Elements Of A True Learning Culture: Employee Engagement
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How To Build A True Learning Culture Based On Employee Engagement

It starts with our admitting that we have a problem, as business organizations, in handling the change in ways that do not disrupt what we already do well. In admitting this, we need to take a good look forensically at the nature of our present learning culture and ask some key questions. Looking at these key questions, we see that they present one thing in common. They emphasize on developing employee engagement as a part of their learning culture.

5 Key Questions To Assess Your Organization Learning Culture

  1. In our organization, leaders constantly emphasize the benefits of learning. They lead by example by investing in their own personal development.
  2. We regularly help employees create their own career development plans in our organization as a formal process.
  3. We have awards to encourage "innovative ideas" or "best cost-cutting ideas" and other process improvement suggestions.
  4. We routinely indulge in internal discussions on "internal spending on training vs. benefits realized" and take the time to analyze the impact of our training interventions.
  5. We actively encourage "internal job postings" and try to hire from within to fill job openings.

The Element Of Employee Engagement

Looking at how much your employees are engaged in the mission and vision of the business organization means that business leaders have to ask themselves some hard questions that reflect directly on their leadership. Some of these questions might be as follows:

  • Do employees know and understand the mission and vision of the business organization? If they don't, it is a problem of clarity and communication.
  • Do employees have faith in the mission and vision of the business organization? Do they recognize that decisions made in relation to mission and vision have direct consequences to their professional lives but also to their lives outside the walls of the business?
  • Do they see the mission and vision of the organization as being in sync with their connected lives in the 21st century or do they see it as contradictory to be meaningful in the context of the way they live?
  • Are they engaged because they are told to be engaged and must endure endless, meaningless training sessions just another check mark on the mandatory list of the organization? Or are they engaged because they are inspired by the vision and mission?
  • Are they, in fact, a picture of the "overwhelmed employee" instead of the highly self-motivated and engaged employee who is committed to a clearly defined and communicated vision and mission?

If engagement is such an important element in a true learning culture then it begs some obvious questions:

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

Business organizations are finding it is more difficult to retain employees with the necessary skill sets pertaining to the 21st century, globally networked business. In particular, the "Millennials" as incoming employees are proving to be the most challenging. According to stats supplied by Deloitte, the following findings give us an interesting picture of whether business organizations are really capitalizing on their greatest asset is the employees themselves.

  • 28% of Millennials feel that their current organizations are making full use of the skills they currently have.
  • 82% of employees said it's very important that their organization address the employee engagement problem.

Given That Engagement Is A Problem, How Does This Translate As A Problem For The Bottom Line Of A Business Organization?

Why Employee Engagement Matters

In order to answer such a question, we all need to be speaking of the same thing. Employee engagement can be defined as the functional and emotional attachment an employee has for their organization. Analyzing this type of commitment and thinking about the costs that impact the bottom line, we arrive at some very disturbing statistics:

  • $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover. Given the political and economic state in some countries, this number could rise substantially in the coming period of 2018-2019.
  • Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.
  • 71% of all employees are not fully engaged.

Comparing this to highly engaged employees within business organizations, the business case for employee engagement becomes even more convincing.

In regards to the branding aspect of a business organization that is very much customer-focused, how engaged the employees are can be proven by their sincere efforts to communicate to the public that the company employing them is not only a good one to work for but also a great one to do business with.

One of the key elements that give rise to employee engagement is that the organization is making efforts and progress to achieve ongoing employee learning systemic throughout their organization. This means that an employee needs to start to take precedence over organizational needs.

In one sense, this means that employees should be given a greater degree of autonomy concerning the development of new skill sets, the engagement with co-workers in innovative projects that benefit the company and so on. They should also participate in forums where their innovative ideas will be explored, presented and defended in the presence of key decision-making leaders within the organization. In order for an organization to take such steps, it requires leadership in the corporate suite with the courage to be innovative in the way that they approach new ideas.

When leadership starts down this path to build and nurture employee engagement through the design of a better learning culture, they can take solace in the fact that this is not just a local national problem, but it is global in nature, and that there is a relationship of need in regards to engagement and learning.

The questions that we are left with are:

  • How does the element of collaboration change in order to make a learning culture within an organization more dynamic and in tune with the globally connected economy?
  • What would the business organization look like as one that is different by design?
  • What steps can we take to change a stagnant learning culture to one that is innovative, vibrant and serving the future of the organizations for the benefit of all stakeholders, especially the employees?

These questions will be the focus of Part III...

Originally published at darkzoneeducation.blogspot.com.