What drives a business? The product and mission are certainly important, but it’s employees who make the wheels turn. That’s why, in a world where companies compete fiercely to attract and retain top talent, understanding what employees want from their employer is incredibly crucial.
Do you know what your employees want? If they’re like most, then they want to learn.
Millennials (the largest working generation today, according to Pew Research), believe a good career provides strong development opportunities. This generation has a reputation for being job hoppers, but that habit typically stems from ambition rather than laziness. Millennials go where the opportunities are.
Yet there don’t seem to be many opportunities out there. According to Gallup, only 39 percent of this generation would strongly agree with the statement “I learned something new in the past 30 days.”
Clearly, companies need to kick-start their employee development programs. However, they also must recognize that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to education. Forcing every staff member to go through the same type of training won’t have the intended effect. Forget different learning styles – similar training doesn’t recognize employees as individuals, which is another thing they crave.
In order for businesses to keep their employees satisfied and retain top talent, they need to create personalized development programs that allow each individual to succeed in the ways he or she wants. Here are three quick tips to support such a goal:
1. Hold frequent one-on-one sessions
If you really want to understand the dream career path of a particular employee, there’s nothing like a face-to-face check-in. Human resources teams across the nation are realizing the importance of continuous performance management: an employee development style that emphasizes frequent feedback and goal setting. CPM keeps you abreast of what your employees want, allowing you to create development courses tailored to their desires.
2. Encourage self-assessment
Your employees already have an idea of what they want out of their jobs, but a deeper analysis can always reveal something new. During your one-on-one sessions, have them review their past accomplishments and struggles, then determine what they’d like to learn or improve upon.
Entrepreneur noted that while it’s good to discuss an employee’s less successful efforts during these discussions, the primary topic should be the person’s achievements. This puts people in a positive mindset, helping them think of what they want for the future. This way, you can collaborate with that individual as well as any other managers to identify the best development program for that person.
3. Provide proof of their accomplishments
Even if you put in all this effort, there’s still the risk that your employees might see your development efforts as an empty gesture. You need to prove that this strategy is truly for their benefit. One of the most surefire ways of accomplishing this goal is by providing customized digital credentials for any courses that you create. These credentials act as proof of your employees’ accomplishments, representing their newfound skill sets to themselves and their peers.
And with a credentialing service like Parchment, your employees can share their proof on their social media profiles. For professionals, this means Facebook and LinkedIn, which can be great for their careers.
Turning education into satisfaction
Even though your business is staffed by employees, it’s best to think of these individuals as lifelong learners. That way, you can provide the development tools they need and keep them engaged at their jobs.
Parchment wants to help you unleash your learners’ potential.
If you’re not aware of the employee engagement crisis facing the nation, it’s time to start paying attention. According to research from Gallup, only 31 percent of employees in the U.S. and Canada say they’re very much invested in their jobs and their employers. Granted, this figure is well above the worldwide average, which sits at 15 percent. Yet the fact that more than two-thirds of the country are not engaged or loyal to their company is troubling news indeed.
Given these statistics, it’s highly probable that a significant number of your employees and co-workers are disengaged. Some may even be actively so, meaning they’re working against the organization’s best interests. Clearly, something must be done, but what?
Successfully fostering employee engagement
The subject of solving employee engagement is not new; business advisors have been providing suggestions for years, writing books, articles and op-eds about how to make team members more involved in and satisfied with their work. However, most of these recommendations are limited in scope, providing only a single approach or series of steps to fix a widespread, complicated problem.
To significantly increase employee engagement long term, you need a comprehensive approach that incorporates multiple strategies – one of which involves increasing employee recognition.
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According to a joint survey from the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce, companies that create employee recognition programs tend to report better engagement, retention and employee happiness. This statement is also true of employee development – in an article for Forbes, ADP noted that many workers feel it’s the responsibility of their employer to provide learning opportunities.
Now, what if there was a way to combine the concepts of development and recognition into one strategy as part of your multifaceted employee engagement improvement efforts?
Using credentials to boost both development and engagement
Everyone understands the importance of credentials in education. They’re a sign that a student successfully completed a course or understands a particular concept. However, the full potential of credentials is so much greater. When used in the workplace, credentials can engage your workforce by encouraging team members to participate in development or training programs and share the fruits of their efforts with others.
How does it work? Your business creates development, training or review programs designed to improve or assess employees’ talents and skills. Then, with Parchment Award’s digital credential capabilities, you issue certified proof of their accomplishments. Employees not only feel engaged after having gone through the training program, they also feel recognized after receiving their digital certificate or badge. Furthermore, they can share their achievements on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, showing off their accomplishment to the world. This then makes them feel even better about their talents, their work, and their employer.
Furthermore, you can use these badges and certificates to acknowledge employees for their of service. Gift your team members with digital awards for achieving milestones like five or 10 years tenure with the company.
Solving the issue of low employee engagement is an extensive process, but Parchment can help. With our cutting-edge digital credential tools, your business can better train and recognize the performance of each and every team member.