Employee engagement surveys – both in the UK and elsewhere – have been consistently showing, for over a decade, that at least 7 out of 10 of the working population feel disengaged at work. And, according to Gallup, a lack of learning opportunities is seen as one of the top 3 reasons for disengagement - and the inevitable damage this causes to performance.
Many organisations don’t have big learning budgets, but the evidence suggests that size matters less than understanding how to use the resources available. Over three-quarters (76%) of top learning organisations, according to a recent CIPD/Towards Maturity survey, work hard to understand how their employees want to learn, compared to barely a quarter (28%) for an average employer. Our own research confirms this – a key differentiator between certified UK Top Employers and other organisations is the sheer breadth of initiatives they use for learning. Our certified companies employ a wide variety of modern techniques – including mobile learning (66%), e-learning simulations (98%), learning games (86%) communities of practice (84%) and collaborative learning (95%).
The use of technology, on its own, does not of course drive engagement. Rather, it is the combination of technology and a deep understanding of how people learn best that makes all the difference. Our research suggests that to give employees a choice in how they learn creates a real sense of ownership in their development. And, in turn, technology plus ownership brings with it an extra learning dividend – the ability of learners to create connections, enable discussions and drive results within their increasingly collaborative teams.
So the lesson for employers is obvious: stop and ask employees how they want to learn. Organisations that content themselves with delivering training, rather than facilitating learning, risk wasting their resources. UK Top Employers really understand learning styles, they use technology with imagination, involve their learners - and then reap the benefits.
The Top Employers Institute has been running its global HR certification programme, recognising the world’s leading employers, for over 25 years. Certified Top Employers – more than 1300 worldwide – are given access to unique global HR best practices. Do you want your organisation to join the exclusive global community of Top Employers? Find out more