Employee engagement 101: Get them to love learning
(Image: In 2022 see global speaker Patrick Lencioni on building high performing teams)
To start, what’s a pesky employee problem for you right now? I'll bet it’s that worker who's "phoning it in." They're at their (home) desk and in the (Zoom) meeting but you suspect that's about the extent of their engagement. Gallup says 6 out of every 10 workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” If you've got a few, you'll go to bed wondering ‘What more can I do to engage my staff?’ So, here's a quick overview of what top business coaches and CEOs know about valuing your employees in a way that keeps them happy and giving their all.
First, what defines an engaged employee?
Employment studies show an employee who’s engaged is more than just “satisfied.”
· Engaged employees are passionate, committed and dedicated to their organisation.
· Engaged employees put in discretionary effort.
· Engaged employees are supportive of the organisation’s values and goals.
· Engaged employees are advocates for the company.
· Engaged employees feel the relationship with their organisation is two-way.
As well, an employee who’s engaged is less prone to stress and happier to have around.
Don't you love the sound of this employee? Hired!
Why is employee engagement important?
I bet you’ve got a can of WD-40 in your garage.
(Image: WD-40 - the pin-up company of employment engagement)
That little blue can’s not just good for oiling your rusty bike chain, it’s a success story of employee engagement.
Whitney Johnson in “Build an A-Team” shares that at WD-40:
· 93% of employees consider themselves to be engaged at work.
· 60% say they can satisfy their career objectives without ever leaving the company.
She adds that no-one's been able to unseat the sixties-era WD-40 from its top spot as the household “go-to” lubricant and 200 rival products have tried!
Employee retention is also sky high.
It's clear engaged employees:
- Stay with their company and thrive there (up to 59% less turnover - Gallup).
- Treat customers better and attract new ones (21% higher profitability - Gallup).
- Produce substantially better business outcomes (17% greater productivity - Gallup)
Employee learning is also easier to achieve when staff are engaged and open to new ideas.
How can employee engagement be improved?
How’d you like employees so engaged Deloitte comes knocking wanting your whole team?
Australian CEO Dean Robertson got that knock in 2018 after his company Mexia was named Microsoft Partner of the Year and a Top 10 great place to work.
His tips for engaging employees:
· Connect them to a purpose. Share day to day your vision about where the company is going and why.
· Ensure nobody feels like a second-class citizen. Every team member is important.
· Be immediately generous with your time and resources. Don’t scrimp on the quality of laptops (or staff drinks).
· Delegate and trust them. Let them have a go even if they may make mistakes.
· Be humble about your own skills and be honest and open about your mistakes.
· Listen first and seek first to understand.
· Seek advice and opinions from them.
· Publicly thank and congratulate them for good work at every opportunity.
“Never buy the basics drinks package for a team event.” – Award-winning CEO Dean Robertson
Role of L&D in employee engagement
Research published in HBR links lifelong learning to happiness. An employer who ignores training and learning also ignores 3 key benefits:
- Retention - 94% of employees say they'd stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning development (LinkedIn 2019 Workplace Learning Report)
- Performance - Study shows training and development is a significant motivator for employees.
- Engagement - Research shows significant effect on job satisfaction, organisational commitment, advocacy, pride, intention to stay, and overall employee engagement score.
Of all the employee engagement ideas that work, online L&D is one of the most effective, inexpensive, flexible, and time-effective forms of HR training.
How does employee engagement drive growth?
If I’m gunning to get to work and doing my best stuff when I’m there, my company wins.
If I’m an engaged worker:
· My sick days are at a bare minimum.
· I’m not looking for another job.
· I’m not stressed so I’m thinking critically and creatively.
· I’m not feeling unsafe at work, wasting time on self-preservation.
· I am singing the praises of my company to customers and friends.
· I am happier and I’m a positive influence on others in the team.
· I am keen for skills training so I’m increasing my human capital value.
Why training and development is important to keep employees happy
Ever had the Sunday Blues?
Patrick Lencioni, in his book The Truth about Employee Engagement says Sunday Blues describes those dread and depression feelings at the end of the weekend.
Given he admits to bouts of Sunday Blues himself before he became a global speaker, he makes his training and development events highly entertaining.
Here's what an engaged learner sounds like:
“For the first time in forever...... I didn’t check my emails on my phone because I was totally engaged with the content from Patrick.” writes Cheryl Stewart from Morlife about his event.
You can hear the happiness in her words. But Najam Ul Hassan of Nestle Professional really nails the connection between learning and happiness.
“The session was very informative, engaging and an opportunity to get away from the daily dance floor of our lives and think about yourself and organisation and what you can achieve as a team and a leader.”
Employee satisfaction comes from getting away from the dance floor chaos.
That's gotta be good for us all.
We all want to feel valued. When the pandemic hit, we felt this more keenly than ever. Remote work, reduced hours, and fewer fun catch-ups – it’s all a bit wobbly.
So, leaders need to work harder to ensure staff are clear about the direction of the organisation, and feeling safe, productive, and engaged.
I think you’ll agree, leaving it to chance in 2021 isn’t an option.
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