How to make employees feel valued

Ramesh Ramani encourages us to develop training strategies that make employees feel valued before it’s too late

Employees want to feel seen. They want to feel valued. And they want to feel like their work matters at a higher level. McKinsey recently reported a record number of employees are quitting their jobs or thinking about doing so. More than 15 million workers in the US quit their jobs between April and September of 2021. In the last few months, trend scouts have even said that quitting your job is a new form of self-care.

But this mass exodus is a costly trend for companies; 40% of employees said they’re somewhat likely to quit their jobs in the next 2-6 months. In the US the 40% of employees that quit in the last six months did so without a job lined up. McKinsey calls it ‘The Great Attrition’ and predicts that it will only continue to grow.

So why are employees leaving? According to their findings, McKinsey said there’s a disconnect between what employees want and what their employers think they want. 

Companies should invest in app-based training tools that correspond with the platforms their employees already use

Employees want to feel valued by their companies, they want to feel a sense of belonging, they want flexible work schedules, and they want opportunities for advancement. According to the studies, employers don’t seem to place the same value on these factors. Both employees and employers are aligned in that both believe work-life balance is essential for keeping employees around, but employers seem to think that most employees’ decisions to leave are based on finances or simply finding better offers elsewhere.

With this information available, it’s essential that companies take a proactive approach to retaining their employees by providing flexible workplaces, opportunities for growth, and a collaborative and community-based office culture.

Those three goals can be achieved through one shift: intentional training initiatives that are adaptable, engaging, and provide employees new opportunities to learn and grow.

Implement training where employees are located 

Employees want flexibility. Post-pandemic, many companies have embraced hybrid or remote work environments. This is becoming the standard that employees want, and it requires that employers understand the needs employees have in order to be successful. Companies can make moves to boost employee loyalty by providing training tools that set them up for success.

Learning platforms, mostly legacy platforms, are out-of-date and don’t meet the modern employees’ needs. Systems require multiple apps to run a course, or they are, quite simply, very boring and require employees to watch a video or click through presentation slides for hours on end. Outdated training tools won’t help employees succeed, and they’ll only increase frustration.

In order to retain employees, companies should invest in app-based training tools that correspond with the platforms their employees already use. Slack, Salesforce and Microsoft Teams are some of the most popular workplace apps in the market (regardless of industry). Companies should prioritise training tools that correspond or integrate with these applications. This makes the platforms more flexible for everyday use and encourages employees to complete training. It reduces context switching and promotes completion because the content is readily available within the employee’s everyday workflow. A parent who works from home could start their training at their home office and continue listening to training tools while waiting for their child at soccer practice by using a mobile version of the learning management software.

Support employees’ needs beyond the office

This is where McKinsey found a significant disconnect between what employees’ value and what employers think their employees’ value: the future of their careers at the company. Modern employees aren’t necessarily leaving their companies because of inadequate pay, they’re leaving because they don’t see opportunities for advancement.

Companies can provide a clear trajectory for their employees by offering steps for advancement through the training tools they use. Of course, every career advancement requires experience, further training, and perhaps even a set of certifications. Smart digital learning management systems can be the medium through which employers provide opportunities for advancement.

Using AI-based technology, employers can encourage employees to expand their knowledge by offering further training or certification courses through a learning management system. The AI technology comes into play here as data is collected about the employee’s learning behaviours. The platform can automatically recommend new courses based on an employee’s job title, their experience level, the courses their peers are taking, or even their interests. Companies can create a course catalogue that includes everything from industry standard training to leadership courses or mental health educational tools.

These courses take care of the whole employee, showing them that the company is willing to invest in them now and in their future, in their personal and professional development. The end goal of training is that employees feel valued, not just for their output, but for their potential, for their own skills or traits, and for the opportunities ahead of them.

Provide opportunities for connection and collaboration

Above anything else, McKinsey found that employees leave companies because they don’t feel valued or that they belong in their company. However, employers don’t believe that this is what makes employees leave. The challenge with this disconnect is that it is less tangible. Creating a sense of belonging takes multiple steps and perhaps even a shift in company culture.

Employers can begin fostering a collaborative culture in the way that they train their teams. From the start, employers can create collaborative onboarding experiences that give employees opportunities to interact with their peers and leaders. The next generation of learning management systems will provide companies with opportunities to encourage connection by including interactive elements within each course and creating easy-to-access collaborative tools, like forums or video calls, all within a single platform delivered through the same extensible apps employees use daily.

Employees want to be connected to their team members, even if they aren’t working side by side in an office. Companies can build loyalty, encourage camaraderie, and improve retention by providing employees these opportunities in every aspect of their jobs, from onboarding to everyday processes to upskilling.

This is a critical moment for companies everywhere. Employees are considering leaving their jobs to find places where they will feel like they belong, know that they are valued, and see a future for themselves. When companies invest in proper training tools that assist employees from their first day through their career, they encourage loyalty and show employees that they matter beyond a paycheck. 

Ramesh Ramani is CEO and president of ExpertusONE


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