Industry Insights

How Learning and Development Can Unlock Employee Engagement

Posted by Philippe Latapie on Jun 1, 2015, 6:00:00 AM

The latest Gallup poll on employee engagement indicates that less than a third of US employees are “engaged”, while the majority is “not engaged” and close to 20% are “actively disengaged”! The numbers look even worse at the global level. Gallup defines engaged employees as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace”

Yet, several speakers at the CLO Spring Symposium shared how learning and development can unlock employee engagement.

Unlocking employee engagement with experiential learning

1. Allstate: Leadership Change Champions

Allstate’s Steve King shared the work they are doing to redefine leadership from every level. It’s a change in mindset, from “follow the leader” to “be the leader”. The program includes a social component and a Talent Share Board, where people post business and development projects for which they need help. As part of the program deployment, the team looked to identify 200 Leadership Change Champions. More than 600 employees volunteered, showing the tremendous talent in the organization ready to be tapped for such development and mentoring initiatives.

2. Qualcomm: Social Learning Pathways

Rita Buffington, Senior Director of Learning at Qualcomm, commented on how their talented engineers train each other on the fast moving technologies and innovations important to their business. Qualcomm has partnered with Pathgather, a social learning platform start-up. Eric Duffy, Pathgather’s founder, explained his initial idea in a TechCrunch post:

“The idea was to find the best learning on the web, like a Kayak of learning, and keep track of what you’re learning a la LinkedIn, and do it in a social context like Facebook.”

Today, Qualcomm employees create their own learning paths, or they can follow the learning paths of colleagues they trust. The platform enables in-house subject matter experts to easily collect and curate the perfect resources, and to share them with colleagues along specific learning paths. Basically, Qualcomm has largely crowd-sourced and crowd-curated their learning content, and this has led to better learning and higher employee engagement.

3. Engaging Millenials Through Gamification

Millenials (people born between 1982 and 1995) already make up one third of the workforce today, and they will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Millenials like to work for companies that are innovative and that help them learn on the job and develop as leaders. Yet, too many employers fall short of delivering on these expectations. The Gallup poll revealed that Millenials are the least engaged generation at work today.

Several presenters focused on how using learning games and business simulations helps engage Millenials. This social, collaborative and fun approach matches their learning styles; a recent survey showed that 73 percent of Millenials have played games in the past 60 days and that 41% of them are avid gamers. 

What is Experiential Learning? 

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