For businesses to stay relevant and thrive in the coming years, engaging employees has become more critical than ever. The onus is on the L&D function to capture the heart and minds of the employees to nurture talent and build a future-ready workforce to drive business performance.
Recently People Matters and UpsideLMS hosted a webcast, “Employee Engagement through L&D – Strategizing for 2021 & Beyond,” which addressed key issues and emerging opportunities:
- Understanding employee engagement in the new normal
- How is learning & development a critical element for employee engagement
- How can organizations engage employees through their L&D strategies in 2021 and beyond?
The session was led by Amit Gautam, Founder & CEO of UpsideLMS, and Sudhir Koka, Senior Director- Learning & OD, GVK Biosciences. Here are some excerpts from the webcast:
Understanding employee engagement in the new normal
Sudhir started the discussion by giving an outline of an engaged employee.
He shared, earlier when we talked about performance, the conversations used to revolve around how an employee performed, it then moved beyond and included the aspect of employee satisfaction, and later it included the element of employee commitment– Organizations wanted employees who could perform, who is satisfied, and who is also committed. However, in the recent past, organizations have started to talk about employee engagement.
One of the critical aspects highlighted by Sudhir was the factors that impact employee engagement. He shares that employee engagement is often seen as an emotional commitment that drives employee engagement– trust, transparency, care, etc. However, according to him, another element that impacts employee engagement is a rational commitment which means if employee see how staying in the organization would be beneficial–Learning, growth, recognition, compensation, learning technology, challenging projects, offsite opportunities, all these factors motivates employees to assess if staying in the organization is benefitting their career.
Further, Sudhir also shares that the journey starters before the employee joins the organization.
“At GVK bioscience we follow Process to experience which means any process should give a positive employee experience,” shares Sudhir.
The changing paradigm of employee engagement
With the changing nature of work, the focus of employee engagement has also changed. The focus has moved from:
- Controlling to coping: There are a lot of things that are out of our control now. We need to be more adaptable and resilient with uncertain situations. These skills have become imperative than in the pre-COVID era.
- Touch to technology: Earlier we operated in an “all-touch” environment. We all have to be physically present but it’s now all moving into technology; whether it is meetings, learning, celebrating, connecting, collaborating– everything is moving to the technology.
- Performance to going extra-mile: It is not enough for us to just perform but the focus now is ongoing extra-mile and support business and organization to reach greater heights. It is about high-performance now!
- Work-life balance to work-life synergy: There is so much integration happening and hence the focus should be on how do I bring about the work-life synergy so that I can become more productive, can deliver more, and I can become more effective.
- Sense of belonging to a sense of wellbeing: There is a tremendous amount of focus on the sense of wellbeing, whether it is physical, psychological, mental, financial, etc.
Challenges in employee engagement with new ways of working
Amit shares that in today’s context with respect to employee engagement, one of the huge gap that we need to fill in the missing human, in-person experience. The reduced or almost missing social connection with other employees is changing the culture of the company permanently. He further shares that employee expectations have increased for validation, recognition, and feedback in the new normal, especially because all these three activities are being carried virtually and hence, posing a new set of challenges for employers.
Why Learning & Development is a critical element of employee engagement?
Sudhir shares, “L&D is at the center of employee engagement. It is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. The very fact that organization is providing L&D opportunities to employees itself is a reflection of the fact that organization is willing to invest in employees and their engagement.”
At GVK, our value proposition is: We invest, we learn, we grow– we publish it, promote it and consciously practice it at all times.
The session further outlined how L&D can impact employee engagement
As you can see, L&D can actually touch the entire gamut of employee touchpoints. For example, culture. L&D can play a great role in building a great organizational culture. It could be in terms of building the right behaviors and attitudes, or it could be driving values across the organization or it could be identifying where corrective actions have to take– what are the missing links and try to fill those gaps through learning interventions.
Closing the learning experience gap
Amit suggests that L&D initiatives need to be designed with an understanding of the new context and taking into account the other demands of the employees which will evoke a more positive response resulting in higher employee engagement.
To get access to full insights, watch the video here.