No. 8 of: 8 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement
“Learning opportunities are among the largest drivers of employee engagement and strong workplace culture – they are part of the entire employee value proposition, not merely a way to build skills”, according to Deloitte. And training and development opportunities featured as a key motivating factor for all age groups in Mazars External Employee Motivation Survey 2017.⁸
Providing learning and development opportunities to individuals show that you value them and are willing to invest in them as a person. Learning is an engagement tool in its own right.
Upskilling is a precursor to career advancement and salary growth, two other powerful components of long term engagement. And training & development can also of course be a driver for growth in a company and real competitive advantage, especially in terms of product or service quality.
Providing training on company specific skills and systems can make for “sticky” engagement, where an employee’s core competence and value is realised fully in your organisation, not any other.
In our own company, we launched the Allgo MBA - Making Better Allgo-ers (yes, it’s a cheesy title I admit!). The programme aims to ensure that learning and skill development is built into every employee’s working week. 2 hours per week is given to employees to schedule learning.
At Allgo, learning is organic and team-led. Some of the allocated MBA time is taken up with presentations from peers on aspects of their jobs which are both of interest and practical use in terms of skills transfer. Peer learning is in fact one of the most engaging forms of learning – both for the trainer and the trainees.
Some of the learning is self-managed research (webinars and white papers can really informative and cutting edge). The programme also includes one-on-one mentoring from senior managers, and online certified courses where appropriate. And of course, team learning, especial off-site, can not only be highly effective for intensive training, it can also have a really positive team building effect.
“You can't teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.” (Seymour Papert)
The amount of free learning & development out there is staggeringly high. We have found our technology platform providers all offer excellent (and mostly free) online self-service training not just for their own applications, but for the wider function they operate in). For example, Hubspot, Canva, Google Analytics offer fantastic marketing training. Xero offers video tutorials for our accounts and admin staff.
The key thing for us is that learning & development is systematically reported on. Each week in our “snapshot” meetings, every employee reports on what they did in the MBA programme the previous week, and what their topic for the coming week is.
And of course, learning & development is not a one-off, it’s an ongoing task. “The half-life of a learned skill is a mere five years. This means that much of what you learned 10 years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned 5 years ago is irrelevant.” (John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas, A New Culture of Learning).
Training & Development is not only key in maintaining an upward trajectory of quality and competitive advantage in any company, it is also highly engaging. As Henry Ford points out a hundred years ago - “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay”.
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