Posted on November 15, 2017
Boosting employee engagement is a key goal for many learning and development (L&D) teams. But how can L&D leaders gauge how well they are doing on learning & development programs at their organization as it relates to engagement? Regular employee feedback surveys offer a mechanism for L&D leaders to understand how well they are doing.
However, the problem with many employee engagement surveys is that they are not crafted well. Most employee feedback platforms provide ready-made engagement survey templates, giving you a place to start. However, it’s still important to understand why certain questions are being asked, and generally what it means to get a high or low score for each question type. Knowing what questions to ask and how to word them to avoid bias or incorrect data is a minefield that we can help you with.
At Culture Amp we focus on giving HR Teams one place to manage their employee surveys, analyze results, and take action on the data. We recently shared the science and rationale behind 20 of our best employee engagement survey questions (collected from over 1,000 companies), so you can start crafting your own survey with confidence.
Here are three key learning & development questions you might want to include on your next feedback survey and why they are important.
People are more committed to organizations that invest in them personally and professionally. When we explored how learning and development impacts retention at new technology organizations, we found that employees who stayed at their companies were 24% more likely to say they have access to the learning and development they needed.
For the question on “access to learning and development” we typically see scores in the moderate 65%-75% range. This figure (and the scores that follow) are based on Culture Amp’s ‘All Industry’ benchmark data, which we compile from multiple industries across more than 1,000 customers.
A score in this range means that most people feel satisfied with the learning and development support they receive. Scores below this benchmark indicate a lack of learning and development opportunities. If your company scores below the range you may want to dig deeper into why this is the case. If you provide learning and development resources, maybe you aren’t tying them well to employee needs or maybe it’s static classroom instruction that is not accessible in the moment of need. Low scores below 50% suggest your organization will likely need to rethink its L&D programs.
Providing employees with learning and development opportunities can affect how they feel about overall career opportunities at your company. The wording on this question is important to note as well, because the ask is about opportunities in general, not necessarily just those that mean moving up a level. When you provide learning resources for people related to their current job, as well as give them a chance to learn the skills needed for a horizontal move, you’re helping them grow holistically.
Benchmark scores for this question usually show that 60%-70% of employees agree that there are good career opportunities for them. Falling below this range can signify that people’s perceptions of career opportunities are low, or that there need to be more growth opportunities available at your organization in general. To boost the scores on this question, it’s not enough to just provide learning and development resources. Instead, learning must be closely tied to employees’ career development plans so they have visibility into the end-goal of learning.
This question focuses on a much broader concept of development beyond the confines of your company or a person’s role. It’s about your organization making a contribution to an employee’s development in their craft or industry. For example, if an employee is a software developer, your organization could provide an industry-leading mentor or coach, offer access to unlimited online learning resources like Udemy for Business, or fund regular professional conferences. This helps prepare employees to become an expert in their field, not just excel within their day-to-day roles.
Looking at our Culture Amp data, we see this question as one of the top drivers of engagement across all of the industries we work with, and it has a higher score range of 70%-80%. A low score here could mean your L&D programs are too narrowly focused on helping employees fill skills gaps in their current roles, rather than thinking more broadly about shaping them in their profession. You should run a follow up survey to understand their learning & development needs as it relates to their industry or profession and use this feedback to create new programs.
While learning and development is key for employee engagement, there are other factors that are important to explore. Leadership, enablement, and alignment all influence employee engagement. In any employee engagement survey, asking questions that cover the entire range of employee engagement is important. Learn why we’re particular about survey scales (and why you should be too) and read about 17 other employee engagement survey questions we recommend. At the end of the day, if you’re trying to boost engagement at your organization, the first step is to get to the bottom of what’s working and what’s not through well-crafted employee surveys.