October 1, 2014

Employee Engagement: Impact of Learning and Development

An engaged workforce who possess the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise is crucial for any organization who wants to achieve high levels of business success. In our current challenging and competitive business environment, learning and development has never been more important as a means to keep employees engaged and maintain that competitive advantage.

training

Good employee engagement training focuses on teaching the skills which are needed to do this effectively.

During an economic downturn, it is tempting to slash or even remove training budgets. However, this is a short term view which will inevitably produce dire long term consequences. Thriving organizations rely on their people to perform consistently well.  This can only be achieved if they are feeling engaged and motivated.

Nuture Talent, Help People Learn And Improve

The right training and development can greatly enhance employee engagement by nurturing talent and helping people to learn new things and improve their performance. Most people want to feel that they are doing a good job and that they are valued by their organization for the part they play.

In addition, few people like to remain static in a work environment and prefer to have variety in their work and see development potential in their role.

Learning and development provides a way to address all of these human needs and greatly improves employee engagement. Companies who invest in their people through training and development are also viewed more favourably by employees than those in organizations who don’t.

However, if training and development is to make a significant impact on  employee engagement, employees must see the benefits to themselves of undertaking training activities. This is where many good intentions fall short.

Show The Benefits

Organizations who are keen to demonstrate their commitment to their people can sometimes get carried away with the “sheep dip” approach to training – leaving some people confused about the rationale behind attending it.

In order to harness the positive effects of training, employees have to see the link between where they are now and where they want to get to and how training is going to bridge this gap.

It sounds obvious but without this being made explicit, organizations run the risk of training and development being viewed as a chore instead of a reward.

The answer is to link training and development to specific objectives and the only way to make this work effectively is for managers to have one-on-one conversations with their people about the purpose of training and what’s in it for them. Asking people what they think they need and setting specific learning objectives is crucial at this stage.

Done efficiently, learning and development will then provide the means to motivate and engage employees like never before.  People will feel valued for their contribution and they will understand that the organisation supports them to be the best that they can be.

Developing people really is key to having an engaged workforce and achieving business success.

Training Photo via Shutterstock

8 Comments ▼

Dale Kirke


Dale Kirke Dale Kirke works as a learning and development specialist at Thales Training and Consultancy focused on growing leadership skills development, building great teams and encouraging high performance. Dale has designed and delivered a range of learning and development solutions specialising in the areas of leadership and management, people and performance management, interpersonal skills and team development.

8 Reactions

  1. Great Article. Employees who experience a high level of enthusiasm for and involvement with their job and the company, commit to achieving organization goals through a better understanding of the business context and enhanced level of trust in leadership. Their thinking shifts from being disinterested in the well being of the enterprise to believing that management is making the right decisions for the organization and its employees – that employees have a role in the impact of those decisions, thereby increasing the level to which they feel valued and appreciated. – Carla Anne Ernst

  2. I find the points in your article very interesting. I recently heard of a company that was highlighted in the news for having a “Life Coach” to help employees identify skills and training to help them achieve their goals in the workplace. Interesting to note that this same company was rated as one of the best companies to work for in 2011.

  3. I work for TribeHR, and we’ve written a great deal about employee engagement on our blog. There are many ways to engage employees and keep them motivated, but few are as important as creating a sense of personal progress in individuals working within the organization. Employees don’t just value organizational stability and an income that pays the bills. They also need direction and a firm grasp on whether or not they actually fit in the organization and are doing a good job.

    If you would like to read one of our favorite blog posts on employee engagement, check it out here: http://blog.tribehr.com/bid/123920/Create-a-Sense-of-Personal-Progress-to-Engage-Employees

  4. I agree that personal development is a great way to grow a company and it’s good to see companies that are now giving employees a personal education / development fund to use for anything that could be related to their current or future position within the company. It also shows employees that you actually care about their career and value them.

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