These days’ workers are looking for more than traditional benefits, vacation time and a one hour lunch break. They want to be engaged, challenged and feel like the company that they give so much of themselves to will give more than a paycheck. Since employee training and team building events are less expensive than employee turnovers, education, training and opportunities to offer a creative outlet are great ways to re-energize, empower and bring the best out of your workforce.

Benjamin Franklin

Our wise and witty founding Father once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” If this is true for general education, it yields the same result for continuing education. Stagnant employee minds can breed not only mediocre performance and work culture attitudes, but a mediocre financial outcome.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that 35% of workers consider professional development programs to be the top benefit offered by their employers and one of the most engaging.  Your people are your most important asset, so investing in their development is critical.  Two results of a Gallup research study recently caught our attention:

  • Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies $370 billion annually through lost productivity.
  • Engaged employees are 22 times more likely to be an advocate for their organization than disengaged employees.

Translation: the level of employee engagement has an incredible impact on your financial performance.

A Spark of Creativity

Another way to increase employee engagement would be to refresh their mindset.  Have you ever tried to solve a problem, complex or not, and found your mind blank, unable to solve much of anything? This may be because you are thinking too specifically and relying on past successes. Mixing up environments may help shake the thinking block. Harvard Business School Professor Michael Norton examined thinking and habit, “If you’ve done something the same way for 10 years, it might be time to reconsider.”

Providing employees with the opportunity to think and experience new events in areas that don’t have much to do with their job function, may actually help them with their job. Psychology professor Charlan Nemeth of the University of California at Berkeley has said that this “demonstrates that exposure to unfamiliar perspectives can foster creativity.” Company volunteering, workshops that appeal to the employee not their job description, and breaks throughout the day or work year allow the mind to wander, see situations in a new light and refresh the individual to perform their function with a fresh perspective.

To satisfy the whole person, increase employee retention and keep productivity operating on high levels, your workforce needs to know that you, their employer, want them to increase their knowledge and experience new challenges. Meaningful employment today is more than a job description, it’s a key to personal/ professional identity and purpose.


Author: Elyse Lopez