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Study Explores Drivers of Employee Engagement

Study Explores Drivers of Employee Engagement | Cultural Trendz |

A recent study by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training explores  key drivers of employee engagement – and reaffirms the critical role of an employee’s relationship with his or her direct manager. Employee engagement is important because “engaged employees” are more committed and productive.  The study, What Drives Employee Engagement and Why It Matters, also has some disturbing findings, noting that “only 29% of employees are fully engaged while 26% are disengaged.”

Released in October, the research surveyed 1,500 employees nationally.  Its conclusion: “Although there are many factors that impact employee engagement, there are three key drivers:
10 Reasons Why Companies Should Invest More In Management Training Victor Lipman Victor Lipman Contributor

- Relationship with immediate supervisor

- Belief in senior leadership

- Pride in working for the company.”

This focus on the central importance of the direct management relationship – that often can make or break an employee’s feelings about work and therefore performance – is consistent with what management experts have long contended.  The study stated, “The attitude and actions of the immediate supervisor can enhance employee engagement or can create an atmosphere where an employee becomes disengaged.  In addition, employees said that believing in the ability of senior leadership to take their input, lead the company in the right direction and openly communicate the state of the organization is key in driving engagement.”

This emphasis on positive managerial relationships, trust and honest communication is nothing unexpected, but does add hard data reinforcing sound practices for all leaders to bear in mind if they hope to motivate their work force.

US businesses lose approximately $11 billion annually due to employee turnover, according to the Bureau of National Affairs.  ”With recruiting costs running approximately 1.5 times annual salary,” the study noted, “the ability to engage and retain valuable employees has a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line.”

Employee engagement is often viewed as a “soft” HR sort of subject, but the hard reality is that flawed management practices contribute significantly to employee disengagement – and disengaged employees are unproductive employees.

With a vast financial impact.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"The focus is on the central importance of the direct management relationship that often can make or break an employee's feeling about work, and therefore performance."

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Knowledge Transfer – Why the quality of your organisation’s training is critical

Knowledge Transfer – Why the quality of your organisation’s training is critical | Cultural Trendz |

To transfer knowledge successfully, an organization needs to make sure that any training:


- has clear goals and objectives linked to those of the organization itself

- is carefully designed by people who understand learning and development

- is delivered by skilled trainers who know how to adapt their approach to the needs of different learners

- is evaluated and assessed in terms of its impact on behavior and performance.


I have to say that many organizations fall down in some of these areas. This is partly because they expect their internal subject specialists to be able to do all these things when they are not experts in learning and development and when they naturally have to spend most of their time and effort focusing on their main work, which is usually not training.

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Five learning and development (L&D) trends to follow | Peoplefluent

Five learning and development (L&D) trends to follow | Peoplefluent | Cultural Trendz |

Enterprise organizations are beefing up their learning and development (L&D) budgets to gain significant performance advantages. Here are five trends to keep your eye on—and participate in—as you make your own L&D investments in the months ahead:

1. Tailored training—Organizations will tailor the learning experience to the needs of the enterprise as well as the employee. To sustain the enterprise’s growth, employers will ensure that their L&D strategies are directly aligned with their business strategies. To sustain the growth of their top performers, employers will tailor L&D opportunities to deliver the skills employees need to excel personally in a fast-paced, competitive marketplace. In addition, employers will support more on-demand learning to deliver content that is relevant and contextual to employees’ immediate needs (allowing them to put their new skills and knowledge to use once a training session is over). To support formal learning, employers will need to create customized development plans tailored specifically to employees’ job requirements and personal career goals.

2. Social and informal learning—U.S. companies spent 39% more on social learning in 2012 than they did in 2011, according to Bersin by Deloitte. There is every reason to believe this trend will continue. Organizations that wish to drive employee engagement and performance to meet business goals are becoming increasingly effective at creating and leveraging employee networks, disseminating knowledge across functional areas and throughout the company at large, and effectively creating informal mentoring by linking internal subject matter experts to younger and less experienced employees. Social and informal learning are all about capturing knowledge and expertise from inside and outside of the organization and then sharing it among employees with maximum efficiency. Many experts believe that social and informal learning will become increasingly synonymous and, ultimately, will help to supplant blended training programs. Learning environments, where continuous education and training take place spontaneously, are the wave of the future.

3. SaaS and mobile solutions—Employers will continue to embrace cloud-based solutions and the use of mobile devices. SaaS and mobile are essential for delivering increased amounts of streaming video, digital content and other types of new media that support on-demand learning. Naturally, SaaS and mobile solutions will generate security concerns and challenge employers to manage the suitability and accuracy of the new L&D content streaming in. In addition, Gartner estimates that by 2017 more than half of all companies will require employees to supply their own smart devices to do their jobs, and by 2018 70% of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices. Clearly, the need to secure internal data—even as it is being shared over non-protected networks—will be a top concern for L&D and the enterprise at large.

4. Ease of use—To support the rise of on-demand learning, employers and vendors alike will devote greater attention to making learning management tools and resources easier to use. After all, on-demand learning needs to be fast and relevant from employees’ perspective or they simply won’t be engaged by it. And from the employers’ perspective, ease-of-use is critical to quickly solidify user adoption and to convey the knowledge workers need to complete immediate tasks. In light of all this, an enterprise’s learning professionals will be instrumental in determining which L&D tools actually live up to expectations and support learners effectively.

5. Collaborative learning cultures—Employers will work harder to create collaborative learning cultures for one very powerful reason: organizations that have strong learning cultures outperform those that don’t. Results-driven organizations will harness the younger generation’s affinity for online tools and social learning communities. They’ll encourage employees to build strong business networks online. And they’ll create easier access to corporate data, they’ll champion tools that facilitate content and knowledge sharing, and they’ll align training offerings with the skills necessary to achieve specific business goals. All of these initiatives are hallmarks of collaborative learning cultures—and they all support business growth.

Trends don’t mean much unless you take a chance and experiment yourself inside the enterprise. Start where your various talent ecosystems are already learning from one another today: online. Emulate the continuously collaborative informal learning behaviors that continue to proliferate personal and professional networks, which today are really one in the same. This will help with adoption when you start to implement these activities in your organization today.

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"Enterprise organizations are beefing up their learning and development budgets to gain significant performance advantages. Keep an eye on these five trends."

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Does Performance Management Actually Improve Performance?

"According to recent research, few managers or employees have positive experiences with their company's performance management process...The system will be significantly less effective if it is seen as a personnel program, rather than a way of managing the business...Plus the focus on individual performance can result in destructive competition and conflict among team members...


Much more effective is to emphasize performance planning and coaching while increasing the objectivity of the performance factors... Most performance management processes are designed to judge performance and determine merit increase decisions, not to improve performance. They are focused on the past and create dysfunctional behavior and negative experiences...


The key to improvement is the critical interface between the manager and employee - just like a coach and an athlete or teacher and student. Some judging is inevitable, but it is coaching to succeed that drives performance improvement. Performance management programs, particularly in today's world of knowledge workers, needs to be focused on ongoing coaching to improve performance..."

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Let's not try to pool the wool over each others eyes with performance reviews. I've seen the system and witnessed it's flaws. Few participants have positive experiences with the process. For some people it's a dreadful expereince; for others, quite a slap in the face; and for most, a serious morale killer. The process can completely break down trust between management and employees that should be working together as a team.


The goal setting aspect of the process is particularly problematic as it can be extremely subjective and fatally flawed. "If the goals are such a stretch that most employees believe that they cannot be attained, the program is doomed from the outset. Few will be motivated to try to achieve such goals; others will become discouraged early on. On the other hand, goals should not be so easy that incentives are paid for results that would have otherwise been achieved through normal effort." It's quite obvious when goals are set to favor some employees over others. "Employees are concerned that management can manipulate the results to reward those they favor instead of those whose performance is outstanding." If so-called merit based performance programs are to succeed, employees must have faith in the fairness of the measurement system.

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