively measure the success of your program, in turn, ensuring that employees are engaged in the training and development strategies that are created for them.
- Avoid ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Training
One way of combating disengagement is by providing employees with great online learning experiences that are personalized to their needs. Just as the requirements of employees are different, the training solution for them should also be unique instead of a common training program in place. After all, what may work for someone in Sales may not necessarily work for someone in Accounting or Operations. Your training programs must cater to employees based on their needs and should be such that they can take it anytime, anywhere, increasing their chances of assimilating more information and applying it in their jobs.
- Focus on Right-Sized Learning
A good learning and development strategy is not just about offering information, it is also about devising learning opportunities that are right-sized. This means offering content that will correctly fit into the time that employees have allocated for learning in their already choc-a-block schedules. It is likely that learners may prefer watching a three-minute video related to a topic that’s important to them, and then prefer spending the rest of the time they have allocated to learning, reflecting on what they’ve just watched. Factors like this have to be taken into consideration.
- Encourage Peer Interaction
In this remote work environment, employees already have a lot on their platter to stress them out. One way for them to wind down and yet acquire knowledge is peer interaction. You can encourage your learners to interact with their peers using internal channels where they can share notes, seek advice, brainstorm ideas, and inspire each other. Even though learners are all learning in a remote setting, it does not mean they have to learn alone.
- Ensure Self-Directed Learning
L&D strategies work when employees feel empowered and not burdened by them. Self-directed learning can offer major benefits to bolster employee engagement. Since it gives learners control over their own development, it enables improved outcomes as employees feel more autonomous and less tied down. Self-directed learning also allows learners to pursue things they are most interested in by offering better relevance in terms of learning content. Besides, it provides employees the flexibility they need to fit corporate learning into their busy lives.
While there’s a lot that’s often spoken about employee engagement, the topic is such that the more it’s discussed, the better organizations will be able to build an empowering learning culture. Moreover, given that the work culture we knew from the pre-Covid times is unlikely to return anytime soon, it is all the more imperative for L&D to focus on a robust employee engagement strategy for a thriving workforce that aligns itself with organizational goals.