/blog > Engagement

The quality of the talent within an organization and the ability to retain that talent provides corporations a powerful competitive advantage. Additionally, research shows that well‐trained employees are more productive, more engaged and remain loyal to the company. Therefore, it is no surprise that companies devote a lot of time, effort and money to corporate learning. According to the American Society for Training and Development, U.S. firms spent about $156 billion on employee learning and development in 2011. Although most organizations have internal training programs, for those who rely on external providers, formal training is costly and typically requires paid time off for the employee. More and more companies are utilizing online learning as a cost-effective alternative to traditional training programs for its flexible schedule, easy access to courses and more time efficient way for employees to expand their skills and knowledge. However, despite the focus on training, most companies…

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learners

Last week I attended Corporate Learning Week in Orlando. I attended a number of interesting sessions about how to engage employees and innovate the learning process and also spoke to many executives about learning practices and initiatives in their organizations. What was clear was that there is not a shortage of learning content out there, in all sorts of different formats, but many organizations struggle with finding the best way to deliver (and encourage) learning in order to engage their employees. Recent blog posts  by Jane Hart and Norene Wiesen on unwilling learners and how people learn through explaining their thinking respectively make it clear that different learning approaches work for different people, but employees need to understand the motivation for learning. When learners are directed to consume training content, they’re often doing it because they know they have to do it to tick a box, rather than because they…

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vintagesecretary

Because it was intended to determine qualifications for secretaries and because it comes to us from the primitive and barbaric year 1959, this list of self-qualifying behaviors for “business work” is presented by Slate as a curiosity, and evidence of a business culture that devalued and discriminated against women.  And perhaps it is that, but I see something more here. If today, living in the enlightened times we enjoy, one were to put together a list of good characteristics for, say, a consultant, how different would it be from this list? You might need one additional item about assertively, but not obnoxiously, leading a client to understand things about the organization that they currently aren’t seeing. But then, really, that’s item 8, isn’t it? Let’s try another job: how about a management position? The only thing missing from the list is “Getting people to do what needs to be done”…

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p_office_people

I was talking to a former colleague today who is in the final stages of interviewing to join a start-up, because he said it’s “way too slow and boring” working for the large company that currently employs him. This sentiment is common among Gen Y employees, who seek fun and challenging experiences at work and see frequent job and career change as the new norm.   In a recent post, Key Consulting Group says that many Gen Y works think that traditional career paths in large corporations are dead end streets that are really not going to get them motivated. The result is that many large organizations are concerned about who their future leaders might be, as baby-boomers are retiring and many of the younger generation lack the necessary skills and experience to fill their boots.   The Key Consulting Group post goes on to say: “One report in the…

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sleepwalking-man2

Ask many HR professionals if their company has any Career Management initiatives and you may get a blank look and be asked what you mean by Career Management.   So it comes as no surprise that research like the recent YouGov Survey in the UK, conducted on behalf of Fairplace, concludes that many organizations have disengaged employees, which can seriously impact productivity.  The survey found that 39% of people are “sleep-walking” through their careers, with no career paths or development plans in place.   Definitions of “Career Management” vary, but Wikipedia seems to do a fairly good job of defining it:   “Career Management is the combination of structured planning and the active management choice of one’s own professional career. The outcome of successful career management should include personal fulfillment, work/life balance, goal achievement and financial security.”   Individuals need to take control of their own careers, which means understanding…

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ratherbegolfing

Is this surprising? Gallup reports that a majority of American workers are not engaged in their jobs: Seventy-one percent of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive. That leaves nearly one-third of American workers who are “engaged,” or involved in and enthusiastic about their work and contributing to their organizations in a positive manner. This trend remained relatively stable throughout 2011. It’s not a question of whether you would rather be golfing. Most people at work can think of something they would rather be doing than what they’re currently doing. A lucky few are pursuing a true calling, doing work that they would do for free if they weren’t being paid for it, and as engaged in their day-to-day tasks as a kid on the cusp of achieving a new level…

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