Employee engagement isn’t just a buzzword. It’s the key to forming a workplace where every team member is set up to be successful and feel good about the work they do.
We’ve all heard that today’s employees want more from their work experiences than previous generations. In fact, the 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey found that 35% of young professionals cited “not enough opportunities to advance” and 28% mentioned “lack of learning and development opportunities” as reasons for exiting recent jobs.
Giving employees the opportunity to participate in professional development training solves both those problems. You’re helping them adopt new skills that prepare them for career advancement, ideally with your organization.
In this blog post, we’ll provide a detailed explanation of employee engagement and cover how professional development training will help the concept come to life in your workplace.
What exactly is employee engagement?
Most people grasp the idea of employee engagement but struggle to define exactly what it means. That’s okay since there is a lot that goes into truly achieving engagement.
In the simplest terms, an engaged employee is both productive and happy. They love what they do so they deliver outstanding results. And they feel good when they see their effort makes a difference so they continue to work hard. Productivity drives happiness and happiness drives productivity.
The productivity factor
Let’s dig deeper now and explore the productivity side of the equation. Every organization wants its employees to give their all and every employee wants to succeed in their role. Despite the common goal, being consistently productive is challenging. There isn’t a switch that can be flicked on that makes us work with precision and focus.
Employees need to be put in a position to be productive. In fact, there are three factors that determine if an employee is set up for success.
- Ability – Employees are able to do great work when they have the right skills and knowledge for the job. It’s easy to be productive when the task at hand makes sense to you.
- Opportunity – Employees also need to be given the chance to utilize their abilities. They should have daily tasks and long-term goals that align with their area of expertise.
- Motivation – And of course, employees need to have the desire to be successful. Motivation plays such a major role in engagement that we’ll look at in greater detail.
On the surface, money drives motivation in the workplace. We work to earn a living and have a comfortable life. And we hope that continued hard work will result in increased compensation as we progress in our careers.
That’s the glass-half-full perspective. If you look at it from the negative end of the spectrum, people are also motivated by fear of failure or being reprimanded. They work hard to keep getting a paycheck.
Working for a tangible reward or to avoid an unpleasant experience is known as extrinsic motivation—and it unsurprisingly has little impact on employee engagement. It stimulates productivity in short bursts but not consistently day-after-day. And we’ll certainly never be happy doing a job we only have so we can keep paying our bills.
Productivity stems from intrinsic motivation, or the fulfillment we experience doing a job we enjoy. Getting motivated is effortless when you like the tasks and challenges you face. We’ll wrap up this explanation of engagement by defining the three pillars of intrinsic motivation.
- Mastery – Knowing you’re an expert at your craft and consistently getting better at it.
- Autonomy – Being empowered by your employer to apply your knowledge and skills with little-to-no-restrictions.
- Purpose – Seeing that your work matters and positively impacts your organization, colleagues, and the customers you serve.
Recap: Employee engagement defined
You likely see why most people struggle to articulate what employee engagement means. It’s a complicated concept with multiple layers. Before we move onto the role of professional development training, let’s quickly recap everything that goes into employee engagement.
- An employee is engaged when they’re both productive and happy.
- Productivity stems from ability, opportunity, and intrinsic motivation.
- Intrinsic motivation is driven by mastery, autonomy, and purpose.
How professional development training impacts employee engagement
If you now understand what employee engagement is but are still unclear how you can make it a reality in your workplace, don’t worry. Engagement is an abstract idea and it’s easy to default to rewards like compensation and recognition than foster intrinsic motivation in the workplace.
But even with a basic understanding of engagement, you can see why employees appreciate the opportunity to expand their skills. Now that we’ve dived into the topic, let’s look at exactly how professional development training impacts employee engagement.
Professional development training promotes productivity
The right training helps unlock the three factors that drive productivity. An employee’s abilities naturally expand when they participate in the right professional development coursework. You’ll also feel confident allowing them to take on more important tasks and projects knowing they’re prepared for the challenge. And, of course, development opportunities stimulate motivation as well.
Professional development training promotes intrinsic motivation
Offering supplemental benefits like professional development training results in employees having a greater appreciation for their jobs. But even more than that, your organization can truly champion mastery, autonomy, and purpose by helping employees build their skills.
People associate success with on-going learning. You can appeal to an employee’s sense of mastery by providing courses relevant to their line of work. They’ll feel good knowing they are growing professionally and discovering new ways to get better at what they do.
Alternatively, you likely have employees on staff who don’t see themselves staying on their current career path. Some young professionals might want to transition to another department after being exposed to how different teams work. You can help them find purpose with your organization by setting them up to acquire the skills needed to step into a role that excites them.
And lastly, your organization can foster a sense of autonomy by making employee training accessible to employees. Instead of interrupting the workday for in-person sessions, you can host all your courses in a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) like Mindflash that employees can log into when and where they please. Trust them to complete any required training when they’re in the right headspace and make it easy for them to take advantage of optional courses.
Employees crave professional development opportunities
The simple act of implementing professional development training helps accomplish both happiness and productivity goals. Your employees want to do great things for your organization so it only makes sense to be a partner in their professional development. Request a live demo of Mindflash today and learn how easy it is to provide accessible training courses to employees!