Does Your Training Have Meaning?

By: Catherine Davis

The article is the result of a collaborative inquiry begun by our Good Things Initiative team leaders Andrei Hedstrom and Brooking Gatewood. Together we have worked to integrate a meaning of work aspect into our training designs where-ever possible. Read on to find out why we are so excited about this win-win training solution!

Today in the U.S., people are expressing their concern and caring about the planet and about corporate citizenship. They want their work to have purpose and meaning, and they want to work in organizations that are purpose-driven and that value sustainability. According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies will become mission-driven companies. Many businesses are going back to their roots. They are no longer solely focused on making a profit. Instead, they are focusing more on how to use their organizational resources, skills, and power to give back to the community.

Employees Demand Meaningful Work

One of the key drivers of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities is employee demand. Employees want meaningful jobs. This is especially true for Millennials. Companies that provide meaningful work have loyal employees. Their employees are also more engaged in their work. Of employees who are satisfied with their employer’s CSR activities, 86 percent have high levels of engagement (Sirota, 2007).

A 2011 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study notes these top benefits of CSR:
  1. Improved employee morale
  2. More efficient business processes
  3. Stronger public image
  4. Increased employee loyalty
  5. Increased brand recognition
In that same study, 49 percent of company leaders said CSR was very important for attracting top talent, and 40 percent said the same for employee retention. As more Millennials enter the workforce, these numbers are only going to increase.

Given how important CSR is for employee engagement, and how valuable engaged employees are for the bottom line, it’s quite surprising that companies are not communicating to their own employees about all the Good Things they’re doing! A 2010 PSR branding survey indicated that more than half of employees did not know whether or not their company had CSR practices! This gap between employee engagement and CSR can be bridged with good training.

Emotional Connection is a Win-Win For Companies and Their Employees

At SweetRush, we’re excited about this trend. Bringing CSR and meaningful work into our training programs is a win-win opportunity. From the learning and training perspective, learners who are emotionally connected to content learn and retain more. An emotional connection makes learning “stick,” and awareness about a company’s sustainability, responsibility, and citizenship creates positive emotions in employees. Incorporating this awareness into training helps to emotionally engage employees in the learning experience and, more broadly, in their job. Believing that their work supports the greater good is also good for employee morale.

How to Integrate “The Meaning of Work” into Training

SweetRush strives to make an emotional connection with every training program we design. Part of the SweetRush methodology is a values-based approach to instructional design: We identify meaning and purpose that can help learners connect with their work and the learning experience. SweetRush integrates the “meaning of the work” aspect into our training projects whenever possible. Some areas we address include:
  • How do the organization’s products or services provide benefit to people, the environment, or the community?
  • How is the organization involved in corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as safety, environmental resources, and local community issues?
  • How can the content of the training help the employee contribute to the greater good?
Whether they are developing e-learning, instructor-led, or virtual training programs, SweetRush instructional designers and project managers collaborate with our clients to bring CSR to life within our courses. Are you ready to take this step with us?

Photo Credit: HASLOO via Compfight cc

ID career ebook rockstar

Catherine Davis is SweetRush’s Instructional Design Practice Lead. You can read more strategies and tips from Catherine in her free eBook: How to be an Instructional Design Rock Star: Learn the ropes from a corporate training veteran and supercharge your career!

Get it here:

No Comments

Be the first to start the conversation.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Other posts by this author

31+ Mobile Learning Tips for Instructional Designers
There’s a shift happening in the world of instructional design, and the new kid in town is mobile learning. Well, he’s hardly the new kid anymore—he’s set up shop and customers are pretty excited about what he’s got to offer. Learning anywhere, anytime? Sign us up! As the instructional designer next door, you are in...
Read More >
Tips for writing audio narration - rock your next audio script
“Are you ready? Let’s get started!” Audio has always been a core element of e-learning, and today — with the rise of avatars, games, simulations, podcasts, and m-learning — it plays an even more integral role. Tasked with writing both the text on screen and audio scripts, it can be easy for instructional designers to...
Read More >
Storytelling Story Instructional Design
What makes content engaging? Courses need to sparkle, or your message goes in one ear and out the other. We add stories to help capture the imagination. That’s a great start. Then we add an avatar coach to guide us and provide narration. Nice idea. It feels like we need to connect the dots and...
Read More >
Reaping the benefits of virtual training part II
Every time I get on a video call, I chuckle over the old joke about news anchors never wearing pants behind the news desk. Jokes aside, using video to communicate during a virtual training (vILT) session is one creative way to keep learners engaged. In part one of Reaping the Benefits of Virtual Training, I...
Read More >
Working with Remote Instructional Designers
Many of us dream of working at home: sucking down coffee all day, sporting a baggy t-shirt and ponytail (or even Einstein hair). We can research, brainstorm detailed designs, and have our storyboard writing spurts without interruption. However, for some instructional designers (IDs) who have worked for many years at an office, large or small,...
Read More >
Using Social Media in Classroom Learning
Instructional designers: Do you have a “friend” in Facebook? Integrating social media into performance improvement is a hot topic, but how do you make sure your techniques get plenty of “likes” from learners? ASTD’s T+D magazine featured an article by Dan Steer, Improve Formal Learning with Social Media (note: you must be a member to...
Read More >
Life seemed a lot more challenging before having that virtual portal to the world at my fingertips — the Internet. Everything took so long, and I had to really work to obtain information! Driving an hour through snowdrifts to locate the only copy of academic journals in the tri-county area; muddling through mazes of dimly...
Read More >
Reaping the Benefits of Virtual Training, Part One
At one time, I rolled around with a trunk full of software manuals and other training materials. As expected, these quickly became obsolete and eventually met their maker at a beachside bonfire. Yes, prior to 2002, I spent a significant amount of time on the road, delivering software training. After 9/11, based on budgets, an...
Read More >
Mobile Learning Strategy Tablets Smartphones
This post was written with the support of our Director of Engineering, Misha Milshtein. Misha helps support our clients with innovative ideas that bring their visions to life! Here we are, right in the middle of mobile learning (or m-learning) revolution, taking our learning on the go. But even if learning can be done on...
Read More >
training meaning meaningful work
The article is the result of a collaborative inquiry begun by our Good Things Initiative team leaders Andrei Hedstrom and Brooking Gatewood. Together we have worked to integrate a meaning of work aspect into our training designs where-ever possible. Read on to find out why we are so excited about this win-win training solution! Today...
Read More >
“Do you work for the county ‘ID-ing’ bodies?” Such a response is accompanied by a furrowed brow from a perplexed individual when I respond to the question: “What do you do for a living?” I’ve learned to leave the term “ID” out of the equation and give a simple answer. Those of us in the...
Read More >