Employee Engagement: How HR and L&D Can Help

Employee engagement has always been a major challenge for organisations, however, since the pandemic began, this big-ticket item has been pushed even further down the list of priorities as businesses have had to adjust to the new world of hybrid work.

While low levels of employee engagement aren’t abnormal, studies show that the level of employee engagement in the UK sits at a dismal 11% in contrast to 20% of employees globally. This means organisations around the world are missing out on incredible opportunities to turn disengaged employees into motivated and loyal members of staff.

The good news is this is where HR and L&D professionals can help.

So, whether you’re in the people profession yourself or you’re a manager interested in upping your employee engagement game, here’s how HR and L&D can help increase employee engagement and improve your bottom line.

employee on phone

Why is employee engagement important? 

Employee engagement is important because, at a fundamental level, it’s about the relationship between employer and employee.

It’s about having a clear understanding of an organisation’s goals and objectives and how they’re fulfilled while also giving a voice to employees that will be taken into account as big decisions are made.

This enables employees to feel valued and proud of where they work, enabling them to commit to the company’s values and remain motivated for their personal and organisational success.


How can HR help? 

While every department should be responsible for executing its own employee engagement measures, HR departments are the key to making sure these employee engagement approaches are successful in any organisation.

Employee engagement is about creating a work environment of more loyal and committed employees which, if done properly, will result in higher employee retention rates, a reduction in employee turnover and absences, and an increase in overall productivity.

To help make this possible, HR professionals need to get comfortable juggling a varying number of roles. These include:

Executive Leader

HR professionals should take on an active role in executive leadership in order to effectively champion employee engagement. This means that if you’re an HR leader, you’ll want to invest some time in identifying ways to improve engagement tactics.
This includes maintaining transparency and understanding in regards to what the company expects for each employee as well as communicating employees’ expectations of the organisation to business leaders.

Employee Engagement Experts

It’s a no-brainer that HR professionals need to become experts in what employee engagement is to make sure it’s dealt with efficiently.
This means understanding what methods best drive employee engagement, how these tactics can be measured, and what steps need to be taken to improve engagement approaches over time as remote and hybrid working increases.

Activities Advocate

While employee engagement is a vital (and serious) element of an organisation’s success, it’s also part of HR’s job to advocate for activities that will spark enthusiasm, excitement, and inspiration at work.
By implementing employment engagement activities and practices (i.e. holiday parties, learning lunches, recognition programmes, and team-building activities), HR can help cultivate a workplace that values the individual contributions of each employee while emphasising the positive results of productive collaboration.


When taking on the role of gatekeeper, HR holds the key to unlocking the necessary information that helps track the effectiveness of employee engagement.
This means carrying out regular surveys and department check-ins that will aid in helping to organise and implement specific action plans for the organisation rather than relying solely on its data analytics and KPIs.

Instead, a gatekeeper must place the most emphasis on what workplace methods most positively influence employee engagement as this is what most highly influences workplace productivity while also focusing on the betterment of employees.


How can L&D help? 

In conjunction with HR, L&D professionals can help employee engagement rates by, first and foremost, being enthusiastic advocates for employee development.

People want to work for organisations that support employees and invest their time in them, subsequently making them feel valued and engaged at work.

To this end, L&D plays a big role in training, guiding, and coaching employees - all of which are especially important post-pandemic being that a high level of upskilling and reskilling is now necessary to close the glaring skills gaps that came with many organisations having to adapt to remote and hybrid working.

Some additional ways that L&D managers and teams can foster a workplace with employee engagement at the forefront include:

  • Inserting the organisation’s brand and values at the core of all training and career development opportunities.
  • Focusing on pinpointing the desired learning culture (i.e. in sync with business goals and employee engagement tactics). 
  • Working with HR to invest in the necessary training tools and technology to enable employees to develop effectively and efficiently.
  • Listen, respond, and empower employees throughout training and development to cultivate a culture of mutual trust between leaders and teams.

All of these points not only contribute to improved performance management, innovation and enhanced employee engagement levels, but to employees’ wellbeing and their sense of belonging at work as well.


In conclusion, for an organisation to effectively manage highly engaged employees, their actions must be consistent with their values. This ensures that employees will respect and feel inspired by their employers and work hard to build the organisation up to be the best that it can be.

While it’s true that this is no easy feat, together HR and L&D can help make businesses thrive and employees flourish.

Interested in stepping up your HR and L&D strategies? Learn the flexible way and enrol on a 100% online CIPD programme with us today to get started. 

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