According to Gallup's State of the global workplace: 2022 report, disengaged employees cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity. That's equal to 11% of global GDP.
Although employee engagement has increased in recent years, the pandemic has stalled much of its growth. This has resulted in the need for leaders to create more resilient and adaptable working environments - where employees actively feel seen, heard and connected to the organisations’ values and purpose.
Engagement is an integral part of learning; why would you want to learn and develop in a place that you don't feel connected to or towards goals you aren't motivated to achieve? When learning and engagement are closely aligned, they reinforce one another and serve as powerful catalysts for employee development and organisational success.
Culture, which includes personal engagement, is a broad, complex concept that’s almost impossible to define and measure consistently. Equally, there isn’t a standard version of a ‘good’ culture either. Organisations need to focus on creating positive cultures, ones that foster engagement and motivation among colleagues. It requires firstly an understanding of what positive work cultures look like and then collecting data to measure and drive that change.
There are a number of indicators that can be used to create or reinforce positive and engaged cultures. Our cultivating culture model focuses on several indicators, of which we will examine three in greater detail.
Live your purpose and values
“A culture of purpose guides behaviour, influences strategy, transcends leaders – and endures.” Oftentimes, an organisation’s purpose and values are confused with its mission or vision. A mission is what it does. A vision is what it would like to be. A purpose is why it does it. And values are the guiding principles used to govern actions and decisions.
As your organisation evolves, it is important to ensure that your values remain relevant, clear and aligned to your purpose. Equally, your values should represent your organisation, as well as the clients and communities you serve. A simple way to achieve this is to collect feedback across all levels and functions. But most importantly, action is vital. Establish ways to translate these values into specific behaviours and embed them into your workforce. Not only will this help to inspire confidence in your employees, but it can also help to fuel investment, innovation, and long-term performance.
Enable learning and development
Many competencies, particularly technical ones, have a shorter shelf-life and the need for constant upskilling feels stronger than ever. At the same time, many employees are also searching for opportunities to do, become, and achieve more. By incorporating a culture of continuous learning, and smarter adaptable technologies into learning programmes and platforms, organisations can increase retention, productivity, growth, and morale. Actively giving employees protected learning time will enable them to perform their roles with greater agility and confidence. It will also encourage employees to stay up-to-date with best practices and industry trends in order to remain competitive. To expedite learning around your organisation, create mechanisms such as communities of practice (CoPs) or action learning sets (ALS) to help facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills amongst the team. This in itself can create greater collaboration and trust between colleagues and teams.
Organisations with high impact learning cultures experience greater growth, employee motivation, and profitability. You can develop this culture in small yet effective ways. For example, provide all employees with a fair and attainable opportunity to achieve a promotion and ensure they have clarity on the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to progress. Regardless of their background or working patterns, ensure that success and progression is equitable across your workforce. Employees can feel valued and empowered when their work makes a difference. Give employees the opportunity to acquire relevant and practical skills that they can immediately apply to their work, instead of requiring them to attend mass corporate training events.
The advent of remote and hybrid work has ushered in a new era of human wellbeing, from flexible work schedules, freedom from the daily commute, to having more time for family and personal needs. Equally for some employees, work and home life has become inextricably linked leading to working longer hours across multiple time zones.
Flexible work can sometimes make it difficult to detect feelings of isolation, disengagement, or stress that were once evident in the office. Therefore, effective wellbeing initiatives and good communication are vital as people are 81% less likely to quit their jobs when wellbeing initiatives are implemented.
Leaders play a pivotal role in employee wellbeing; they need to be visible and available to provide continued support and guidance to employees. They can also demonstrate the value an employee holds for an organisation by adopting specific behaviours including respecting and accommodating any personal life changes or concerns and giving employees the confidence to bring their individual characters and true selves to work.
Ultimately, openness can lead to better employee engagement and performance, organisational growth, and a positive thriving workplace environment.
Find out more about our learning and development services, and discover how to benchmark, measure, and cultivate a positive learning culture within your organisation: