Employee engagement is an important part of any industry, especially manufacturing. Broadly defined, employee engagement is when employees feel passionate about their jobs and put effort into their work. It is also defined by how committed they are to the organization.

However, according to Gallup, manufacturing workers are the least engaged occupation with three-quarters of employees being disengaged. Not a good statistic, especially when considering that companies with engaged employees outperform those without engaged employees by 202 percent.

Engagement versus Satisfaction

“Employee engagement” and “employee satisfaction” are often used interchangeably, however they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Satisfied employees are content with their jobs and their work environment. Engaged employees, on the other hand, are passionate and committed to their jobs. They are more likely to go above and beyond in their work.

Engaged employees want to develop their skills and excel at their jobs. Professional development is a major component for many up-and-coming workers. A Robert Half and Enactus study noted that 91 percent of Generation Z workers (workers born after 1996) cite professional training as an important factor when choosing an employer.

As reported by Inward Strategic Consulting, 54 percent of manufacturing employees note a lack of motivation as a daily challenge and feel undervalued. But 72 percent say that better and more up-to-date technology systems would help them feel more engaged in the business.

Engagement and Training

One way that employers can improve engagement is through upskilling. Upskilling is the idea of providing opportunities to employees to advance their skills in order for them to fill more in demand jobs of the future, such as understanding and troubleshooting advanced automated equipment in plants. The benefit to workers is they can use the training to develop professionally and be able to further their careers.

While this appears to be a win-win situation, businesses must carefully consider the type of training provided for upskilling. The training system must not only effectively transfer the lessons and material needed to learn a particular skill, but also must be engaging to keep workers motivated to learn. One possible solution to this is to employ an innovative training system, like 3D simulation training software.

The Case for Simulated Training

Simulated training has many benefits. For electrical troubleshooters, for example, it offers a safe and engaging environment that mimics real-world settings without the inherit danger. Gamified training increases retention rates and is more effective than classroom training. Whereas more traditional teaching methods, such as via a classroom, provide passive learning experiences, simulated training provides hands-on practice where trainees can learn about a variety of scenarios in one convenient location.

By providing opportunities for employees to attain new skills, management shows they are interested in their workers’ professional development. An investment in training can also demonstrate that an employee is valued by the company. Plus, better trained employees perform better and can increase productivity by being more engaged in their jobs, which makes an investment in employees a sound company investment.

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