Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report shows the TOP issues companies are now facing are employee engagement and retention.

Josh Bersin, the force behind Deloitte’s employee engagement arm, recently wrote a piece for Chief Learning Officer where he indicated that there’s a great opportunity to boost employee engagement through learning programs.

The research data we’ve compiled on characteristics for some of the most highly engaged organizations shows one of the most important factors in a highly engaged company is the strength of its learning programs,” Josh Bersin, CLO Magazine.

When thinking about the current Millennial-driven workforce, what comes to mind in terms of engagement? What do employees find rewarding? To many, opportunities for personal and professional development are key when considering (and sticking with) an employer.

In addition to helping individuals gain a sense of mastery and accomplishment, structured learning opportunities also contribute to another important employee engagement driver – peer connectivity. They offer a shared company experience that strengthens bonds and builds trust.

Smart leaders understand this and are always trying to figure out better, more effective ways to fuel passions, encourage collaboration and create a desirable workplace. Investing in a solid learning and development program, whether it’s creating a new initiative or updating an existing one, leads to excited and engaged employees.

All of that sounds great, but what if I invest in a new initiative and it falls flat?

It’s a sad, but common problem companies encounter. Tons of time, money and resources are spent on writing, creating and deploying a new learning and development initiative and then… don’t say it… it doesn’t catch on as intended and now that exciting new program sits there collecting e-Dust.

Why?

In many instances, employees don’t even know the training courses exist. Or, they may have registered but got busy with a new assignment, or simply lost the inspiration to complete the courses offered.

As leaders, there are three fundamental questions to think about in terms of a successful learning and development program: “How do I package and communicate all the learning opportunities available?” AND “How do I deliver consistent training that actually moves the needle?” AND “How do I measure effectiveness?” In order for a new initiative to be worth it, there must be quantifiable ROI, not only in the form of completion rates, but also through improved job performance.

The key is to boost awareness, inspire employees to register and complete their training, and to measure learning effectiveness. You can do this by combining learning and development with the recognition and rewards efforts you already have in place. By integrating two existing employee engagement efforts, you are one step closer to creating a powerful company culture fueled by the willingness and eagerness to learn. You also make it easy for employees to socialize their L&D course registrations amongst their peer group which further boosts engagement and more positive, long-term behavior change.

Many Kazoo customers are doing this today.

They’re using a feature called “Behavior Bonus” to integrate their professional development initiatives into Kazoo’s total engagement platform. Employees choose from a variety of learning initiatives within the rewards catalog and earn points based upon completion.

Some common L&D Behavior Bonuses we see include:

  • Redeem for an executive mentor session (earn 1,000 points)
  • Register and complete a specific training offering (earn 2,500 points)
  • Read an educational book and facilitate a lunch and learn over the topic (earn 2,500 points)
  • Take a half-day and shadow someone in another department (earn 1,500 points)

Our customers also incentivize behaviors related to wellness, sales performance, and community involvement.

Kazoo Behavior Bonus Learning & Development
 

You could also take a more organic approach like one of our customers and allow employees to come up with their own ideas for Behavior Bonuses based on their interests and let them self-report those behaviors. Admins can then choose to approve an employee’s request for a Behavior Bonus upon redemption and send points based on behaviors that employees are doing anyway.

To see this in action, let’s look at a company use case.

Background:

In an effort to make their employees “Better, Smarter and Operating at Full Speed,” this company invested in updating their existing training and development program to stay up to speed with the innovative technological solutions available today. The new initiative was a series of Leadership Training Courses to better engage employees and foster a culture of learning. It was a mix between social and collaborative training, online training courses and team mentoring sessions.

Long-term goals with the newly deployed initiative – They hope that employees…

  1. Come to the offered classes and training sessions
  2. Retain the information they just learned
  3. Exhibit better leadership qualities in their jobs
  4. Directly impact bottom-line performance

Challenge:

They didn’t know how to measure the effectiveness of the leadership training courses.

  • How do they know if the courses made employees better leaders?
  • How do they see that in action?
  • How do they sustain the behavior changes outside of the classroom?

The only way they knew how to measure ROI was by calculating how many curriculums were deployed, and how many people actually showed up for them. They knew this wasn’t the most effective way, but it’s really hard to get a bottom-line measure when trying to deploy new training across a 2,500 person company.

Approach:

  • They created custom “rewards” via Behavior Bonus to encourage enrollment and course completion. Employees redeem upon completion. Admin approves.
  • They integrated their existing LMS system, which houses training programs, with the Kazoo system through our API. Employees are auto-rewarded upon completion of courses. Additional recognition/rewards are automated upon completion of additional Leadership Training Courses.

Solution:

The company already has a captive audience within Kazoo, so announcing and encouraging enrollment in the new Leadership Training Courses was a breeze. When employees elect into training and complete the coursework, they automatically receive points and the completion is socialized on the public recognition feed. Now those hard-earned points can be redeemed for whatever motivates them the most.

What’s really powerful, is that now the training courses and newly developed skills are promoted and reinforced by peers and managers every day. This happens through constant, real-time feedback within the system because all employees are equipped with the Kazoo mobile app as well as a desktop version.

Kazoo Mobile Recognition Post Blank
Congratulations on completing the Six Sigma training Jennifer. Can’t wait to see how you apply your new skills to our data!

Another employee sees the recognition post and decides to sign up for the same Six Sigma training class.

Managers can easily see when new skills and behaviors are being lived out in the day-to-day and send additional recognition aligned with the learning objectives and core values.

It becomes an organic and self-perpetuating cycle of promoting learning and development offerings, reinforcing completion of coursework, and recognizing the new skill sets and behaviors linked to business objectives.

 

This is where true behavior change comes in – when you give real-time and relevant feedback when it matters.

 

YEI-mobile-stide-by-side-screens

Managers also saw several benefits:

  • They are using Kazoo as a better communication tool
  • They aren’t forcing employees to take training that they don’t care about
  • They are now more in tune with what employees actually care about

Now they can sustain engagement and behavior change long-term, which gives them a much better ROI.

 

(Keep in mind there is a simpler way to do this, which doesn’t involve an integration. Companies can also export a list of people who have completed the training and import that CSV file into Kazoo and then auto-recognize them with points.)

Kazoo makes it easy to spread the word and socialize learning and development courses through the public feed. The power of peer-to-peer virality is exhibited when employees see courses being completed and say, “Hey, I want to complete that course with you AND I get points for it? Sweet!” And for all the employees who didn’t know the courses even existed, you can incentivize them, too. When new skills are exhibited, managers (and peers) provide further reinforcement.

It’s a case of Total Employee Engagement in action. Employees are happy. Managers are happy. And most importantly, your bottom-line is happy.

To see how you can bring your health and wellness initiatives into Kazoo, read our recent post here.

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