Blog Post

Why Employee Enablement is Critical to Company Success

Geri Morgan
April 11, 2024
Employee Enablement blog thumbnail

Once upon a time, employees had little, if any, say in their organization’s future. But the relationship between employer and worker has changed dramatically—especially in recent years. 

In an era of social media and increasingly viral HR snafus, companies live or die by public perception. People are no longer company “cogs,” but captains who help steer the ship. Do right by those people, and you guarantee better outcomes for your clients and the business at large.

Employee enablement is the secret sauce that helps organizations succeed. Read on to learn why employee enablement is so critical—and get tips to measure and improve it.

What is Employee Enablement?

Employee enablement is the act of giving employees the tools and resources they need to do their work effectively. Forms of employee enablement range from job training and employee education to compensation (e.g., promotions) and benefits (e.g., commuter reimbursements).

Investing in employee enablement means making continuous improvements to the employee experience—and empowering employees to bring their best selves to work each day. Achieve that feat, and you’ll make work easier, more fulfilling, and more productive for all involved.

Employee Enablement vs. Employee Engagement: What’s the Difference?

Employee engagement describes the level of commitment a person has to their work and organization. When people are engaged, it means they feel a sense of job satisfaction, whether intrinsically motivated (e.g., doing fulfilling work) or extrinsically motivated (e.g., being paid well). According to Gallup, engaged workplaces tend to experience lower turnover, fewer quality defects, improved customer loyalty, and greater profitability.

Employee enablement is a more recent term, but one that’s equally important. Whereas engagement helps you gauge how committed an employee is to your organization, enablement is the act of actually building that loyalty. A disengaged employee doesn’t magically become engaged; they must be given the resources and support they need (training from their manager, benefits from HR, etc.) to bring their best self to work each day.

In short? Employee engagement is an outcome you strive for. Employee enablement is the set of actions you take to achieve that goal.

Why is Employee Enablement Important?

In a perfect world, employee and employer needs would naturally align. But in reality, that’s far from the case. According to Gallup, only 32% of workers in 2022 were engaged; another 17% were actively disengaged. Clearly, there’s a disconnect between what employers provide and what employees need to succeed.

Employee enablement is how you bridge that gap. By understanding where employees feel supported and where they don’t, you can take steps to provide the right enablement at the right time. Do this, and you’ll see the benefits stack up.

Benefits of Employee Enablement

Wondering what exactly those benefits look like? Here are four key reasons to invest in employee enablement:

Greater Employee Satisfaction

By equipping employees with the tools they need, you reduce friction in their day-to-day work. A task that might have taken four hours without proper training may take only two hours now. The right software could help someone automate repetitive tasks and let them focus on more creative aspects of their job. In short, you make their work lives easier—and therefore happier.

Increased Confidence and Autonomy

When employees have the right enablement, they become self-sufficient. They no longer need to ask a manager or peer for support with certain tasks, and can work with greater autonomy and confidence. For managers, this means less need for oversight—freeing up their own time and resources.

Lower Turnover Rates

Employees who are engaged and enabled have, by definition, everything they need to succeed at work. They feel taken care of by their employer, both professionally and personally, and see little reason to leave their organization. That loyalty translates to lower attrition rates, greater team cohesion and resilience, and a stronger company culture.

Improved Employee Performance

When employees are engaged, they tend to go the extra mile for their manager and team. They feel a sense of belonging within the organization and wish to make a positive impact. More often than not, this leads to increased employee productivity and greater business outcomes.

How to Measure Employee Enablement

Employee enablement is a broad term that touches all aspects of the employee lifecycle—from onboarding and IT support to company culture and benefits. This can make measuring the impact of your enablement efforts particularly challenging.

You can’t account for everything all at once. Instead, look to pinpoint gaps in the current employee experience. Gather candid feedback—via town hall, employee survey, etc.—and use the results to understand the general health of your workforce. 

Here are a few questions to consider asking:

  • Do you feel you have the right training to perform your job effectively? 
  • Are there particular tools or resources that would improve your workflow?
  • If you could change one thing about your work environment, what would it be?

Open communication is the key here. By creating a culture where employees feel comfortable sharing their feedback (positive or negative), you can get an accurate look into the state of enablement at your organization.

4 Effective Employee Enablement Strategies

Looking to ensure your business and its people are in sync? Here are five ways to improve your employee enablement efforts:

Make Training a Priority

An employee’s struggles can be more fundamental than you realize. Often, they simply lack the training they need to be competent in the role.

A recent study from the London School of Economics found that only 24% of workers in 2020 reported receiving work training during the prior quarter. Couple that with a finding from our 2023 State of Education Initiative Ownership Report—that only 12% of workplace educators feel properly trained—and it’s clear that training is in dangerously short supply.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can create training (even from the ground up), so long as you have talented people who can set an example for others. Meet with existing top performers in a role to learn how they found success. Document their process and turn it into a full-blown training session for more junior employees to complete.

Level Up Your Learning Program

A more sustainable way to train or upskill your employees is to prioritize learning and development. 

Every employee learns in their own way, and the way you educate should reflect those nuances. A personalized learning program allows you to serve up different forms of education—from videos and readings to interactive courses—based on the needs of the individual employee. 

If you’re looking to enable your sales team to close deals faster, you can design education that walks employees through specific talk tracks and best practices. You could personalize each lesson to cater to a specific role (business development rep, account executive, etc.) or segment your training by industry.

With a strong education program, you can empower your employees to do their best work, no matter the potential roadblocks in their way. 

Perform a Technology Audit

Even with cutting-edge training and education, your employees won’t get far if their technology is out of date.

Partner with your IT and Operations teams to ensure your employees have the right resources they need to be effective in their roles. If a particular software tool could improve a person or team’s workflow, perform a cost-benefit analysis to see if the tool is worth paying for. If the price is particularly steep, find ways to consolidate existing tools and free up some spending.

Odds are, you don’t have a bottomless budget. Even when money’s tight, however, you have a responsibility to your employees to ensure they feel seen and taken care of. Your effort won’t go unnoticed.

Build a Culture of Transparency

It’s impossible to foresee every challenge your organization might face. Although you can’t account for every problem, you can mitigate risk by modeling behaviors you wish to see your employees adopt.

This starts with the right company culture. Together with your senior leadership team, develop a set of values that are pivotal to your organization’s success. For instance, you may decide on a “see something, say something” policy that promotes open communication and collaboration.

Codify your set of values and communicate them with the rest of your workforce. Whenever a person does something to support your culture, recognize that individual. Consider rewarding those who consistently embody your culture (via a promotion, award, etc.). The more you invest in culture, the easier it becomes to enable great behavior.

Intellum Helps You Educate and Enable At Scale

Intellum gives you the tools to deliver personalized education with ease—and empower employees across your organization. Design interactive courses, host webinars, create gamified experiences, and other enablement resources, all within a single platform. 

Book a demo, and discover why Google, Amazon, and other leading brands trust Intellum for their enablement needs.

About the Author

Geri Morgan Headshot
Geri Morgan
Chief People Officer
Geri is Chief People Officer of Intellum, the leader in EdTech for Business. She brings over two decades of experience building and sustaining people-first cultures that invest in innovative methods for optimizing collaboration and driving world-class products and services. She has a unique expertise in HR strategy and planning, creating best-in-class company cultures, designing reward and recognition programs aligned with organizational goals, and recruitment. Previously, Geri was Chief Experience Officer at SentriLock, where she championed both employee and customer retention and engagement. She also held leadership roles at Triplefin and The Kroger Company.