You often hear the phrase ‘it’s a small world’; people and places are more accessible than they have ever been before and technology offers huge opportunities for global working. With a growing confidence in employees to look beyond their own country’s borders for their next job, employers are at risk of losing their best asset not just to competitors in the next town, but across the world.
In an IBM survey, it was found that 71% of senior management identified their staff as their leading source of sustained economic value ahead of products, customer relationships and brand. 17% of UK employees say that they are very engaged in their job, which leaves 83% who aren’t. You would think that all these disengaged employees would be seeking new employment, but according to CED who undertook the study of over 18,000 employees worldwide, 39% of those disengaged in the UK have a strong intention to stay with their current employer. They will apparently stay put, but in effect ‘check-out’ from their jobs. The damage that these employees can do to a business is literally catastrophic. So employers need to find a solution to re-engage these employees or face significant risks to their business.
Skilled, knowledgeable and engaged employees enable efficiencies and productivity along with the confidence to embrace innovation and progress to sustain a business’s profitability. In research carried out for the UK government it was found that businesses with low staff engagement achieved an operating income 32.7% lower than businesses with more engaged employees. When companies have an engaged workforce they can grow their profits up to three times faster than their competitors, according to a study of 50,000 global employees by the Corporate Leadership Council. Remarkably it was found by McLean & Company that a disengaged employee costs a business approximately $3,400 (£2,287) for every $10,000 (£6,727) in annual salary. This has massive implications for a company and something that requires immediate remedial action.
So are employers aware of employee engagement in their business? Are they succession planning to safeguard the knowledge and skills of those who retire or move on? In research carried out by ADP, it was found that around 50% of UK employers think that losing talent in their workforce is going to be one of their top threats in 2016 along with attracting new talent to their organisation.
Without doubt, engaged employees are better for business and they are also more likely to stay with their employer. There are many factors that can contribute to having an engaged workforce such as good internal communication, listening to employees concerns and suggestions, but high up on the list is professional development providing opportunities for advancement in the organisation. Promoting staff internally is not only good for the employee, but it is also good for business bringing benefits such as reduced recruitment, induction and initial training costs.
The IBM survey found that in top performing organisations 84% of employees are receiving the training they need compared with 16% in the worst performing organisations. The most common reason for employers not delivering training is not because they don’t value it, but because of its cost, particularly when there is a squeeze on budgets. However, organisations such as the London Fire Brigade have cut costs and improved their training with the use of flipped blended learning; including online and classroom training. They have not only improved the consistency and quality of training but have also saved the Fire Service £700,000 a year. The main cost saving has come from not having to remove fire fighters from the workplace for four weeks to complete training. Instead, they complete most of the training online and in the classroom the trainer can then check understanding and move onto more advanced topics.
Good quality online learning can start at as little as £10.00 at full retail price, quite a contrast to sending a member of staff on a day’s training at a few hundred pounds or more. Of course employers and employees are only going to want to undertake online learning if it develops knowledge and competency. In the Towards Maturity survey 2014, using technology to deliver learning was found to result in:
> 14% improvement in productivity
> 23% improvement in speed to rollout of new products/services
> 12% reduction in time to proven competency
A wealth of evidence tells us that the return on the training investment is significant when there is a blend of online learning with on-the-job practise and support. Delivering the knowledge online required to increase skills enables learning to be revisited, is an efficient use of time and is cost effective.
Not only will staff feel valued if their employer provides them with training and opportunities for promotion, but they are more likely to engage with their job and, therefore, be more productive. The company will reap the benefits in so many ways and will also be taking action to safeguard their most valuable asset; knowledge and experienced employees.
Author: Carolyn Lewis, Managing Director of Elearning Marketplace and Learning Technology Consultant