Engagement – it’s the holy grail of business growth and development. High engagement levels drive improved performance, enable a better ability to compete, and help create a positive corporate culture. Low engagement levels, on the other hand, can destroy productivity, lead to high turnover and increased churn, and drive talent away, reducing your ability to compete within the industry.
While there is no silver bullet for engagement, there are proven ways to improve it. One of those is through your learning and development (L&D) efforts. Not sure how that works? We will explore several important options below to help you drive engagement and build a more resilient organization.
Define Your Learning Culture
The first step here is to define your learning culture. How does this differ from your corporate culture? It should be closely related to it and should build from the same values. It should embody the same employee engagement tactics as your performance management efforts. Some aspects of a learning culture include:
- Dedicated to innovation
- Dedicated to growth and development
- Willingness to fail (and acceptance that failure is part of innovation and growth)
- Dedicated to collaboration and support
Use Technology to Enable Better Outcomes
Technology will play a central role in your learning and development initiatives. Your learning management system (LMS) is one of the most valuable assets available to you. However, technology should enable better outcomes, but it should not be the starting point.
Before you can drive engagement with L&D content, you must determine how technology like your LMS will support and enable the outcomes that you want. That means creating a learning culture as discussed above, but also setting goals for learners, and understanding why those goals matter and what they will help employees achieve. With those in place, you can turn to the technological pathway that will lead learners forward.
What channels will be necessary? What content types most resonate with individual learners? How can you build in social learning? What gamification elements will drive engagement across the board, as well as with individual employees?
Ultimately, technology is the vehicle, not the goal. Know where you want your learners to go and then build a vehicle that will help them get there.
Embed Brand Values
Creating engagement requires more than the right culture and underpinning technology. It also requires the addition of something familiar – a guidepost, so to speak. Take the time to embed your brand values in all L&D content.
Why do brand values matter here? Shouldn’t your employees fully understand them already? They should know them, yes, but by connecting brand values with key lessons within your L&D content, you help connect the dots for learners in a visceral way.
Want to promote transparency and honesty? Build those into your L&D content. Want employees to value communication and overdelivering to the customer? Bake them into your content.
Ultimately, embedding brand values within your content provides familiarity, but it also helps drive a deeper understanding of what those values mean and what practicing them might look like within an employee’s daily activities.
Learn From Your Learners
Want to drive engagement? Learn from your learners. What does that mean?
- Ask Questions: Come right out and ask your learners what type of content they prefer and then act on those responses. This builds trust and engagement, as it shows that you value what your employees want and need, and it provides them with more of their preferred content style to drive better learning outcomes.
- Include Social and Informal Learning: Don’t limit your L&D efforts to modules in the LMS. Take things out in the wild by encouraging social and informal learning and making those part of your learning and development efforts.
- Crowdsource: A great way to both drive engagement and improve learning outcomes is to crowdsource the content for modules and lessons.
Treat Learners Like Consumers
Increasingly, employee learning is becoming more and more like the customer journey. That’s good news for organizations looking to drive better engagement through content because it offers additional outreach and education opportunities.
- Curated Content: Consumers love curated content from brands, and brands love marketing with this method because it allows them to inform and educate while providing value. Curate content and then make it available to learners.
- Email Marketing: Take a tip from companies hitting it big with email marketing and use that to inform your L&D efforts. Email marketing lets you provide value, engage your learners, and drive better L&D outcomes in a range of different ways, from eye-catching graphics to compelling subject lines to value-added messages.
- Get Personalized: Like consumers, employees are increasingly expecting a personalized experience. Give it to them. This is possible with advanced, cloud-based learning management systems, but also through other outreach methods, such as email marketing, social learning, and more.
- Competitions Matter: Take a look at social media today and you’ll find that competitions are incredibly popular. You can use these to drive engagement and improve learning outcomes within your organization. Create a competition to see who can get the highest score, who can have the highest number of consecutive learning days, who can complete the most learning per quarter, or even offer prizes for performance and knowledge retention.
Offer Self-Led Learning
Often, employee learning follows a defined path created by HR. However, that may not be the best option for learner engagement. Consider offering self-led learning and you’ll find that your employees are much more engaged in their journey. What does self-led learning look like?
It can take many different forms. In some cases, you might simply allow learners to move from module to module as they see fit. In others, you might allow them to choose topics based on interest rather than relation to their current job description. Whatever you do, self-led learning empowers and engages learners and leads to better information retention, which is what it’s all about.
Have the Right Platform
With the tips above, you should be able to improve learner engagement across the board. However, don’t forget the foundation – technology, like your Learning Management System, is the great enabler and makes improved outcomes possible in the first place. Contact us today to learn more about eLeaP and what we can help you achieve.