Creating a culture where employees feel valued is arguably one of the most important things you can do to push a business forward and keep it successful. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to perform better, stay motivated and continue their career at your company.
However, when companies fail to create a company culture where their employees feel valued at work, they face increased risk of low employee engagement and high turnover. In order to prevent that, employers must actively engage with their teams to create a happy and productive work environment. This is especially crucial during training and development, because engagement is known to increase learner retention and motivation to learn new skills. Here are a few ways learning and development (L&D) can create a company culture that makes employees feel valued.
1. Encourage and prioritize work-life balance.
Creating a company culture where employees feel valued at work starts with encouraging and prioritizing and reemphasizing a work-life balance. Not doing so can result in employees feeling burnt out, drained and overwhelmed. It can also lead to employees working more than what they are compensated for, which can exacerbate feelings of burnout, exhaustion and even resentment.
Company leaders should communicate with their employees and check their workloads on a regular basis to ensure that work is manageable and within the scope of their employees’ jobs. If employees are doing more work than usual, they either need to be paid overtime or the company needs to consider hiring additional employees. Company leaders should also emphasize the importance of taking breaks and paid time off (PTO). Throughout the training and development process, define and acknowledge the importance of mental wellness, rest and a proper work-life balance.
2. Actively listen to learners.
While actively listening to learners’ training and work needs may seem simple and self-explanatory, it’s an underutilized tool when it comes to business operations, particularly in training. It can also be an important way to understand the general sentiment of the team as well as look for opportunities and areas to improve. Throughout the employee lifecycle, from onboarding to training, to promotions and exit interviews, actively listening to your employees is crucial for long-term business success, employee retention and even business growth. By listening to learners, you can promote a human-centric work culture that strives to facilitate L&D opportunities that meets modern employee expectations.
3. Allow new ideas to be heard and acknowledged.
Employees who feel acknowledged and sought out for answers have a better chance at feeling connected to their work. Feeling heard by their organization can allow employees to become their authentic selves and comfortable suggesting new ideas. When employees are shut down and ignored, or their ideas are largely rejected, they can be less likely to offer ideas in the future.
All employees, regardless of their role or official title, have something to offer. Many of those ideas can be great for the business, and more importantly, many unspoken ideas could be transformative for the business. But when employees believe their ideas are being shunned, they may be unlikely to voice them in the future. Creating a work environment that is conducive to hearing new ideas and potential solutions for business success is beneficial to both employees and leaders.
4. Design an effective mentorship program.
Mentorship and coaching programs can provide seamless training experiences. Not only can it help further employees’ professional development, but also enable networking, one-on-one learning experiences and team building. However, if not done properly, it can lead to mentors and/or coaches feeling overwhelmed and inconvenienced. To prevent that, mentorship programs should be created in advance, with input from existing team members about duration and depth of training as well as fair compensation.
5. Acknowledge successes.
Acknowledging employee success is another critical key to making people feel valued. This is especially important during training. Acknowledging personal or professional wins can encourage employees to contribute toward business success. Businesses and leaders who fail to acknowledge their team members’ successes can lead to a culture of “why bother” rather than a culture that is grounded in healthy and positive communication.
All of these best practices may seem small and seemingly self-explanatory, but so many leaders fail to do these on a regular basis. Even if they think they are, it may not be as often as necessary or as clear. Encouraging and prioritizing a work-life balance, actively listening, internally promoting, listening and following new ideas and acknowledging successes are all critical ways to improve work culture, at any level.
For new employees in onboarding, these are crucial to laying successful groundwork for a healthy work environment that is mutually beneficial for both the employee and the company. For seasoned employees, following these tips can ensure they remain happy, engaged and ready to achieve their goals. Now more than ever, companies are eager to hire and keep skilled employees, but to do that they need to be a company that people want to work for. This starts by going back to the beginning and prioritizing a healthy work culture where employees feel valued.