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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.

 

 

 

Make Education a Priority

5 Data-Based Reasons to Make Employee Education a Priority

If you’re not offering employees education opportunities then you might want to reconsider. Today’s generation of workers have put employee education and development high on their list of the most-desired benefits that a company can offer.

Offering educational opportunities has a wide variety of benefits for both employees and companies, and gives a competitive advantage from a recruiting standpoint. The right educational offering just might be the deciding factor for candidates who are being sourced for similar jobs with matching salary packages.

And this doesn’t have to be expensive. While some companies can afford to help their employees’ take graduate courses, for example, others simply provide in-house employee education opportunities or give employees a chance to learn outside of work by attending relevant conferences, seminars and trainings.

It’s an expense none-the-less. But before you discard this idea, let the data speak for itself. Having the right data to back up your initiatives always makes it easier to get additional funding and leadership support. Check out these five data-based reasons why you should make employee education a priority in your business.

  1. Employees Want Special Training to Advance Their Careers

Of almost 4,300 workers, a massive 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work and, as a result, would value access to more development opportunities.

What type of incentives do employees want in our modern world? In addition to usual wants, like higher salaries and better work-life balance, employees are looking for special in-house training and skills development to help advance their careers.

By offering employees additional training opportunities, you’re investing in the advancement of their careers, while adding more value to your business. The more successful and capable your employees are, the better your business will be.

  1. Offering Employees Training and Development Increases Employee Retention

7 out of 10 people say that training and development opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company.

As a manager or HR professional, you’re well aware of the costs associated with employee turnover. As a reminder: it costs upwards of $4,129 to hire an employee, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) new Human Capital Benchmarking Report.

Offering employees external or internal training and development opportunities improves employee satisfaction, which in turn is likely to increase loyalty and decrease costly turnover.

  1. Employees Are Already Learning On Their Own Time

Respondents revealed that an average of seven hours per week of their own time is devoted to learning.

Did you realize your employees are already working hard to learn more and expand their skill set? While the survey cited above is specific to developers, most other employees are doing the same. A 2017 Udemy report found that 95 percent of millennials believe learning is key to their career success and are willing to spend their own time and money to do it.

By offering employee education instead, you help reduce personal costs for employees, which could outweigh salary issues or lack of other benefits, like health insurance or 401k options.

  1. Most HR Managers Don’t Think Their Training Is Good Enough

62% of HR managers believe that they are not doing a good job meeting the learner’s needs. 

Is your training program actually setting your employees up for success? Most employee training and development programs fall short of providing value. Investing in a comprehensive educational training program will not only help HR managers be more effective with this initiative, but set both HR departments and employees up for future success.

  1. Offering Educational Training and Development Increases Profits

Companies that offer comprehensive training programs experienced 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. 

If you want to make more money—and what business doesn’t—invest in employee training and education. While this can be costly, it’s a sound investment that surely pays off. To benchmark the costs, the same ADT report found that average cost per learning hour is $82; use this to determine what you can afford. If you see improvements in the business’s bottom line, invest more.

Find the Budget for Learning

There are many reasons why learning is critical to your employees and company as a whole, and these are some of the most important ones to consider. When you invest in employee education, the company improves and your employees are happier, which means you may experience less turnover and even see higher profits—a win-win for everyone.

Don’t lose top talent due to a lack of educational offerings. Find out why almost three-quarters of employees plan on finding a new job this year and how to make them stay in Achievers’ latest report: The Retention Epidemic.

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Get a quick glimpse of the report’s key findings in this infographic.

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Are you ready to boost employee engagement at your workplace? Learn about the future of employee engagement at Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

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

About the Author
Jessica ThiefelsJessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent the last two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 or connect on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

The Power Behind Engagement

Top Four Benefits of Employee Engagement

People are always complaining about their jobs; whether it’s a boss who drives you up the wall, work that bores you to tears or even the nagging suspicion that you’re being underpaid, each unhappy employee has their own reasons for dreading a Monday morning. But when all this unhappiness and discontent gets added up, it turns out it’s having a profound impact on economies everywhere: we’re in the midst of a global employee engagement crisis, with just 13% of employees worldwide engaged with their jobs.

So what exactly does this mean? An easy way to think about employee engagement is to look at your existing staff. Engaged staff are often your best performing employees – they’re efficient, motivated, understand their role and tackle it to the best of their ability. Naturally, we think all employees will be like that when we hire them – otherwise, why bother?

During job interviews, most candidates are very enthusiastic about the job on offer and if you hire them, it’s normally this enthused and engaged person that you actually want working for you. Yet if you find yourself looking at that same excited candidate a year into the job and seeing that they’re unmotivated, checked out and unhappy, it’s clear that they’ve become disengaged. If that’s the case with many of your employees, you might have a problem brewing.

employee engagement table

It doesn’t matter if your business is a tiny start-up or huge multinational corporation – disengaged staff can run it to the ground. As employee engagement drops off, business owners find that deadlines start getting missed, staff are constantly off sick and employees start leaving the business in droves. Work slows down to a crawl, leaving engaged staff to pick up the slack and heightening their stress levels (possibly leading to them hating their jobs too!)

Luckily, by focusing on employee engagement and happiness, you can revive even the most lifeless of workforces. Read on to find out about the top benefits of employee engagement, along with some tips on how to improve it throughout your business.

1. Cost-Savings

Disengaged staff are slowly draining the life out of your business. In the UK, employee disengagement is costing businesses around £340 billion every single year in lost productivity, while in the USA Gallup estimates this figure rises as high as $550 billion.

It’s easy to see how – if you’re paying someone to do a job and they’ve only put in half the effort necessary, they’ll still get paid even if you don’t get the results you need. As for very disengaged employees (often easily identified by their miserable and disruptive attitudes), you may as well be giving money away. Employee disengagement can easily decimate the return on investment on salaries.

On the other hand, engaged employees will improve your profitability and drive revenue. In fact, workforce opinion surveys show that highly engaged employees can boost business performance by 30%. This is because engaged employees are emotionally committed to their company, its values and its goals. They want the business to do well and will do their best to help it succeed. The hard numbers prove this too – companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.

Luckily, there are ways you can help to foster this sort of commitment. For instance, people who are bored to death at their jobs are unlikely to care about it much, whereas 78% of employees who say their companies encourage creativity and innovation are committed to their employer. It’s easy for businesses to get into a “this is how we’ve always done it” rut and resist change, but data like this shows that this attitude is detrimental to employee engagement. Instead, actively encourage employees to innovate and explore new ways to do things. They’ll enjoy their jobs more, be more committed and help to power your business forwards.

2. Lower Turnover

Did you know that whenever a staff member leaves, it can cost 33% of their salary to replace them? Hiring recruiters is expensive, but even if you look for someone independently you’re going to need to spend valuable time and money on advertising the position, and screening and interviewing candidates. And that’s not the end of the problem – it’s unlikely a new person will be as comfortable in the role as their predecessor – they’ll require training and time to acclimatize to their new job. In fact, a new employee can take up to 2 full years to reach the same level of productivity as an existing staff member. In the vast majority of circumstances, that’s going to mean some degree of lost productivity.

It’s clearly in a business’ best interests to retain as many of their staff as possible, but with widespread disengagement becoming more and more of a problem, employees are more likely to leave their jobs than ever before. A job for life has become a thing of the past. Estimates vary, but research suggests that as many as 51% of employees were looking to leave their jobs in 2017. And for those who are worried about employees being poached by recruiters and competitors, you might have reason to be paranoid – 81% of employees would consider leaving their current role for the right offer.

On the other hand, a marker of engaged staff is company loyalty. Highly engaged staff are 87% less likely to leave an organisation than less engaged staff. So if you want to reduce staff turnover, it’s worthwhile to take a look at exactly what’s ruining engagement and driving people to leave:

With this in mind, who you hire as a manager and the way you train them is absolutely vital for employee engagement. Audit your existing managers to ensure that they’re fit to lead, and be selective when hiring new ones. An effective manager prioritizes supporting their staff, leaving employees feeling far less disenchanted with their jobs. Furthermore, by implementing company-wide recognition programs, staff will feel more appreciated and motivated to work (rather than just motivated to find a new job).

3. More Productive Employees

As Albert Einstein once said, “The best creative work is never done when one is unhappy.” This remains true in the modern workplace, with overall productivity increasing by 20-25% when employees are engaged.

A big factor in reducing productivity and engagement is work overload and excessive stress. Some managers think that by setting more work and piling the pressure on, they’ll get better results. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at work, you probably know that the opposite is true:

It’s clear that stress is not an effective motivator. Instead, take a positive and constructive approach to each employee’s work to ensure that workloads are manageable. Implement effective and personalized feedback and communication structures that allow employees to raise any problems they’re having in a non-judgmental setting.

4. Happier Customers

Happy employees create happy and satisfied customers, and the numbers prove it: companies with a formalized employee engagement program enjoy 233% greater customer loyalty. It makes sense, really – if you’re unhappy at work, the last thing you want to do is have a chirpy, helpful conversation with a customer.

It’s worth noting that part of the reason for this is that engaged employees are often well-trained employees. Far too often, companies neglect thorough training programs in favor of ad-hoc and informal “on-the-job” style training.  This sort of training often delivers inconsistent results, with employees feeling they lack the skills and knowledge to perform their role properly: 28% of employees feel they’d be more productive with better training.

Meanwhile, employees who have received comprehensive training deliver superior customer service and achieve better results for their company. For salespeople, formal and dynamic coaching can improve their win rates by 28%. Furthermore, a lack of training frustrates employees and gives the impression there’s little room for development in their current role. Indeed, ongoing employee development programs beyond initial training periods are absolutely crucial; in a survey by CV Library, 31% of respondents cited a lack of development opportunities as the top reason for wanting to quit their job. If you want engaged employees, you need to invest in their future. After all, you stand to benefit too!

The Bottom Line: Employee Engagement is Worth the Investment

At the end of the day, your employees are more valuable and important to your business than any other asset. People spend a third of their lives at work, and it’s in your best interests to make sure they’re not miserable that entire time.

Management shouldn’t be about forcing as much work as possible out of employees at any cost. You want employees that are happy at work & want their company to succeed, rather than someone who’s looking for a quick exit because they’re unhappy.  By prioritizing employee engagement, you can enjoy all the above benefits: greater profits, lower turnover, more productive employees & happier customers…It really is a win-win situation!

To learn more about the importance of employee engagement, take a look at Achievers white paper The True Cost of Employee Disengagement.

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

About the Author
Becca Armstrong Becca Armstrong is a content writer for MadMax Adventures, a purpose build outdoor activity center near Edinburgh, Scotland. They run corporate away-days for businesses that want to improve organisational performance by developing more cohesive teams, rewarding high performance or building relationships with valued customers.

 

 

Navigate Your Culture Transformation

How to Navigate a Successful Culture Transformation Process (Part 2)

Are you ready to transform your company’s culture? In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the process for a successful culture transformation. In this blog, I’ll discuss key tips and reminders to help you through the process. Let’s start by understanding that although this is not a quick and easy process, it can be done.

Transformations Take Time

The transformation of habits and attitudes does not occur overnight, especially when employees have been allowed to operate in a certain way or in status quo for a long period of time. Employees will naturally resist change at first, so the first thing to remember during a transformation process is that you need time. The good news is that you usually have more time than you think. While poor customer feedback, slumping profits, or even a crisis can create an incredible sense of urgency that something must be done now, the more time you plan, prepare, and work with your managers, the more likely your culture transformation will be successful. You cannot just focus on the employee base to successfully transform the service culture of your organization. As discussed in Part 1, the key to successfully transforming your culture is to focus on your front-line managers, enabling and empowering them to drive and be responsible for the change process. You also need the change to be led from the top, so in effect, everyone in the organization plays a part.

It Is All About the Habits

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” —Aristotle

Strong work habits are the key to successful execution. To change and improve your corporate culture, you must identify the habits or behaviors that need to be removed and replaced.  It is important to explain why certain habits need to change, but more critical, is to know what new attitudes and behaviors must be introduced. While new habits can generally be introduced relatively easily and quickly, it is the removal of old or outdated habits and thinking that takes time. As economist John Maynard Keynes rightly suggests, “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.” To escape from old ideas, you cannot rely on training alone. You must take time to stimulate thinking and conversations that highlight why current habits and attitudes are hurting the business, brand, and interactions. At SGEi, we utilize a three-pronged approach of stimulation, training, and socialization to help remove old habits and introduce new ones.

Begin With Stimulation

Before you deliver any training on the new work habits you want to see, you must get people out of status quo and begin having conversations that promote thinking. We like to utilize various media like posters, quotes, videos, and business cases to help get the conversation started. It is not important that people are able to explain ideas or answer questions correctly, rather, it is necessary to focus on getting everyone in the organization talking and having conversations. This is the first part of the management team’s training, we take them through communication training and how to deliver effective messaging. Getting daily or weekly meetings started where managers are creating conversations is an important part of the stimulation process. As the stimulation process evolves, conversations around why certain habits are unhealthy or outdated are included.

employees in conference

The key to the stimulation process is to ensure you are providing the management team with the important sound bites you want them to repeat and talk about with their teams. In the previous blog, I talked about the importance of manager accountability. So to ensure stimulation is happening correctly, it is important to observe and listen in as the managers talk to their teams. Also, it is important that the managers begin demonstrating the desired behaviors and habits before the staff go through any training.

Deliver Great Learning Experiences

For training to be effective, it should occur after time has been spent talking about why change is required, why certain behaviors or attitudes are no longer effective, and what the expectations of performance look like moving forward. If done correctly, the employees should be asking for training and information regarding how they can improve in the future.

When it comes to training and development, keep in mind the following ideas:

  • Keep training sessions under two hours at a time and do not overload them with too much content.
  • Conduct the training with cross-discipline groups so that staff can get to know other staff outside of their immediate area.
  • Make the training fun and interactive so it is memorable. Remember, staff will not walk out of training ready to adopt new habits—that will occur with socialization—so consider training as just an interrupted opportunity to communicate.
  • Spread the training out so that participants have time between sessions to process and practice on information presented.

Deliver the Change You Want Through Heavy Socialization

Probably the most important part of this process is socialization. Once staff have gone through training, you need to reinforce key messages and communicate them repeatedly. Have a communication plan that continually shares information with your employees about the transformation process. All executives and managers must be involved in this, not just the Human Resource team or a few managers who speak very well. Communication is the most important leadership tool. Therefore, no manager can make the excuse that they are not good at it. An inability to communicate is an inability to lead, so this is an important test of the management team.

employee presenting

In addition to ensuring your managers are reinforcing the new habits in their daily and weekly communications, you should provide learning reinforcement of any classroom training with e-learning so staff can learn on their own in their own time. For some employees, learning on their own time is most effective. You also have to allow time for staff to practice. One of the best practices we have implemented on various projects is to schedule rehearsals for staff to attend each week. It is amazing how habit transformation is significantly enhanced by providing practice time to staff away from your customers. One hour per week for four weeks is a great opportunity to transform mindsets and behaviors. Ensure you have the managers lead these small group sessions (no more than twelve people), so they can practice explaining why the change is important and what is expected as well as practicing giving feedback. This best practice is a win-win for all.

The final critical element in habit transformation is to ensure your managers are providing clear, timely, and consistent feedback that provides insights into what the staff are doing well and what they can improve on. In Part 1, I explained how all managers must have a responsibility for the change process. The change process can only be successful when managers are reinforcing the training through continuous feedback and coaching.

Remember That You Are Building a Movement

We stress that in the early stages of transformation you must focus on those staff that are excited by and already embracing the change rather than those that resist. There will always be those that resist, and yet, so many times we spend all our energies trying to change them. The reality is they might not ever change. In the meantime, we fail to capture the hearts and minds of those that want change. To transform successfully, you must find and embrace those that are excited by the change. As they get on board, they will find and embrace others. Successful transformation is a numbers game—the more people you have supporting, excited by, and leading the change, the more likely you are to help everyone in the organization successfully change. Of course, there will be those few that resist, but many of them are smart enough to shift their perspective when they see such overwhelming support for the changes ahead.

Don’t Forget to Recognize a Lot

employees high fiving

Recognition is a key component of employee engagement. Remember that your managers need recognition too. Ensure you make a big deal about those managers, teams, or departments who are leading the way. I recommend enhancing your company’s employee recognition program during the critical parts of the transformation process, particularly when managers are communicating with their teams regarding the transformation and as front-line training begins. This provides positive reinforcement for those embracing the transformation process.

Cultural transformations are not easy, but they are necessary for continued success. By understanding the process and following these key tips, you will find yourself better prepared for this undertaking. Know that while the initial transformation process can be difficult, it is amazing once you get traction in a movement, start recognizing successes, and celebrating people’s change. You will quickly have your people tell you they wish you had done this a lot earlier.

“At first, people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, and then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done, then it is done, and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” —Frances Hodgson Burnett, English writer

To learn more about how to enhance your company culture through recognition, check out this eBook Recognition Culture: The MVP of Employee Experience.

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About the Author
Shane GreenA world-renowned keynote speaker, author of Culture Hacker, and television personality, Shane Green is a business magnate who consults global Fortune 500 leaders on customer experience and organizational culture. Shane draws upon his foundation at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and work in multiple industries to transform employee mindsets, habits, and skills to improve customer experiences and interactions. As the President & Founder of SGEi, Shane leads a team of professionals who inspire brands like the NBA, Westfield, Foot Locker, NetJets, Cisco Systems, and BMW to reprogram their employee experiences to create loyal customers and raving fans. Visit www.ShaneGreen.com to learn more.

About SGEi
At SGEi, we help executive teams develop a cultural transformation strategy and plan. We enable and coach your management team to own the continuous development of your company and people. And we design and deliver the training and communications necessary to shift mindsets and habits to meet the objectives of the company. Please connect@sgeinternational.com to learn more about how we can assist you with your transformation needs.