A whopping 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. There are a multitude of reasons why employees are not engaged – from a lack of challenging work to conflicts with management to a lack of growth and development opportunities.

Organizations are tasked with developing a plan of action to increase engagement levels. Because engagement matters. A workplace with high engagement levels retain employees longer and are more focused and productive to meet business goals.

Every employee is unique and has their own set of expectations and goals for their career. Internal teams are made up of people will varying skill sets, weaknesses and passions. A diverse workforce requires diverse training options.

Ensuring every employee receives the training they need to succeed is a complex undertaking for learning and development (L&D). But despite our best effort to develop and deploy engaging training experiences, knowledge retention and performance improvement ultimately rests on the learner.

The learner must sign up and attend the training. The learner must come with an open mind. The learner must apply the new skills on the job. The learner must want to learn. L&D can create the greatest training program, but the information is useless unless applied by the learner.

How do we get learners more excited about developing new skills? How do we engage and motivate the uninspired? Relevancy is the key – for the learner and the training function.

Training Relevancy

Before L&D can reach employees, the training function must be viewed as relevant to the success of the business. Learning professionals must obtain buy-in from senior business leaders who believe in the value that training brings the company. Buy-in from the C-suite provides the training function with budget and resources to develop learning opportunities for employees.

When training is viewed as relevant to the business and core to long-term success, a culture shift begins to happen. A culture is formed that champions learning and advocates for employee development. Skills will continue to evolve, and the training function must be at the forefront of those changes to prepare employees for the future of their role.

Learning Relevancy

If learning hinges on the learner, then L&D must clearly articulate the value of training to employees. Employees want to know what’s in it for them. They want to know if the training will lead to a potential promotion. They want to know how the training will impact their day-to-day work and how this training connects to overall business objectives.

Regardless if this may seem a little self-involved, it’s true. Employees have a lot on their plate and adding another to-do to that never-ending list can be overwhelming. When learners can see the big picture, they’re more likely to be invested in working toward that vision. Today’s employees want to grow and develop and providing training that is relevant to their job role will increase engagement and improve productivity. The more engaged learners are in the training the higher the likelihood that they will apply those skills back on the job.

Bringing It All Together

Having a toolbox full of training methods to deliver learning is a wonderful thing but learning without purpose will not stick.  Training must be anchored to the goals of the business and tailored to improve the efficiency and performance of the company’s employees in meeting those objectives.

Focusing on relevancy can help L&D professionals develop a more robust learning culture by advocating for the value of training and creating better training programs that target the skills learners need to excel in their role – now and in the future.