Learning & Development, Talent

8 Ways to Engage Employees in Workforce Development Processes

It’s hard enough finding new employees with the potential to excel in an organization’s work environment. But on top of the basic recruitment, employees also need to be trained and kept engaged to ensure they can perform to their full ability—and that they will remain productive.


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Ongoing Onboarding

“Unless you continually reinvest in developing your employees with successful on-boarding and ongoing training—helping them reach their full potential—they may leave and you will find yourself back at square one trying to procure more talent,” says Steve Olenski, a contributor to Forbes. “This process can be a time-consuming, stress-inducing cycle.”

Olenski offers eight tips for effectively engaging employees in the onboarding, training, and development processes.

1. Create Individual Development Plans

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for employee development. It’s crucial that an employer have an idea early on of the employee’s goals and aspirations and find ways to help him or her achieve those within the bounds of the job requirements.

2. Provide Performance Metrics

Quality employees want to find ways to improve themselves and become better at their jobs. It’s an employer’s responsibility to find and utilize objective measures of performance to help facilitate that discussion.

3. Provide Opportunities Outside of Job Function

“Today’s organizations have become so compartmentalized that employees believe they can only operate within their department or function,” says Olenski. “However, to truly develop an employee for a larger role in the company, they need to understand how all aspects of the organization work.”

4. Give Constructive Feedback

Many employees feel like they aren’t getting the feedback they need to perform their jobs well. Of course, feedback can be positive, but it’s also important to provide constructive feedback when an employee’s work or behavior isn’t meeting expectations. Employees won’t improve if they aren’t aware they need improvement in the first place.

5. Remove Barriers

Olenski argues that many organizations are too rigid to allow for effective cross-department collaboration, knowledge sharing and training, and learning opportunities. It’s up to leadership to remove unnecessary barriers that may hinder employee growth.

6. Link to a Professional Network

Networking—both internal and external—can greatly benefit employees by providing them with industry peers and potential mentors. Although some employees may be extroverts and capable of building networks on their own, employers can play an important role in helping them and their introverted colleagues make connections that can benefit their careers.

This might take the form of formal mentorship or sponsor programs or casual events and get-togethers that allow staff and others to make connections.

7. Outlay Resources

“From day one, an employee is an investment that the organization is making and from which it expects a return,” says Olenski. “To get the most out of employees requires making further investments along the way.”

These resources could run the gamut from apps and tools to make employees’ jobs more efficient to on-the-job training to financial support for furthering their education.

8. Set the Example

Finally, leaders need to set an example for the rest of the organization. They should assume they are always being watched because the rest of the company looks to them as a model for success.

It’s hard to find good employees and costly to train and onboard them. Why not keep them around as long as you can? One proven way to reduce turnover is to keep employees engaged.

That means, among other things, giving them the tools, support, and opportunities for personal and career achievement and advancement through training and other employee development initiatives.

Are you planning to attend Workforce L&D 2019? You won’t want to miss the session “Onboarding: Building an Employee Experience Designed to Train, Engage, and Retain Straight Out of the Hiring Gate.” This session will help you foster learning from day 1 and provide newly hired workers with a customized onboarding experience that will integrate them into your culture and ensure they are living your brand. Workforce L&D will take place November 14–15, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. Click here to reserve your seat today!