The global business environment is getting more and more complex! Rapid changes in political, economic, technological and regulatory landscape further add to the complexity. Shortages in skilled labor also heighten complications, even more so in APAC! According to Korn Ferry, they predict a shortage of highly skilled workers will be 12-32% in each Asian Country by 2030. As the environment changes, it’s becoming increasingly clear that organizations must adapt quickly to stay relevant! Organizations will be forced to grow quickly with fewer resources – to do more with less. Managers must learn to excel in managing themselves, their teams and meeting organizational goals simultaneously. Workforce will need to be adaptive, engaged and be quick to execute any given problem.
Speaking of engagement, many studies have highlighted the need to improve employee engagement as a top priority. According to Gallup, engaged employees outperform disengaged employees by a whopping 21 percent. Also, engaged employees don’t just mean employees are satisfied with their job, but it also means they have an emotional connection with the organization. In the end, engaged employees have a direct correlation to increased revenue and so organizations must design systems that incentivize/motivate employees to work hard for the ‘right’ reasons.
So how do we get a disengaged employee to be engaged:
According to the same Gallup poll, approximately 68% of the working population currently are disengaged or actively disengaged in the organization. As many studies have shown, a disengaged employee leads to many structural and grass root challenges in an organization. These challenges can result in :
- Increase in employee turnover
- Unproductive workforce
- Impact to company culture
- Poor Communication
The above list is just a microcosm of the many underlying challenges a disengaged employee creates in an organization…
Statistics speak for itself
We all like numbers, so let me share a few that I found relevant.
BUT, There is help!
There are many activities an organization can introduce to improve employee engagement. One of the levers that worked in my career, as a senior manager, was linking learning to employee development and aligning the individual development goals to business objectives, creating a value proposition for talent development. By linking learning, the organization creates a transparent, measured and result oriented approach, resulting in accountability and empowerment within employees and between employees and managers. Personally, I always believed, an employee who believes learnings acquired for the work they do, will be important to the company’s success will deliver better results than not understanding the impact of their work.
How do you link learning?
Last year, I wrote a series of articles about generating ROI from L&D by introducing adaptive learning. I believe this is the paradigm shift that is rapidly occurring within many organizations. Learnings must be personalized, byte-size, measured, but more importantly relevant. Learning can no longer be an occasional training or workshop but must be indoctrinated into the culture of the organization and part of a daily journey. It’s a journey that takes the employee from gaining knowledge to developed skills, mapped to an organizations’ competency framework and aligned to collective goals,– with off course their manager’s help getting there.
At the end of the day, numbers don’t lie. Employees continue to be disengaged at an alarmingly rate and they are alerting us with their feet. Even if it’s not so dramatic as leaving the job, lack of skills development has a direct impact on productivity, retention, efficiency, agility, and innovation to name a few. So, in order to convert them, Organizations must adapt. Don’t think of L&D as a cost structure or a nice to have, but treat it as a partner, an equal member with business decisions for the growth of your employees. Organizations that genuinely foster a learning culture have seen a tremendous increase in their bottom line. Jack Welch, Former CEO of GE summarizes is eloquent, “ An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage”