Learning Cultures Drive Short and Long-Term Employee Motivation and Commitment
Corporate cultures for continuous learning and development promote critical employee motivation, work enjoyment and long-term career commitment according to new research by Great Place to Work®.
Drawing on Trust Index© employee survey results from hundreds of organizations in the 2017 Best Workplaces in Canada Recognition program, cultures for continuous learning and development were rated most strongly on formal and informal learning and development and career advancement, including:
- Training and development for professional advancement
- Delegating a lot of responsibility on the job
- Being open to honest mistakes as part of doing business
- Awarding promotions to employees who most deserve them
In terms of impacts, the strongest cultures for continuous learning and development were found to be most effective in promoting:
- “Intrinsic” employee motivation, i.e., “feelings of making a difference” and “work having special meaning not just a job”
- Day-to-day work enjoyment, i.e., “looking forward to coming to work here”; and,
- Long-term commitment, i.e., “wanting to work here for a long time”
In the analysis above, participating organizations were categorized into quartiles based on the strength of their cultures for continuous learning and development. On average, the top quartile cultures significantly outperformed the low quartile cultures by between +15% to +23% on key aspects of short and long-term employee motivation and by +24% overall. The stronger the cultures for learning and development the stronger employee intrinsic motivation, workplace enjoyment, and long-term commitment to careers with the enterprise.
A RICH Mix of Formal and Informal Practices is Best
Our research further reveals that the underlying management practices of strong cultures for continuous learning and development have varying impacts on employee motivation and engagement; and, that integrating a mix of both formal and informal learning, development and career advancement practices will be best.
More specifically, statistical correlations show that delegating a lot of responsibility on the job and promoting a style of management that accepts honest mistakes as part of the business are more instrumental to intrinsic employee motivation, e.g., feelings of job meaning and personal impact; day-to-day work enjoyment; and, long-term career commitment, than more formal training and development programs.
*Average correlations with intrinsic motivation, work enjoyment and long-term career commitment
As noted in the chart above, accepting honest mistakes and fair promotion practices each correlate over .80 with multiple aspects of employee motivation and engagement (i.e., intrinsic motivation, day-to-day work enjoyment, and long-term career commitment), whereas more formal training and development correlates only .66.
While the impacts of each learning and development practice are statistically significant, R-O-I will be greatest when integrating a rich mix of formal and informal learning and development and career advancement programs and practices. Within this mix, concentrating most heavily on promoting a supportive management style, delegating a lot of responsibility and ensuring fair promotion practices will have significantly greater impact than more formal training and development programs.
STRONG LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT CULTURES HAVE MORE CAREER MOTIVATED EMPLOYEES
Our research also assessed the primary motivational composition of participating organizations’ workforces. As indicated in the following chart, organizations named to the 2017 Best Workplaces for Learning and Development attract and retain 5% more professional and career advancement driven employees than all other participating organizations, i.e., 30% vs. 25%. Indeed, this is the single largest motivational segment of workforces in strong learning and development cultures, e.g., nearly triple the size of the job security driven motivational segment.
Our research further found that the 2017 Best Workplaces for Learning & Development are better meeting the motivational needs of their professional and career advancement driven employees (85% positive) vs. all other participating organizations (78% positive).
Clearly, the top workplaces for learning and development are having greater success in attracting, motivating and retaining this key workforce segment of upwardly mobile, growth oriented employees.
Build People Capabilities and Commitment through a Breadth of Approaches
In summary, workplaces cultures for continuous learning and development foster strong intrinsic motivation, day-to-day work enjoyment and long-term career commitment among employees. They also better meet the needs of their most upwardly mobile, growth oriented employees resulting in stronger attraction, motivation and retention of this key talent segment.
While on-the-job delegation of responsibility and supportive management styles more strongly influence employee motivation and engagement than formal training & development, integrating a mix of formal and informal L&D and fair promotion practices will have an even greater overall impact.