Learning and development is seen as the function, usually attributed to the human resources department, which helps the individual employee grow. This growth of the individual employee aids in the growth of the team, business, and the overall organisation. When one says Learning and Development, what often strikes people is training programmes. But L&D is a lot more than that. It involves various aspects that all put together lead to the growth of the employee.
In the same context, employee engagement is a much talked about expression in the HR space. This, as the name suggests, talks about how involved the employee is in his/her and the company’s activities. The level of an employee’s commitment to the organisational goals, the effort they put in their work, and a lot more are closely related to their engagement.
Employees are said to be engaged if they are connected to the vision of the organisation, go beyond what is expected of them, and generally are highly involved with the organisation as a whole. Engaged employees perform better than the ones who are not. They are more productive and efficient with their work. In all, highly engaged employees are high-value resources for an organisation.
This brings us to the question of when an employee feels engaged. Employees have reported to feeling engaged in different kinds of circumstances. When they feel like they have a part to play in decisions of the organisation, when they are doing work that interests them and they feel capable of successfully doing, and when they are socially stimulated and enjoy the companionship, are a few triggers for employees to feel engaged in the organisation.
There have been a lot of connections drawn between learning and development and employee engagement. A core similarity being that both aim for the same end result – improved performance. A lot of L&D activities enable higher employee engagement and vice versa.
A feature of Learning and Development that also manifests itself in employee engagement is the brand-connect for employees. A lot of L&D happenings results in higher brand/company connect for the employee which in-turn, leads to higher employee engagement levels.
Apart from the increased enthusiasm built by brand connect, L&D also helps in other ways. The ‘guide’ trait of Learning and Development builds trust in employees, which consequently leads to a strong sense of loyalty for the employees to the organisation. This loyalty makes the employee vastly more engaged.
Any person would feel engaged in a job which interests them and they have the skills to do. Learning and Development deals with the latter part of this where it equips the employee with all the relevant skills and abilities they needs to do their job well. This results in the employee feeling capable and engaged in their role.
In a similar case, it is human nature to enjoy doing tasks one is proficient at. Learning and Development directly focuses on improving the performance of an employee. This improved performance boosts their motivation and they are more engaged and connected to the organisation as a whole.
Human are social beings and this is perfectly illustrated at the workplace. Improving social relations at the workplace leads to an immediate positive effect on the engagement levels of employees. A lot learning and development activities are based of team learning and group working. The outcome of a lot of these activities ends up being an increased sense of belongingness to one’s groups. This exponentially increases how engaged the employee is in the organisation.
As is easy to observe, Learning and Development and Employee Engagement are more connected than what is seen at first sight. They constantly reinforce each other and thereby create a loop of interdependence. Employee Engagement can even be seen as a core consequence of L&D, while also being true vice versa.
Organisations providing L&D solutions to companies offer greater results if they aim at employee engagement too. Understanding this concept, Skillwise offers various courses at improving employee engagement and productivity.