Got Disengaged Employees? Time to Cultivate Their Skills

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Did you know that a 2015 Gallup study discovered that only about 32% of employees were actively engaged at work? Meanwhile, over 50% of employees were disengaged, while another 16.8% were actively disengaged. Think about that, only about 1/3 of employees are actually enthusiastic and committed to their work! So next time you take a stroll down to the water cooler, take a look around and ask yourself who’s really engaged.

Gallup argues that these engaged employees are ultimately the most productive and contribute the most to their company’s success. Increasing engagement would not only make your workplace a better environment, but it could actually increase your bottom line. Of course, in a world overflowing with social media, on-demand music, smartphones, and everything else, it’s easy to get distracted.

In fact, a recent study conducted by Microsoft found that the average person’s attention span is now less than that of a goldfish. Eight seconds. That’s how long the average person can work at something without being distracted. Given that, increasing engagement won’t be an easy task. However, there are steps that companies can take to improve employee morale.

Cultivating Skills Leads to Happy, Productive Employees

Many of the most productive, profitable, and world-changing companies have happy and engaged employees. According to Payscale, Gilead Sciences, Google, Southern Company, Salesforce.com, and Facebook are the top five companies (ascending order) when it comes to the percent of employees who report high job satisfaction. All five of these companies are also known as leaders in their respective industries.

Unsurprisingly, these companies offer great employee development programs. Google, for example, offers a wide range of internal classes and training opportunities for employees. The company has also hires social scientists and conducts extensive surveys to identify and calibrate training opportunities.

Facebook, meanwhile, runs its now famous “Facebook Bootcamp”, a seven week on-boarding program. No, we’re not talking about military style training. Engineers and other employees are placed in a 7 week immersive program through which they are exposed to the company’s code, culture, design philosophy, and other important concepts. This program was actually created due to short-comings in training that resulted in a lack of coordination and engagement in Facebook’s early days.

Producing Google Results Without a Google Budget

Of course, not every company has the resources or need to launch such massive and comprehensive training programs. What is important, however, is encouraging employee development and growth. By encouraging your employees to upgrade their skills on their own terms, you may be able to increase employee satisfaction and engagement.

One way to do this is to appoint someone on your staff, such as a manager or senior HR employee, to be in charge of employee development. Another method is to encourage all of your managers to take an active role in developing their direct reports. Either way, the goal is to be supportive, and to help employees develop their own skills and passions.

Having employee development champions on staff will help create the nurturing and supportive environment needed to encourage personal growth. As employees invest more of their time into their own learning and skills, they’ll not only develop their talents, but they’ll be more likely to be engaged.

Many companies don’t have the resources to launch their own academies like Google can, or to create 7 week on-boarding programs like Facebook. That doesn’t mean that companies can’t develop talent, however. There are certain programs and technologies that can help to level the playing field, such as online learning and remote classes. These technologies make it easy for students to learn at their own pace, and to select and focus on the skills they want to develop.

In fact, for many companies, education is now the primary or even sole way to drive employee development. There are some great options and platforms -including online learning- that make it easy and straightforward to launch staff development programs. Cultivating skills is no longer just for the Googles and Facebooks of the world, but is an option for companies of all sizes and in all industries.