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How to increase employee engagement through training?

The biggest difference in today's workplace is the Death of Control. The employee you can control, you don't want to work for you! Control as a management approach doesn't work. Just ask a millennial. By the way, have you ever had much success trying to control everyone? It's so exhausting!

How to increase employee engagement through training

Most managers believe that there is no way to build employee engagement.

It is not for nothing that several surveys have consistently shown that two-thirds of all employees are “disengaged“. It’s because many leaders believe that control is always the solution! (And you wonder why they are so frustrated and overwhelmed.)

Employee disengagement leads to a range of problems, including voluntary turnover, low engagement rates, a bad customer experience, resentment, brand damage, difficulties with customers, sabotage, lawsuits, cyber-exhibitions, and others. Most importantly, it removes all “discretionary effort”, which severely hampers productivity, creativity, and business performance.

This is why businesses should implement employee engagement programs designed to recognize employees, explain company products and services, and define roles and clear objectives. These kinds of solutions can contribute to high engagement rates as employees feel empowered and recognized by their management.

First, here are the Key Success Factors:

  • Create a Talent Capacity Index and use it to validate direction and initiatives.
  • Align training initiatives and programs to address gaps in the implementation of the business strategy.
  • Create targeted competency development modules that nurture, foster, and grow core values.
  • Find knowledge transfer and mentoring opportunities between the older and younger generations.
  • Build capacity in the organization by identifying Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and those who want to become SMEs.
  • Utilize adult learning principles when creating e-learning, instructor-led or collaborative training programs.
  • Build a combination of e-learning, instructor-led, flip training, reflection guidelines, and targeted stretch assignments.
  • Create an in-house coaching and mentoring program,
  • Regularly gather feedback about how employees feel about and rate their contributions to business success.

13 tips to boost employee engagement through training

Companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by a staggering 147%, according to Blake Morgan. In addition, 79% of employees working at companies that give an above-average customer experience are highly engaged in their work, compared to 49% of employees working at companies giving an average or below-average customer experience.

Here are 13 tips to boost employee engagement through training.

 1. Give your employees a compelling reason to participate

Participating in a training session usually means that in the future, individuals must act differently in order to achieve what is expected of them. This often results in resistance to change, leading to lower productivity and personal frustration. Front-line employees often perceive “improvements” as a justification for staff positions, or believe that the organization organizes training just for the sake of it.

Overcome this motivational barrier by explaining the consequences of not adopting new methods or procedures. Create a psychological dilemma and convince users that current methods have limitations. Keep in mind that unless they are dissatisfied with current procedures, employees will not be motivated to change, thus defeating the purpose of new and better methods.

2. Make them see that training helps their career advancement

An employee who sees a clear path to professional development through training is more likely to be invested in that training. This may result in a higher salary or even a better position within the company. You’re offering a potential reward, and they’ll try to do what they have to do to get that reward. Beware of promises you can’t keep, because there’s nothing more demotivating than a broken promise.

3. Pre-training Engagement

Employees need a motivating factor if they are to undertake training. They would be reluctant to do so if they believe they would be wasting their time with irrelevant courses, or that the company does not care about their professional development. A recent global survey found that 66% of employees say that opportunities for career development are limited within their company. Taking an interest in employee career development is directly related to high employee engagement. Prior to training, commitment is essential, to ensure that its objectives are clear. This will help to stimulate future learners on future courses. Pre-commitment to training can be achieved through incentives, surveys, skills and knowledge assessments, and learning preference assessments. In this way, employers ensure that their staff are genuinely aware of the importance of training and ensure that objectives are clearly defined for both their personal development, and that of the organisation.

4. Training should be relevant to the role of the employee

To ensure high engagement rates, employers must ensure that they provide training that is appropriate to the roles of their staff. Offering a training program just for the sake of it may not result in a significant increase in productivity and efficiency. In this case, employees may not even complete their courses and may not apply what they have learned. To prevent this, employers should conduct an analysis to determine the skills that employees need. Ultimately, this will ensure the success of the business as a whole.

That is why the Procurement and Supply Chain Academy develops individual learning plans after a thorough buyer assessment and gap analysis. Based on the results of individual employee assessments or online assessments of large organizations, a gap analysis is developed for each buyer, which clearly identifies the competencies to be trained. This critical overview enables managers to determine whether employees have the skills needed to achieve the business objective and to launch a properly structured learning plan to address the gaps.

5. Integrate real-life work situations into training programs

Opting for a training program with high-quality visual content that reflects real life can be more engaging than other forms of e-learning. With this type of training, employees can actively apply what they have learned to their jobs. Studies show that 40% of people respond better to visual information than to text, and that they are 60,000 times faster at processing visual data than text.

Visual aids are essential to maintain employee motivation for training and to increase their commitment to work. John Sweller’s cognitive load theory is the most effective theory for learning and the brain. He argued that instructional designs can be used to reduce the total amount of mental effort used in the learners’ working memory. This allows the learning experience to be more effective. Based on this theory, the Procurement and Supply Chain Academy has developed an innovative e-learning method that allows the learner to experience real-life situations and encourages him or her to actively apply knowledge and practical skills.

6. Make it part of your company culture

One excellent way to get your employees to respond to training is to integrate it into your company culture. It’s not about offering training in a superficial way, or forcing your employees to take unwanted or unnecessary training; it’s about encouraging people to learn from each other, making learning a priority, not a luxury. Have a centralized knowledge base that is actively maintained and contains a variety of company knowledge, including training material, sales enablement, etc. Encourage discussions and the sharing of expertise. Make problem-solving and helping others a virtue in your business, not a taboo. Encourage questions, let people’s curiosity be expressed, and ask people to poke holes in ideas. For this to succeed, everyone must buy into it. It’s not a one-shot deal and you have to start at the top. By rewarding employees with recognition and rewards programs for the completion of training modules, you expand both programs and encourage greater employee engagement.

7. Overcome fear of failure

For many, learning new skills is an anxiety-provoking experience. The employee may fear that learning new skills will lead to additional responsibilities or greater accountability after training. The learning environment can also be intimidating, as individuals often assess their self-confidence not by achieving specific skills, but by how they appear to others. In an individual with self-doubt, psychological withdrawal can occur, especially in high-profile situations.

To counteract the fear of failure, help employees to understand that reducing skill gaps is a sign of strength that demonstrates a high degree of self-awareness and a willingness to improve. Instead of positioning training as a means of eliminating knowledge gaps, create a culture where skills development is synonymous with initiative, humility, commitment, and becoming a role model for others.

8. Proliferate formats

The progress of e-learning has been spectacular in recent years. With sources such as Lynda.com and others, there has never been a better time to offer your employees e-learning that allows them to develop without breaking the bank. Combine this with a BYOD (bring your own device) or home-based option, and you get a compelling mix of learning and flexibility that will appeal to many people. This doesn’t mean that you need not offer in-house, face-to-face training as well. There is still much to be gained from learning from each other, one-to-one or in a small classroom.

9. Personalize it

Usually, personalization is not the best idea, especially in the workplace. However, in matters of employee training, the more you personalize it, the more likely your employee is to respond well to it. The best way to do this is to keep the learner at the centre of the training. Pushing learning, especially learning programs that are uniquely varied, is a quick way to turn off your employees, and even has a negative effect on their work, wasting time and possibly making them feel worthless.

10. Provide flexibility

The flexibility of e-learning significantly reduces the amount of time employees spend outside their daily work. A study by Learndirect points out that 58% of working people feel “trapped” in their current role due to a lack of training. With e-learning, it is easier to access courses without disrupting employees’ work. This helps them to apply their knowledge directly in their daily activities, resulting in greater efficiency and job satisfaction. Staff are able to respond more quickly to business requests and improve customer satisfaction. The largest benchmarking study on learning technologies in the UK reveals that 77% of companies believe that learning technologies will help them respond more quickly to changing business conditions and develop talent.

11. Reward achievements

Recognition is a great source of motivation. After training, it is always a good idea to recognize staff achievements. This will make them feel motivated and ready to go the extra mile. This leads to better employee engagement within the organization. Employers will benefit from increased productivity and profitability because employees will feel that their efforts are appreciated. The certification offered at the end of the training will add value to the professional development of staff. Finally, it benefits both employer and staff, leading to a profitable business result.

12. Recognize experts when you have them

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to have an expert in-house. No matter what his or her area of expertise is, an expert is always a great asset to a company – when that expertise is used properly. There are many ways to use an expert’s knowledge within your company, but simply recognizing that someone is good at something and telling the rest of your company is a great way to start. They can organize a small discussion or a classroom-style meeting. They could present some of their knowledge to the people who are most interested and most in need of their expertise – the list goes on and on. No matter how your company uses this expert, simply recognizing this person will boost morale.

If your company is committed to providing incentives, consider modifying the program to equate the incentive to the demonstration of professional competence, not at the end of a program. Consider one-time or unexpected incentives that are motivating because they do not diminish the importance of the skills or reward an individual for completing the training as soon as possible.

13. Ask for a response

Sometimes asking your employees can lead to an impasse, due to circumstances, office policy, etc. Sometimes you have to step in and make a decision that is best for the company. Training can be like this. Sometimes you encounter an employee who knows his or her own strengths and weaknesses, and at other times you will need to step in and offer advice. Regardless of the type of employee, in matters of training and self-improvement, it’s always a good idea to ask them first. After all, it’s important that employees are engaged. For example, within the different coding classes, there are many ways to help employees retain their training knowledge, while benefiting the company. It doesn’t have to be arduous. A simple conversation about personal development goals will probably make you feel better and give you a clearer picture of how your employee perceives his or her development, while giving you key insights into what motivates them and what they consider important.

Let’s summarize

Engaged employees are clearly distinguished from their unengaged and actively disengaged counterparts by the discretionary effort they consistently bring to their role. These employees willingly do extra, work with passion, and feel a deep connection to their company. They are the drivers of innovation and will drive your business forward.  Organizations that respond to engagement needs, such as flexible, relevant and timely training, can gain a competitive edge through the quality of their workforce. Assume leadership responsibilities for the development of people, individually and collectively, starting with a strategic process that can be measured succinctly. This is the best chance to lead to a powerful employee engagement initiative with a superior return on investment.

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