Managers wondering how to keep employees happy and engaged should look for opportunities to help them with skill-building. According to a research report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 55% of employees stated that the ability to use their skills at work was a top factor in satisfaction. Investing in expanding your employees' skills benefits your business, while also providing your teams with the ability to learn and have fun along the way. Here are four different strategies to help you build employee engagement and knowledge as an approach to keeping employees happy.
Create a System that Acknowledges Small Wins
One of the easiest ways to encourage people to continue working on their development is by focusing on small wins. A recent Paychex survey discovered that 29% of employees have left or would leave a job due to lack of skill development. Consider developing a learning strategy around a sequence of courses. As each course is completed, recognize the employee with a badge or other small award. By recognizing small wins, you make it easier for employees to stay motivated as they learn new skills and areas of expertise.
Explore Different Approaches to Learning
Each employee learns differently, and in today's highly digital environment, there are a wide range of options to consider for how to help employees expand their skill sets. Some examples include:
- Team or company-wide classes taught in-house
- Bringing in outside speakers
- Using coaching or consultants for personalized training plans
- Supporting seminar or event attendance
- Providing a budget for courses, subscriptions, and reading materials
- Using ongoing learning support groups to let individuals explore topics of interest
- Developing internal mentorship programs
Focus Learning on Different Areas
Employees benefit when they have access to a wide range of different areas of potential growth. As companies develop learning plans to determine where to invest their training dollars, it's helpful to remember that employees have varied interests and needs at different points in their career. Some areas to consider include:
- Investing in clear skills, such as training individuals to use a specific marketing software or helping a programmer learn a new language
- Deepening your team's understanding of your industry and your customers' needs
- Exploring high-level processes and methodologies, such as improving general finance skills or providing exposure to user interface design
- Cultivating soft skills, from conflict resolution to developing better skill sets for managing employees
- Providing opportunities to explore whole new areas within the business and how developing complementary skills can improve collaboration and other approaches
Consider Adding Learning-Supportive Benefits
Another strategy companies can use to help increase engagement and satisfaction – and support growth – is to provide additional resources to support learning. Some companies allocate a budget to attend conferences each year, or provide financial support to employees who are pursuing classes or certificates in their field. For motivated self-learners, providing access to these benefits can be an easy way to help expand your company's capabilities and help keep employees happy.
Learning how to keep your employees happy requires a multi-layered approach that focuses on different ways to engage, challenge, and support them as they grow. From embracing small wins to investing in their long-term education, these steps will help keep your employees growing and improve engagement along the way.