You know the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink? Well the same goes for your employees and their growth and development.
As a senior leader, it is your job to provide opportunities for your employees to learn and grow, and to make their learning accessible, actionable and accountable. However, if your employee is not engaged by your company and culture, then you can’t force them to learn and grow. Read more about how to engage your employees with Servant Leadership.
Here are a couple things you can ask yourself and examine to have better engagement in your organization:
- Did it start with your hiring practices? I think today, more than ever, it is critical to hire employees for their interpersonal skills over their technical ones. As long as they have basic abilities, many technical skills can be trained. However, many interpersonal skills such as friendliness, fun, and authenticity cannot be trained, they are often ingrained in the person from an early age and they’ve either got it or they don’t. Perhaps this person is just not a good cultural fit for your organization.
- Are they not engaged by your organization’s culture? This is where you can step in and re-examine your culture and how you can enhance it to make a better overall experience for your employees. This might include offering better benefits, examining outdated policies and procedures (e.g. strict dress codes, flex time, and vacation policies) and whether they feel recognized and valued in your organization.
- Are you recognizing and rewarding them for their exceptional performance? If your employees were consistently providing exceptional performance but you did not recognize them for it, why would they even try to grow and give you their discretionary energy and motivation. You can enhance this experience for your employees with both formal and informal rewards and recognition. The best organizations recognize their employees at every touch point. Non-monetary recognition is also a big motivator for employees, and can include acknowledging an employee at a team meeting in front of their peers, sending them a personalized thank you email or sending them a formal award certificate for going above and beyond their duties. You can also recognize them with monetary rewards such as spot cards, bonuses, incentives, and points in their employee performance portal that they can redeem for merchandise and gift cards.
There is a critical overlap between employee engagement and learning development. When your talent are engaged with recognition and enabled with skills and competencies from learning, they will be able to provide better service internally with their colleagues and externally with your customers, which will result in customers (and employees) who stay longer, buy more and positively refer others. Watch this quick video for more information on the Intersection of Employee Engagement and Learning.