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learning and development L&D

5 Ways to Engage Employees Through Learning and Development (L&D)

Keeping employees engaged is a serious business! Did you know 87 percent of millennials said development is important in a job and 40 percent of employees who receive poor training and limited opportunities for development will leave their job within five years? Any Learning and Development (L&D) strategy that fails to capture the hearts and minds of its participants represents a missed opportunity to nurture talent and build for the future.

Research findings from Find Courses’ 2018 Report sheds new insight into the current state of L&D. The report revealed that top performing companies were five times more likely to implement engaging L&D programs, and almost half (42%) of L&D professionals who indicated their employees were highly engaged in learning were also highly engaged overall at the organization.

Find Courses' 2018 Report Satisfaction

Given these new findings, we’ve compiled our list of top five ways to engage employees through L&D.

  1. Recognize the Importance of L&D

Employment is evolving! It’s no secret that innovative technology and generational expectations are redefining the relationship between work and learning. With a dynamic and ambitious millennial generation set to make up half of the U.S workforce by 2020, the demand for ‘flexible, open career models’ is on the rise, and two trends are beginning to emerge:

  • The modern career has become a continuous learning journey rather than the product of one.
  • There is a growing need for workplaces to become hubs of personal development.

Despite the inevitable impact of these trends, many companies still overlook L&D’s ability as a booster of employee engagement. Now is the perfect time to meet new demands and begin embracing L&D as a future-proof model for company growth, employee retention and maybe most importantly, keeping a new cohort of young, ambitious personnel engaged!

  1. Generate Company-Wide Influence

Unite and engage your workforce by making L&D a shared endeavour. It is apparent that across-the-board engagement in learning leads to higher levels of employee engagement overall, with research revealing that 90% of companies with strong learning cultures have senior executives actively engaged in L&D initiatives.

Find Courses' 2018 Report Management

When team leaders, managers and senior executives champion employee learning, a ripple effect is generated that helps those on the frontline feel value in their personal development and more engaged in their wider company role. Promoting inclusive workplace learning through skill-sharing initiatives like a ‘learning at work’ week, for example, will help to bridge gaps between departments and reinforce an engaging, company-wide culture of learning.

  1. Avoid the ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Solution

No single employee is the same, and your L&D strategy should strive to reflect this. Everybody has their own unique set of career expectations and goals, and when it comes to workplace learning, certain individuals will respond best to a structured, theoretical approach, while others may achieve better results from a more interactive format. To maximize engagement, implement a balanced blend of training options to appeal to the diverse needs of your staff.

Offering personalized training and the freedom to choose between different learning formats (e-learning, in-house, simulation learning to name a few), puts power in the hands of the learner and allows them to play to their own strengths. Keeping all bases covered can be a time-consuming and potentially more costly approach, but you and your employees will reap the benefits of doing so!

  1. Embrace Technology

While professional training may typically conjure up images of bored employees listening to lectures from uninspiring tutors, it doesn’t have to be this way. Learning technology can help make training an accessible and enjoyable experience.

We now live in an age where the Internet, social media, smartphones and tablets are intrinsically linked to both our working and daily lives. It therefore comes as no surprise that many employees can feel disenchanted by their company’s L&D strategy when it fails to mirror the tech-savvy environment they are accustomed to.

Today we have a broad range of options at our disposal. Social media, e-learning, gamification techniques, and even virtual reality can be utilized in a way that makes professional training fun and engaging.

Find Courses' 2018 Report Culture of Learning

With research from Find Courses’ Report indicating that companies with strong learning cultures are also avid users of learning technology, it is apparent that engaging staff through L&D also requires companies to utilize a blend of technology that is well suited to each employee’s skillset and ambitions.

  1. Track Progress

Although a simple concept in theory, the tracking of progress during training is a highly valuable and often ignored tool for optimizing productivity and keeping employees engaged in both their learning and wider career roles.

Once again, turning to tech can smoothen out the process, and incorporating a LMS (Learning Management System) grants all relevant parties a higher level of authority over learning objectives and progress. Employees have the freedom to take breaks when needed, they can oversee how much of a task they have left to complete, and most importantly, they are able to analyze results to identify strengths and areas for improvement in the future.

The increased transparency offered by an LMS also enables HR to monitor progress in a non-invasive manner, and senior staff can be kept in the loop with the benefit of knowing that their teams can receive regular contact and support. The outcomes of training programs can also be extrapolated in aid of improving future L&D strategy and rewarding top performers.

Make Learning Count

Incentivizing achievement by rewarding top performers is a great way of increasing  employee motivation and encouraging career progression. A reward trip, gift, or a simple show of recognition in the presence of colleagues helps boost an employee’s self-worth and reinforce the feeling that they are valued by their company.

According to Kim Edwards, Talent and Leadership Development Manager at Getty Images, an engaging company is “one which puts the employee at the center of everything”. Companies must begin finding new ways of making staff feel they are central pillars of company success, and L&D offers the model for growth and recognition that makes this possible. Engage your workforce through L&D and begin reaching company goals in synchrony with the development of your employees today!

Learn about the current state of the professional training industry and get more useful advice on engaging your workforce with Find Courses’ 2018 Report.

Don’t suffer the price of neglecting your workforce. Discover the true cost of disengagement by accessing Achievers’ white paper.

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About the Author
Oli GarnerOli Garner is a writer and digital content editor at findcourses.com, North America’s most popular search engine for professional training. He aims to create and share engaging content for individuals and organizations across a variety of industries, with an end goal of guiding them towards the best professional training option for their needs. Now located in Stockholm, Oli was born and raised in the UK and graduated from the University of Kent in 2015.

 

 

 

call center employee

7 Ways to Keep Call Center Employees Engaged

Your call center employees are very often the first employees your customers interact with. They are problem solvers, and they are the keys to driving innovation, knowledge, and revenue throughout your organization.

Call center employees also spend a lot of time talking to customers who are less than happy. The rigors of this work can lead to increased employee frustration and disengagement. A disengaged workforce can cripple your contact center’s ability to provide quality customer service and will ultimately raise recruiting and staffing costs which will impact your bottom line.

According to Gallup, only 30% of the current American workforce say they’re engaged and inspired at work. The other 70% of workers identify as “disengaged” and fall into two categories:

  • Those who do the bare minimum: show up, do their work, then go home (50%)
  • Those who are actively seeding discontent (20%)

The employees who fall into the disengaged category are at risk of fleeing your contact center and bringing others with them. Both disengagement and turnover have been historically difficult issues to tackle within contact centers.

Contact Babel’s 2017 study on U.S. contact centers Source: ContactBabel

According to Contact Babel’s 2017 study on U.S. contact centers, employee turnover at call centers is the highest it’s been since the recession — currently at 30%. Rates can reach as high as 70% at contact centers who outsource call center employees. Remember, a healthy turnover rate is about 10%.

How can you inspire engagement at your organization? Check out seven ways to keep call center employees engaged.

1. Recognize Employees

Appreciation is a fundamental human need, but it’s one largely ignored in the workplace. According to Gallup polls, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days. The same study shows that employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

Recognition in the workplace confirms your employee’s presence —and work —is valued by others. As a result, recognition keeps your employees motivated and engaged, which elevates productivity.

2. Listen to Your Team

A great way to gather employee feedback is through pulse surveys. Surveys drill down on how your employees feel about their working situation and your organization. For example, pulse survey allow you to ask more granular questions about what you could be doing better, or how you can support your team more.

With surveys, you’re able to analyze employee feedback and then implement changes that show your team you are listening to them. Change connected to feedback is a great way to keep valuable call center employees engaged and happy in the workplace. It’s never too late to start leveraging employee surveys and feedback tools to gauge employee engagement levels, and take immediate action to address any disengagement right away.

3. Shorten ASA times

One of the major themes at the 2018 Contact Center Week (CCW) Executive Exchange was the importance of decreasing the average speed of answer (ASA) times at contact centers. Shortening ASA improves both the quality of customer service as well as your call center employees’ overall perception of their job.

Callers stuck in waiting queues for long periods of time may be irritated, annoyed, or emotional when their call is finally answered. These emotions are naturally pushed to the agent who answers the call. The more stress your employees absorb, the more likely they are to become disengaged from work— a high volume of stressful calls is taxing on your staff. Further, Michael Tremblay of Air Canada claims 85% of contact at call centers is considered “bad contact,” according to his discourse at CCW.

Taking steps to decrease ASA times can help soften the tone of a call, which ultimately protects your employees from excessive stress, and improves the atmosphere of their job.

4. Focus on Long-Term Hires

Employees who churn after 90 days or less from their hire date are a common problem in the contact center industry. When a contact center is plagued by 90-day turnover issues, it automatically decreases the average agent competency in an organization. With so many ‘learners’ on staff, it is difficult to provide quality customer service. Agents who have more on-the-job experience have more skills to complete their jobs better.

Specifically, tenured employees are more likely to have higher first call resolution rates (FCR). Favorable FCRs create a better experience for the customer and decrease the volume of follow-up calls that burden your workforce.

A staff with more positive than negative experiences is a happy staff. And, happy employees will stay with your organization longer.

5. Zero in on Staffing Balance

If attrition is high at your organization, you may be placing massive stress on call center employees who remain loyal to your team. These staffing gaps can quickly run down employees who are weighed down by additional responsibilities.

Understaffed contact centers also run the risk of inflating their ASAs and FCRs. At CCW, one contact center executive was asked, “What can you do to bring your ASA down to one minute?”  The response was simple enough, “Get five more people on board.”

Overbooking or spreading your employees too thin leads to resentment, increasing both attrition and absence rates, which is often a telltale sign of disengagement. The average absence rate at contact centers is currently 9.1%. If you notice an uptick in absenteeism, it’s time to act quickly to re-engage your staff.

6. Address Financial Wellness

The financial wellness hierarchy of needs suggests all humans need the following to be true to feel financially secure:

  • Control over finances
  • Capacity to absorb an unexpected shock
  • Savings and planning for the future
  • Ability to make a discretionary purchase

Personal finance issues can cause distractions that create disengagement from the workplace. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, one-third of all employees are distracted by personal financial issues while at work. Nearly 50% of employees with financial stress spend three hours or more each week handling personal finances at work. From a revenue standpoint, this distraction can cost employers $7,000 per employee, per year or about 20 hours of lost productivity each month, per employee.

Many organizations recognize the issues financial stress can cause, and have begun to unroll wellness programs which provide multiple benefits to workers and the corporation alike.

7. Offer Unique Advantages

The current job market is the employee’s market. Thanks to a record low unemployment rate and a plethora of job openings, your employees are always looking for the next best thing. And while monthly bonuses and incentives are a useful strategy for attracting talent, they aren’t always the key to continuous engagement. Find unique benefits that your staff will continue to find useful over their time with your company — something that differentiates you from the crowd.

A growing trend, perpetuated by major contact centers like DialAmerica and CaLLogix is on-demand pay. Offering on-demand payments means your employees have access to their earned but unpaid wages at the click of a button; no more waiting for their next paycheck. It is a great way to reward your employees for the work they’ve already done, and provide them with something valuable as a perk— their money, faster. Daily pay benefits are proven to reduce turnover and absenteeism while simultaneously boosting engagement.

By focusing on employee engagement, you can keep your employees from burning out and turning over. After all, the highest level of growth in an organization occurs when companies have highly engaged staff.

To learn more about how to engage your employees, check out Achievers’ e-book, “Engage or Die: How Companies that Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition.”

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Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Megan Wells HeadshotMegan Wells is a writer for DailyPay, a data journalist, and content strategist based in San Francisco, California. Wells’ work has appeared on Fox, Nasdaq, MSN, Motley Fool, and more. Wells also spoke at the 2015 Exceptional Women In Publishing conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Achievers CARES

Achievers CARES: Going Above and Beyond with Employee Volunteer Opportunities

It’s easy to come to work, put your head down and focus on your tasks at hand. I am young and I care so much more about what the impact of my work means, not just that things get done.

At Achievers, we understand that work is so much more than getting things done. The company’s motto is to Change the way the world works, and we truly believe that. I am amazed every day by the efforts everyone puts in, and by the many opportunities available to me to impact my community. I have been fortunate to volunteer a bunch this year, with numerous opportunities provided to me through Achievers CARES, our volunteer-led, staff charitable group – who help people like me get involved.

One of the main perks of volunteers with Achievers CARES is that you develop deeper relationships with your co-workers, many of whom you would not normally cross paths with as much.

I volunteer because we are permitted four volunteer days each year, and my manager is extremely understanding in providing me the time off. I’m lucky to be encouraged to do more than just my job, and I’ve been able to meet some really great colleagues and friends through the experiences I’ve had. Volunteering has helped me professionally, as it’s an added avenue for relationship-building that otherwise wouldn’t come up as much. It’s amazing to experience some of the great things happening in our local community, and it feels good to give my time. It is through my volunteering experiences that I’ve cultivated friendships and learned more about our business through the perspective of the people I am volunteering with.

When I was graduating university, I never imagined working at a company that offers so many opportunities. I always encourage new graduates to find a place that allows them to do the things they love, and that advice applies to experienced professionals as well. I am proud when people look up to me and ask my opinion about the work I do – it’s a great feeling! Knowing that our business cares about employee values gives me a sense of pride in my workplace and makes me that much more grateful to support initiatives that truly do Change the way the world works. Some of the events I’ve enjoyed the most this year are:

  1. CN Tower Climb for WWF: This one was tough, but great exercise as we collectively climbed the CN Tower as a team. I had never climbed to the top of the tower before, and it was great relief to get to the top! It didn’t feel like a lot of work, even though we raised a a large amount of money and woke up early to climb to the top of the tower.
  2. Kids Learning Code Camp: I participated this summer, and it was amazing to see campers, High School volunteers, University summer employees all come together with full-time employees to help deliver a meaningful experience for the kids at the camp. We helped teach kids about how to develop and market a business; and the kids were so young! They were smart and motivated, and I was proud when people asked for my opinion as we moved through the content.
  3. Blood Drive with Canadian Blood Services: I think everyone should give blood, and I’m grateful that Achievers CARES organizes this for us. I don’t think I would be as willing to organize this on my own. Since they make it easy to get involved, I go every time and I truly feel like I am saving lives.
  4. Food Drive for Parkdale Community Foodbank: We have some fun department competition with this one. The goal is to bring in the most amount of food by department, and the winner gets a pizza party. The best part is, through friendly competition, we make a big impact in the local community that relies on these types of donations to survive – it’s incredible.

There is no doubt that Toronto has grown increasingly competitive for top talent, and I’m sure that companies know this. We are lucky to have an organization that cares about employees having a meaningful experience. Our Achievers CARES team dedicates so much of their time to ensuring that we have valuable opportunities in our local community, and I could not be more grateful. It is so easy for me to get involved and have fun too! This team really goes above and beyond to identify awesome opportunities and raise necessary funds for local charities. Thanks to their efforts, we raise thousands of dollars for local and international initiatives and get involved in our communities to make the world a better place.

If you are reading this and don’t currently have a clearly defined employee volunteering or fundraising plan, don’t wait and get started today! It’s never too late to show your employees that you care about what they care about and are willing to invest in your community.

Thank you to our amazing group of Achievers CARES volunteers who make our workplace a brighter place, and show they care about our local communities.

Learn more by viewing the Achievers CARES photo album.

Do you want to join the A-Team? Apply for one of our open positions here.

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About the Author
Jeremy KwokJeremy Kwok is a Software Engineer (Development) at Achievers.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Connected During Change

Staying Engaged During Corporate Change (Part 2)

Change is practically a given in today’s competitive work environment. But how is an individual employee supposed to thrive in an environment of constant uncertainty? To successfully navigate this near-constant change, research suggests that it’s critical to stay engaged.

In the first post of this 3-part series (click here if you missed it), I shared strategies from my book The Successful Struggle, that help you stay engaged and in tune with the purpose of corporate change.

In addition to connecting with the reasons behind the change, there are other things you can connect with that make corporate evolution easier to swallow. One of the most helpful? People. Connecting with colleagues helps us feel better emotionally when we’re facing change, and increases the likelihood that the outcome of the change will be successful.

In a study of employees in large-sized companies facing major changes, those who reported the highest levels of satisfaction after a change were also the most engaged employees. This makes sense on several levels. Actively engaged employees are more likely to be participating in the change or at minimum feel as if their voice is being heard. Engaged employees also reap the benefits of having relationships with colleagues they can lean on when transitioning becomes stressful or confusing.

In The Successful Struggle, I tell the story of David, whose role at work was changing because of a new strategic direction. David was off-balance because of the change, and worried he couldn’t deliver on his new goals. Because he didn’t want to be perceived as negative about the alteration to his role, he was reluctant to speak up in meetings. Withholding his thoughts in this setting became so innate to David that he pulled away from his colleagues during the work day, too.

David convinced himself that disconnecting from his colleagues was natural. He told himself that he was just putting his head down and focusing. It made sense to him that he would hunker down in his office, not emerging until he had a successful action plan completed. But pulling away from his colleagues was only making David more isolated. His ideas had been created in a vacuum, they lacked the fine-tuning they usually received when David shared his ideas with the group. As a result, David was not only miserable, but also less successful.

Employees who stay connected during change – to their peers, their managers, and even their personal social circle – navigate change in a much healthier way than those who pull away from others. Studies show that maintaining personal connections is a predictor of a well-handled change.

If you feel yourself pulling away from colleagues and friends during change, that’s a red flag. To connect with the people around you, try these three things:

  1. Speak Up – It can be intimidating to verbalize your concerns about change, because we’re often taught to wait and evaluate a situation before we speak. But if we don’t speak up and ask questions, we run the risk of not getting the information we need so that we CAN effectively evaluate a situation. What a Catch-22! But don’t let it silence you. Ask clarifying questions as needed, just try to do so in a constructive way. By asking questions with a positive slant, you are demonstrating that you are engaged as well as exhibiting a positive attitude about the change.
  2. Build a Work Support Network – If you’ve avoided having a work support network, change can be a great catalyst for creating one. Identify a mentor and at least one or two peers you can lean on for support. Be sure that your conversation topics don’t center on “venting,” which is an unhealthy dialogue style that keeps you feeling agitated and ignores problem-solving.
  3. Lean on Your Personal Support Network – You may not feel like talking about work problems outside of work. But having the support of your friends outside of work has been shown to be helpful. Even if you only spend a few minutes catching them up on the issue, you’ll feel like you have the moral support that will keep you going the rest of the work week; then you can lay those issues aside and go out and have a fun evening.

It’s natural to want to crawl into your cubicle and disconnect from the world when you’re facing the uncertainty of change, but you’ll be significantly more successful if you make it a priority to stay connected to your workplace and the people in it. When you stay engaged, ask questions, and lean on your support network, you’ll be surprised – and relieved! – to find how much easier it is to handle change.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my three-part series. And for those of you that need to catch up, you can find the first installment of my blog series here.

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About the Author
Courtney Clark speaks to organizations who want to adapt faster and achieve more by building a culture of Accelerated Resilience. She is the author of two books “The Giving Prescription,” and “The Successful Struggle,” a three-time cancer survivor, brain aneurysm survivor, keynote speaker, and founder of a nonprofit. www.CourtneyClark.com