Employee engagement is defined as the participation and passion that employees have with regard to both their work and their workplace. Needless to say, it’s the cornerstone of any company’s success. Without it, you’ll be looking at frightful turnover rates, a lack of dedication and uphill battles with each project you take on.
At Flux, we’re constantly taking steps to make sure employee engagement stays up and that we continue to be a workplace that each teammate is proud of. Read on to learn how staff development converts into loyalty and ownership, and check out Flux’s best practices.
What is Staff Development & Why is it Important
Staff development is the careful crafting of individual career paths for each employee. This entails knowing more than just each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. The objective is to assess where they are now, where they want to go and map out a plan to get them from A to B. This plan will put them on the road to benefiting both your company and themselves. Every employee is different, so every path will also be different. Therefore, you can’t expect to apply the same solutions when it comes to developing employee skills and careers.
The needs of every person will be completely unique. Management along with skilled HRs and technical recruiters should work together to help nudge people out of their comfort zone and on to conquer new challenges.
But why is this all so important? Simply put, because fulfilled, happy and healthy employees are more dedicated to their work and thus give your firm greater results. Think of your company or the projects you work on as a dish. The secret to any tasty meal is good ingredients. Similarly, if each staff member stays current and confident in their own right, the limits to what you can achieve as a team are endless.
What are Employee Development Activities
Typically, employee development activities are categorized into the following categories:
- Continuing education
- Research and development projects
- On-the-job training
Depending on what resources you have as a firm and what your employee needs most, your choice of which to apply will vary every time. Ideally, if most of your employees stay with you for a significant amount of time, you will offer multiple opportunities at various points in their development.
Continuing Education Opportunities
If you wait until you are completely done with your education to enter the workforce, you’ll never get there. With IT companies especially, more and more firms hire folks who have a Bachelor’s degree and support them as they go on to complete a Master’s or even Doctorate. When employees know that the place they work stands behind their continued education, they feel more confident and secure. In fact, not all continued education has to be a degree program. Many companies encourage online courses or certificate programs.
At Flux, for example, we regularly share our knowledge and skills with one another whether it’s through individual meetings, impromptu chats, or organized company-wide talks and lectures. Several of our teammates teach at universities or other learning centers as well.
Research and Development Opportunities
Research and product development are key elements of companies and large corporations today. In cases when governments collaborate with the private sector, corporate and university research is even funded. In Germany, an estimated 30 percent of spending on research and development is provided by federal and state governments. Government is thus the main sponsor of research in Germany alongside industry. And this is not an uncommon trend since an overwhelming amount of jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, offer research and development opportunities as a standard part of employment.
On-the-Job Training Programs
While a college education is a must for employment in IT companies and other corporations, it most likely will not fully equip future employees for the job they undertake. To meet this demand, companies offer on-the-job training and development programs. On average, companies in the US spent $1,111 per employee on training employees in 2020. Mid-size companies spent $581 in comparison to enterprises ($924) and small businesses ($1,678).
However, money isn’t the only resource companies spend on training. The number of hours you invest in your employees matters as well. While the cost per training employee has gone down in lue of covid, the number of hours of training per employee increased substantially from 42.1 hours to 55.4 hours annually.
How to Measure Employee Growth
If you’ve already applied several methods to drive employee engagement, that’s great. But how will you measure it? Measuring employee engagement is key to knowing where you stand and what changes need to be made.
At Flux, we believe in 360-degree feedback (aka multi-rater feedback). This process entails gathering feedback from your employee’s subordinates, peers, and supervisor(s). 360 feedback also includes a self-evaluation. If there are other stakeholders that interact with your employees on a daily basis such as clients, they may also be asked to provide feedback. The idea behind this process is to gain a picture of the employees progress from diverse points of view (subordinate, lateral, and supervisory).
Flux Best Practises
However, before measuring employee engagement, you have to invest. How? Here are just some of the practices we use at Flux that keep our team members motivated and on track.
Saying you want your employees to continue learning is nice, but if they are overloaded with daily tasks, it may not be possible. For this reason, Flux offers up to 4 hours a week where employees can devote themselves to learning. This time can also be used to prepare materials for knowledge-sharing sessions, so entire teams can benefit from what one person learns.
This is the logical next step of learning hours. Learning sessions take place once a week. They are used to brief departments on new frameworks, tools, or techniques. In order to facilitate these processes, Flux curates needed materials whether tools, courses, or textbooks.
One-on-one refers to the check-ins that take place between manager and subordinate. This offers a chance to address any issues, and discuss goals and progress. If there is an issue between a subordinate and their immediate manager, skip-level one-on-ones are organized to discuss.
Within the context of IT companies, focus groups are a group of team members who gather around a certain topic, skill set, and piece of knowledge. All focus group participants work together to study the given topic, learn new skills and grow.
For example, in Flux’s React.js focus group, those who already use React share their abilities and knowledge and thus raise the standards for the company’s entire development team. This focus group, for instance, used quizzes and other interactive methods to bring everyone up to speed. In some cases, Flux uses focus groups to prepare team members for certification of a certain skill. Therefore, each person grows individually and contributes to our projects’ success as well.
Now that you’ve taken these steps to drive employee engagement, what comes next? In our upcoming article, we’ll be taking a closer look at how to create an evaluation system that provides insight into where your employees are in their growth path.
In the meantime, think about what you’re doing to ensure high participation and passion at your firm, and let us know in the comments below!