In trying to tailor learning and development to produce business results, many times it is a shotgun approach which results in creating a lot of learning activities while hoping an impact is made by engaging the employees. Though engagement may increase, it is not an efficient approach and the true impact is unknown. Caterpillar sought to determine the true impact of learning and development on engagement through a study of every business unit.
Through studying the best practices of 30 business divisions, a clear correlation existed between learning and development scores and employee engagement. The results showed that those with high learning and development scores also had high engagement scores. Similarly, those with average or low learning and development scores had lower engagement scores. The study has proven that learning contributes to about 45% of total employee engagement.
Though intuition would agree with this result, this groundbreaking and important study numerically describes the impact of learning and development. Combined with a further study on the effect of employee engagement on discretionary effort, which showed that an engaged employee offers 20-25% more discretionary effort, the direct link from learning to engagement and discretionary effort can be seen to have powerful effects on a business’ bottom line.
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“In my particular case, I certainly care about the HR functions, but that’s not why I wake up every day. I care about advancing the ball down the field with our people’s professional development skills and knowledge. You guys focus 100% on the learning piece, and that’s what I like.”Jim StewartCLO, Teradata