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“In a time of drastic change – it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer, American social writer

Improve employee engagement, impact performance

You may be hearing strange rumors of people landing jobs with titles like culture manager, employee engagement specialist and organizational effectiveness manager. Who are these people, and what are they doing to the workplace?  Where are companies getting the money to throw around for these ‘good-vibe’ curators, and most importantly, why are organizations making such investments?

According to Gallup’s 2014, The State of the American Workplace Report, disengagement amongst American employees nicks the bottom line of U.S. companies to the tune of more than $450 billion each year.

*record needle scratch*…..hold on, stop the music – how is this even possible?

Employee engagement directly impacts key performance indicators like: absenteeism, turnover rates, safety incidents, customer service, productivity, and profitability.

I took a look at how Gallup measures performance indicators like productivity and profitability. I found that a big part of how employee engagement measures up to these key performance indicators involved the employees’ opportunities and abilities to develop their strengths through learning and development.

Employee engagement elements

The Gallup workplace report concludes that there are three essential components that can help improve employee engagement and an organization’s productivity and profitability:

  • Select the Right People
  • Develop Employees’ Strengths
  • Enhance Employees’ Well-being

Employee development is a key element in keeping employees engaged. So how does Gallup measure these components of engagement?

Gallup collects data from employee polls and rates individual agreement levels from crafted statements. The survey is known as the Q12 survey. It is widely recognized as one of the top employee engagement measurement tools worldwide, and has been administered to more than 25 million employees, in 195 countries and 70 languages.

Employees rate their agreement with 12 statements provided by Gallup. Of these 12 statements, 25 percent of them centered around continuous learning and development:

  • This year I had opportunities to learn and grow at work
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development
  • I have the materials, resources and equipment I need to do my work right

Companies that focus on building employee strengths rather than trying to improve weaknesses may see improvement in the key performance indicators Gallup measures.

“Great work is done by people who constantly pay attention to new thinking, who are versed in the classics of their field, and who share that knowledge with those around them,” says Safari CEO Andrew Savikas. “Great workplaces invest in giving their people the opportunities for continuous learning, career development and personal growth, and promote a culture of sharing that knowledge.”

Employees that know how to seek and apply knowledge and information, help feed innovation and growth – and will be known as the driving catalyst behind organizational growth.

Employers that provide their workforce with the right learning tools for strength development may notice improved employee performance results.

So, what does this mean for you? Nurture personal growth by providing support for your curious cultivators of innovation – and keep disengagement at bay.

Related: In Lifelong Learning: Beware of Plateaus

improve employee engagement

Apply: Improve employee engagement with daily learning

The plan to increase employee engagement can be complex. Your strategy implementation must: incorporate leadership philosophy, provide accountability and performance measurement, practice strategic communications, and deliver training and development programs.

“The clear pattern of highly engaged employees is that they learn constantly. They never graduate, and they don’t want to,” according to Timothy Clark’s, The Employee Engagement Mindset.  “They want to keep the enthusiasm and passion. They want to retain the childlike qualities of curiosity and passion.”

Get your employees to form self-directed learning habits as soon as possible. The great differentiator of successful organizations, in years to come, will be a company’s overall culture of adaptation and the ability of its teams, business units and individuals to learn and grow in an iterative, agile fashion.

Related: Getting Teams to Learn Daily

“Though all six drivers of high engagement are vital, number four, the learning driver in particular needs to be at full throttle. It is the key to your opportunities for growth and your ability to create value in the organization,” Clark continues.

In Chapter 11 of the Lean Enterprise, Joanne Molesky, Barry O’Reilly and Jez Humble distinguish that strategies to build a culture of innovation will fail if the chosen and applied strategies are ineffective at changing the behavioral patterns of learning.

The authors of Lean Enterprise continue to establish the following argument: For organizational leaders to succeed in creating a culture of innovation and growth, they must take a viewpoint that, “It’s more important to consider their [employees’] ability to acquire new skills, instead of taking a ‘bank account’ view that focuses on people’s existing capabilities.”

In a culture of innovation, knowing how to acquire knowledge can be more valuable than knowing or holding a repository of knowledge. There is a rising trend in the increased valuation of self-directed learning.

Related: Daily Learning Fuels Innovation

Mobile technologies, recommendations-based data algorithms built into content delivery platforms, and on-demand accessibility to learning resources are the major players in facilitating self-directed learning habits that will fuel innovation for organizations of the future.

Take Training Zone’s 2015 learning trend – “learning as a lifestyle” into your own hands by nurturing learning initiatives within your organization. For a list of Safari resources that can help you wrap your head around employee engagement, strategies for implementation and measuring results, click here.

Tags: business, continuous learning, employee engagement, Learning and Development, Lifelong learning, self-development, self-directed learning, training,

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