Employee engagement is key to any organization. However, Gallup polls conducted in recent years show that many employees are not engaged at work. While this isn’t exactly good news, it represents a unique opportunity for businesses willing to address this problem. Boosting engagement at your company can help you to gain a competitive edge. Since a number of organizations lack engaged employees, yours will stand out.
There are many ways to improve engagement levels. It’s important for HR professionals to proactively research developing trends in order to better understand what factors impact engagement at work.
That said, offering growth and development opportunities to employees is a major factor in boosting employee engagement. Employees want to know that they won’t be stuck in dead-end roles with no possibility of advancement.
Of course, knowing that you should offer growth opportunities isn’t the same as knowing how to do so. That’s why these tips are valuable. They’ll help you to determine how your company can support employee development.
Establish Mentoring Relationships
Employees don’t always perceive their immediate supervisors as mentors. The desire to please a manager can make it difficult for employees to feel comfortable relating to them in that capacity.
Mentoring programs can solve this problem. By pairing a new team member with a veteran employee who started in the same position and rose through the ranks, you can demonstrate to new hires that dedicated employees have opportunities to climb the ladder at the organization.
The direct role that a mentor plays on a regular basis will vary depending on the nature of the position and the company. For instance, selecting a mentor to train a new employee in key processes can helps to initially establish a relationship. You can then arrange the desks so that new employees sit near their mentors. By encouraging mentors to regularly check in with their mentees, a positive relationship may develop for both of them.
Provide Learning Opportunities
This is one of the most effective ways to support employee growth. It’s also one of the simplest. Companies that offer optional training programs to their employees demonstrate that they believe it’s important for employees to acquire new skills. After all, once new employees complete their initial training, it’s not uncommon for them to go months or years without being given any opportunity to develop their talents. This has a negative impact on employee engagement. The more time that employees spend performing the same repetitive tasks, the less likely they will be to believe that the company wants them to grow and thrive.
It’s worth noting that not all employees will take advantage of optional training. It’s even possible that the majority won’t do so. However, those that do will typically be ambitious people who will be much more likely to exceed expectations when they are engaged at work. They are the types of employees that you want to retain. Give them a chance to grow, and your business will benefit.
Offer Challenging Assignments
Learning new skills is only one half of the equation. Employees who’ve undertaken optional training want opportunities to apply those new skills. Thus, it’s very important that managers understand the value of assigning challenging projects to ambitious employees. While these projects shouldn’t be overwhelming (nor should they be so daunting that an employee will feel like a failure if they can’t handle them), they should force employees to demonstrate their abilities and build new strengths. Optional training won’t have a lasting impact on employee engagement unless employees have the chance to show off what they’ve learned.
Be Transparent about Advancement Opportunities
Don’t overlook the significance of directly communicating with your employees. While the aforementioned tips can help organizations to develop a culture in which employee growth is valued, it’s also important for employees to think practically.
Remember, some companies simply don’t have any promotions to offer or roles to fill. An employee who has developed their skills through training and mentorship might still feel disengaged if they believe there will never be any genuine opportunities for them to take on more responsibility in an official capacity.
It’s helpful when managers provide examples of the kinds of advancement opportunities that employee could potentially expect over the course of their careers. By highlighting the upward trajectory of similar employees, discussing when employees can expect raises, and transparently letting them know what specific roles they may be able to take on if they perform well, companies will ensure that their employees realize that growth and advancement is possible.
The benefits for both employees and organizations are immense. Employees who are engaged will feel more satisfied on the job. In addition, companies with engaged employees enjoy lower turnover and greater productivity. Offering employees regular opportunities for growth is a smart policy that will allow companies to reap benefits.