High Impact Practices Raise Employee and Student Engagement

High-impact practices that prompt people to do their best work as a student often run parallel to those that prompt them to be highly engaged at work.

The National Survey of Student Engagement Annual Results 2015 states that setting high expectations and supporting student to meet those expectations are important elements of educational effectiveness.

High expectations and support are also key elements to employee success on the job. When employees are also students, support in one role helps develop success in the other. Businesses have opportunities to support student engagement with work-related experiences that mirror high-impact educational practices and benefit of all stakeholders.

Higher Order Learning and Reflective & Integrative Learning
Students’ understanding of what they are learning when they have the opportunity to apply facts or methods they are learning in an academic setting to job tasks they must complete. Their learning becomes practical instead of theoretical. Opportunities to connect what they are learning in classes to prior or current job experiences allows students and employees to evaluate what they are learning combine ideas from different classes, and apply their knowledge to work responsibilities.

Collaborative Learning
People learn best when it the process is interactive. Collaborative experiences, either during a course or when applying new information to a work task, reinforces learning as workers share their new knowledge and information. A learning cohort that can work together also invites multiple points of view and diverse solutions to problem solving. Employees who can work together on a task that relates to course work become more engaged in both the learning process and their job responsibilities.

Experience with Leaders
The report states that student faculty interaction, such as talking about career plans, is a high impact practice that can generate student engagement. While this interaction is valuable for all students, for nontraditional students interaction with a mentor, career counselor or supervisor at work may be just as valuable. When employees see a career path before them and plan a course sequence that can help them achieve career growth, student engagement and work engagement will be highly related.

Supportive Environment
When schools provide academic support, student engagement increases along with academic success. Businesses have several opportunities to develop a supportive environment. Providing education counseling as part of a tuition assistance plan helps students find the most direct way to complete their program. As they move toward success, student engagement will be high and transform to work engagement. Opportunities for contact with other employee students, whether through an academic cohort, a business team or a mentor create a positive environment where employees find both academic and career success. The support of employee well-being through benefits such as tuition assistance show positive support that is encouraging and removes barriers students may have for completing their education.

The student engagement survey said nontraditional students were more likely than younger traditional students to be highly challenged to do their best work. This should be no surprise considering the opportunities that nontraditional students have to apply their education while they are learning and to interact with their supervisors and co-workers. Employer support from TAP and the immediate value of their education to both employee and employer creates an environment where people are challenged to do their best and be highly engaged.