Training’s Role in Employee Engagement – Ask HR Bartender

by Sharlyn Lauby on November 17, 2013

I received a question recently in response to my post on employee poaching.

How much influence over employee engagement do you think learning and development (L&D) departments actually have? 

First, let’s focus this post on only one aspect of L&D – training. I’m well aware that learning and development is comprised of more than just training. But the training part is about giving employees skills they can use in their current jobs. And engagement is about employees giving the maximum effort – also in their current jobs.

training, HR, Human Resources, policy, policies, communication, skill, behavior

So training departments should be offering programs that give employees the ability to perform at a high level. And if they do, then they are directly contributing to employee engagement. To hold training departments accountable for engagement, consider the following:

Existing programs should be linked to performance. L&D departments should review their content offerings to ensure they provide participants with the skills to perform at a higher level. That’s the purpose. Training isn’t entertainment. I’m all for having fun and using games during training too but not to the exclusion of learning.

Training delivery models need to be efficient. There’s never been a more exciting time to be in training. Participants can learn via smart phones, tablets as well as in classrooms. We can flip the classroom or flip the meeting to make best use of face time.

There must be a balance of training and development. Companies can’t spend all of their time focused on the future and ignore the present. Development programs are important. But it’s equally critical to address current training needs.

From new hire orientation to regular safety skills and everything in between, training departments play a critical role in employee engagement. And if you’re a small company without a dedicated training function, you still have to find a training partner. It might be a consultant or a local college that can provide regular workshops.

Companies cannot achieve high levels of engagement without training support.

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