Get Personal(ized) with Employee Engagement and Professional Development

Internal brand loyalty can be earned through better content, innovation, and real connection.

In a changing world where the influx of online content competes with company communications for employee attention, it is even more important to interact with potential recruits, as well as new and tenured employees on a personal level. This helps to build trust with organizational leadership, foster an engaging company culture, and provide value for employees through personalized internal communication and professional development. Personalized connections established through direct connections—either in person or digitally—can help boost retention and make employees feel like part of the big picture, which contributes to successful business.

The foundation of learning is interaction, whether that means between people (employees), the work itself, or onboarding and training new hires. This article will highlight how getting personal(ized) with employee engagement promotes professional development and benefits the bottom line for businesses.

Interaction with People

Personal interaction between employees and company leadership fosters a sense of emotional connection and makes employees feel like their supervisors and executives care about them not only as workers but also as people. These significant human connections also create opportunities for employees to share feedback with management and exchange professional development skills through frequent and direct communication and relationship building.

When employees are able to understand the “big picture” from their bosses of what successful business looks like, and contribute to those goals and objectives, it fosters a sense of community and an engaging internal company culture. It also drives retention and indirect revenue and growth through positive human interaction.

To connect with employees emotionally, company leadership should remember to show their human side by opening up about their fallibility or personal lives to earn employees’ respect and goodwill, as well as train and equip supervisors and managers to demonstrate their appreciation for team members in ways big and small.

Interaction with Internal Company Content

Not only is it important for leadership to connect with employees on a personal level, equally as critical for collecting valuable feedback and personalizing internal communications is interacting through engaging company content to understand what employees are interested in learning more about, creating a “customer-centric” experience for employees at work.

Interactive content allows companies to collect data from those interactions, along with insights on how employees are engaging with the messages to better understand what is resonating with employees and further personalize internal content and communications to deliver a more interesting and relevant experience.

Additionally, interactivity adds another element of indirect employee feedback in that employees don’t necessarily need to voice thoughts and opinions to management teams directly. Rather, their actions are measured “digitally” by tracking how they navigate through the content based on personal preference, individual interests, and choice. This allows organizations to measure success when it comes to engaging employees and continue to improve internal communications based on key audience insights gleaned from content interactions.

Understanding how employees are engaging with company content not only helps improve internal communications, it also provides a deeper look at the existing company culture to inform recruitment strategies and attract new hires who understand the business and want to become part of a healthy, collaborative work culture. This component of internal organizational culture is of particular importance for recruiting the younger generation of Millennial employees who have come to expect an engaging work environment from a digitally integrated organization.

Interaction with Onboarding, Training, and Learning Materials

Perhaps one of the most neglected but critical aspects of employee engagement is personalizing onboarding, training, and learning materials to accommodate employees’ different learning styles and professional development interests.

It is no secret that everyone learns differently, so why would companies continue using the same (sometimes boring and outdated) onboarding materials and training assets for every employee, especially when those tools haven’t been updated or improved in ages?

Recent survey data shows nearly three out of four employees (74 percent) have forgotten some or all of the last mandatory training they completed, and 65 percent believe their company could have done a better job onboarding them. Effective job training and continued education are not only key prerequisites for professional advancement, they are also valuable when it comes to employees’ sense of personal fulfillment.

Many organizations continue using stale and outdated training tactics and wonder why employees aren’t as effective as they otherwise could be. But the problem isn’t with employees’ capacity for information retention; it’s that they’re bored to death by irrelevant, dry company training assets.

Interactivity in onboarding and training content allows companies to personalize professional development materials to appeal to diverse employee interests and accommodate different learning styles. It is especially important to adopt the most critical mandatory trainings to allow employees to choose how they learn best, which ultimately contributes to better information retention.

According to a 2015 report by Training magazine, managers already are adopting new formats and methods of training to both improve employee satisfaction and increase effectiveness. By allowing employees to choose their preferred way of learning, companies can be more effective in boosting information retention and providing professional development opportunities to foster internal brand loyalty.

As the workforce continues to evolve and change in response to an increasingly digital world, businesses are faced with the challenge of cultivating a genuine and lasting sense of internal brand loyalty among employees by creating personal connections through authentic interaction, both in person and digitally. Internal brand loyalty can be earned through better content, innovation, and real connection.

Erika Trautman is the founder and CEO of Rapt Media, a leader in groundbreaking interactive video technology. For more information, visit http://www.raptmedia.com.

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