Virtually every organization operates in a competitive environment that makes it challenging to secure and retain clients. At the same time, organizations are facing an increasingly competitive employment market, which makes attracting and retaining employees equally challenging.
Fortunately, for those that attend to their employees, there is a well-documented link between employee engagement and organizational success. This concept is called the service-profit chain and it documents the linkages between employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.
The service-profit chain works on the premise that profit and growth are driven by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction comes from the value of the services provided to customers. Value is created by engaged and productive employees. Therefore, efforts to increase employee engagement are the foundation of the service-profit chain, as they have a direct impact on the customer experience, customer loyalty—and these have a direct impact on organizational profit and growth.
Ultimately, this means focusing on the drivers of employee engagement has a direct impact on organizational success. Do what you can to win the war of attracting and retaining the right talent and you are on the way to winning the war for organizational success in a competitive business climate.
How Employee Skill Development Drives Employee Engagement
Employee skill development is the process where employees, with the support of their employer, go through professional training or participate in learning opportunities to improve their skills, increase their knowledge, and advance their careers.
Regular development initiatives can help keep employees engaged, motivated, and productive in their work. Not only that, but training and development of employee skills means a more highly skilled workforce that operates more efficiently and provides a better product. A demonstrated focus on learning and development also makes an organization more attractive to top talent, which continues to be challenging in today’s competitive market.
Benefits & Methods of Employee Skill Development at All Levels
Investing in employee skill development provides a double benefit, as employee skill building inherently increases productivity while at the same time increasing employee engagement. There are many ways to provide employees with skill building opportunities. For many employees, the most powerful skill development strategy is on-the-job training designed to expand or enhance the skills applicable to their current job. Cross-training that provides skill building in related jobs or in tasks that occur before or after the work the employee contributes to is another powerful development strategy that is usually considered money and time well spent.
Whether you focus on formal training courses or more informal development efforts, the value and impact come from a continued organizational focus and commitment to development. Both learning and the application of learnings takes time and requires effort over time. Episodic training efforts that are not relevant or reinforced are of little value but training and development efforts that are relevant and are reinforced can yield big returns in terms of increased productivity, performance, and engagement. Identifying and mobilizing subject matter experts, establishing mentoring relationships, and celebrating gains in proficiency and capability are all easy ways to help create a culture of learning and development.
Investing in the skill development of managers and leaders can yield even more powerful results as more effective leaders do a better job increasing the engagement and productivity of their employees. Developing leadership skills is especially important for front-line leaders as they have a big impact on the employee experience while often having limited formal support in developing leadership skills.
For more experienced leaders, professional coaching is an excellent way to provide targeted development. Whereas training is focused on the acquisition of skills or a set of skills, coaching is focused on refining and developing knowledge and skills. Professional coaching helps leaders hone the skills and behaviors needed to successfully lead and navigate in today’s dynamic business realities.
Given the competitive business climate that makes it challenging to secure and retain clients and the increasingly competitive employment market, forward-thinking organizations are embracing the outsized role employee development plays in increasing employee engagement, improving customer satisfaction, and driving financial performance. Investing in the development of your employees helps ensure they stay with you and helps your organization grow and thrive.