Employee engagement is one of the main issues of nowadays corporate environment, with HR managers constantly looking for solutions to increase the levels of engagement and, further, the retention rates of the workforce.
Why? Because companies are centred around people who make them function and grow and, the other way around, employees are centred around companies who invest in their professional development.
Fulfilling each other needs and aiming at achieving common corporate goals is the key to survive in this constantly changing working environment, challenged by a series of technological and social changes. What's certain? That companies must keep up with the technological booms and accomplish some of the employees' needs in a virtual environment, organising efficient corporate training programs.
But let's start with some statistics and facts on the employee engagement to be sure we're on the same page.
Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability, according to Forbes. According to this, employee engagement is so much more than an abstract concept, it actually leads to concrete behaviours in the working environment. Moreover, as the article mentions, the most successful companies make employee engagement central to their business strategy.
An essential thing to keep in mind, right? Also, the well-being of a company is so much more than accomplishing corporate goals through corporate training programs, it is also linked with the actual working environment, which highly influences the efficiency of the company as a whole.
Engaged employees have the three essential Ps: passion, presence and purpose which are some key-values in the organisational culture. And they might be triggered by tools such as microlearning and gamification.
Moreover, according to Leigh Branham, 89% of bosses wrongly believe that employees quit because they want more money. This means that providing for the financial needs of your employees is important, but is not enough, and you must focus on a series of needs other than financials, such as professional development, healthy working environment, a clear corporate culture and opportunities to use and develop their strengths and abilities.
According to medium.com, a strong learning culture leads to 30-50% high retention rates in company. Moreover, employees who feel their voice is heard are 4,6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. (Forbes) And it leads to employee engagements, which is the desired goal.
This should be written on the walls of the companies, so that people never forget it. People in general, in any context, must feel that they are listened to, that they are treated like human beings with ideas and opinions. So, having engaged employees requires companies which actually know what this engagement means for their teams, a topic which will be further analysed in this article.
Employees who feel they get to use the best strengths and abilities at work are 15% less likely to quit their job, according to Gallup. Creating a working environment in which the employees' strengths and values are fully developed is beneficial both for them and for the company goals. And not only because this reduces the workforce turnover, but also because companies should invest in professional skills.
Now, to sum up what I've written so far, engaged employees are highly linked with a learning culture, a context in which they are encouraged to fully use their strengths and abilities and to make themselves heard in a stimulating working environment. So, learning is an essential feature to prevent disengagement in the workforce. But, here comes another issue: how do you increase employee engagement in these online corporate trainings?
First of all, talk to your teams, ask them what they need, professionally speaking, what corporate goals they want to achieve and what the obstacles that prevent them from doing this are. Employees are stressed about online training, especially when they perceive it as another task and they are forced to participate in it.
So, involve them in choosing a suitable learning approach, personalised to their learning style and needs. Ask them what they expect from an online training, what works best for them when it comes to knowledge retention, what their professional ambitions are.
If you offer them a context in which they could actually focus on their learning ambitions, they might see how they could fully benefit from corporate training, not only for the company needs, but also for their own goals. Let's say, for example, that they want to advance; this requires hard work, a series of new skills and experiential knowledge, applicable in the position they want to apply for. And they need to be properly trained in order to achieve these.
Another aspect which could improve the employee engagement levels during online corporate training is the usage of collaboration tools which creates a positive learning environment in which communication is fostered and and knowledge is also shared from one professional to another, not only from the trainer.
Coming to this, during the training approach, the company could organise webinars in which the role of the speakers can be taken by more experienced employees who can share their concrete working experience, challenges and solutions, insights with their colleagues, leading to employee engagement.
This creates a learning environment in which experience is valued and professional are encouraged to speak up. Also, collaboration leads to great benefits when it's complemented with positive competition, in which case gamification is a great tool. You can create badges and leaderboard to make your employees' struggles and progress valuable and to make them feel that they are on the right path.
Learning is important, employee engagement is essential. Focus on these two, value professionalism in the working environment and let them grow.
Some (final) thoughts
This article is part of a bigger topic called: