Engaged WorkforceLearning

Taking a Closer Look at Learning

A VP of HR shares four qualities of an engaging training program to increase retention.

By Jody Rummel

Most organizations offer some degree of on-the-job training or access to new technologies for employees. The quality of a company’s training program can have a direct impact on the level at which employees and contingent workers remain engaged and motived. Simply put, your organization’s training and development opportunities could mean the difference between workers that stay and the ones that leave. In this post-recession era where attracting and retaining staff is critical, companies should be evaluating whether their training programs work well to engage their workforce in order to steer them away from the competition.

A recent employment situation report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals job gains continue to exceed
the monthly average of 213,000, and the unemployment rate is at 5.9 percent, the lowest it has been since the end of the recession. This means more people are gaining employment or are successfully acquiring new job opportunities.

As the hiring outlook continues to improve, employees that were underemployed or underpaid during the recession may be exiting their current roles for higher paying jobs elsewhere. However, recent data shows that salary is generally not a top motivating factor for employees to move on to a new company. According to gamification and behavior management solution provider Badgeville’s 2013 employee recognition survey, 76 percent of employees cited opportunities for growth as one of the top reasons they would stay with an organization over financial motivators. Individual growth can be achieved through development and learning programs.

Organizations looking to modernize their training programs and re-engage their staff should consider these four best practices:

1. Take inventory. Organizations should routinely take inventory of the materials and delivery methods they use to facilitate training. Look for areas that can be improved or updated, and think of ways to make the process more efficient and engaging.

2. Evaluate versatility. Consider if the training program
is versatile enough to accommodate different learning styles, generational preferences, and varying workforce needs. Millennials may prefer a more interactive training experience, whereas baby boomers may be satisfied with binders and paperwork. Contractors may only want to have access to emerging technologies or products that are unique to your organization, while employees may desire ongoing training practices in a variety of areas.

3. Research new technologies. Different platforms can breathe new life into an organization’s training program. If a company is predominately using classroom-style seminars, new hires may be checking out before the onboarding process is even over. Advancements in technologies allow organizations to leverage video, social media networks, webinars, and mobile applications to engage staff members with just-in-time learning initiatives.

4. Recognize staff achievements. Keep track of
individuals who have taken advantage of ongoing training opportunities. Job productivity and loyalty are significantly improved when workers feel their efforts and accomplishments are appreciated and recognized.

In today’s candidate-driven job market, companies in several different industries have to take all the necessary steps to differentiate themselves from the competition, particularly by maintaining an engaging work environment. Discussing the unique aspects of your training program during the recruitment process, and demonstrating an ongoing commitment to helping employees improve their skills, could be just the thing to set your organization apart.

Jody Rummel is vice president, human resources and operations of global staffing services for CDI Corporation.

Tags: Engaged Workforce, Learning

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