Role of L&D in Employee Engagement
The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage over a period of time is an organisation’s workforce, the people who make a company. In pursuit of competitive edge where employees are the key differentiator, well engaged employees is a key success parameter. Organizations today understand that employee engagement and motivation matter more than ever and are vital for continued growth.
The employee engagement approach has to be designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being.
Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and no master model for successful employee engagement there are four common themes that emerge.
· Providing a strong Strategy – Visible, empowering leadership, providing a strong narrative about the organization, where it’s come from and where it’s going.
· Employee Voice – for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally
· High Integrity – the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviors. There is no ‘say –do’ gap.
· Focus on People – Engaging managers who treat their people as individuals and coache them. Human Resource Development is key.
Learning and development therefore is a very critical element to this. If employees are to remain engaged the organizations today must continue to invest in them individually and keep the employees skill set in line with the organization’s goals. The right training and development can greatly enhance employee engagement by nurturing talent and helping people learn new things and improve their performance.
Also, investing in employees generates a certain amount of loyalty from them in ways that include commitment to quality work and commitment to both internal and external customers, which are two indicators of the business’ ability to remain relevant.
In organizations where training is considered a luxury item, employees rarely see the value and will resist having to participate in training sessions. On the other hand, organizations that consider themselves ‘learning organizations’ have employees who have come to expect an investment in their development. These employees also expect to repay that investment by helping the business continue to grow and increase its position in the market. Thus, when training is viewed as a strategic and necessary investment, it is a win-win!
.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 favorably 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. 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 organization supports them to be the best that they can be.
Developing people really is key to having an engaged workforce and achieving business success.