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What You’re Missing if You’re Not Building a Culture of Continuous Learning with Suzie Rogers & Meredith Fish

Career growth isn’t just a goal; it’s a necessity for personal and organizational success.

Continuing to upskill and reskill employees and focusing on continuous learning and improvement is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent and for organizations to outperform their competitors. 

However, the challenge for many organizations is keeping employees motivated and striking the right balance between managers and employees for career growth opportunities.

In this session from WorkRamp LEARN Virtual Summit, Suzie Rogers, VP, People Partnerships,, and Meredith Fish, VP, People & Culture, WorkRamp, offer actionable strategies to promote a culture of learning and support employees to maximize their potential. 

Keeping learning top of mind

Promoting continuous learning and development must be a company-wide initiative that starts from the top down. So, what are some creative ways to encourage learning at work?

Suzie shares that her team has reimagined the performance management process, moving from an annual review system to a more frequent cadence. 

“We have an annual cycle where there’s an opportunity for self-review, peer-review, and manager feedback, but we have also included directional feedback at the mid-year point,” she says. “This is an opportunity for people to stop, pause, reflect, and still get that 360-review without the formality of doing it at the end of the year and not having it tied to a rewards outcome. People can take stock of how they’re progressing against their goals.”

Knowing where you’re going is also essential to figuring out how to get to your desired outcome.

“We created a job ladder so you can see what the next level requires of you,” Meredith shares. “It’s transparent; you clearly understand what skills and competencies are required at each role. So it’s a partnership between employees and their leaders to identify skill gaps and competencies to work on.”

Meredith and Suzie share some additional strategies and tactics to motivate employees and promote growth.

  • Learning days and development days. Dedicated days to allow employees to carve out time to invest in themselves and their personal and professional growth.
  • Using a learning management system to compile a repository of training content and courses that employees can access on demand.
  • Experiential and day-to-day on-the-job learning. Informal learning occurs spontaneously outside of a classroom setting. This type of training is advantageous to promote learner autonomy and to help employees glean specific job-related skills.
  • Coaching and mentorship opportunities. Creating a coaching culture in the workplace helps employees learn from others and develop skills they can use in their current roles and throughout their careers. 

Inspiring employees to control their career growth

While learning and development is a team effort between the organization, managers, and employees, Suzie and Meredith share the best advice they’ve received on motivating employees to seek out career growth opportunities.

A mentor once told me, ‘Figure out where you’re going.'” Meredith says. “She told me I was a rock being pushed around by ocean waves without a clear idea of where I wanted my career to go.”

Employees can’t wait for the employer to direct them; they must determine their goals and the steps to get there. Once they’re clear on the direction, they can seek out support from others. 

“Build your village,” Meredith says. “You need different people, mentors, coaches, peer advisors, sponsors; they’re all going to play an essential role in identifying skill gaps, helping you know where to go in terms of learning, on-the-job opportunities, and external opportunities.”

Suzie adds that she learned to take the initiative and operate in a growth mindset, but beyond that, “encourage everyone to check in and make sure you’re on track and everything you’re doing supports that North Star you have for yourself,” she says.

L&D and the employee-employer relationship

Once employees have determined their goals, how can managers and organizations best support them?

Meredith shares a framework to look at this relationship like a sports team. 

  • The employees are the players. They use their skills and talents to perform (on the field or in their roles)
  • The manager is the coach. They offer advice and strategies to guide them on their path
  • The company/People team is the front office. They provide the tools and resources the employee needs to be successful

Suzie agrees that it’s a team effort initiated by the employee. 

“If you come to the table and expect someone else to do it for you, you’ll probably be disappointed,” she says. “Think about how to set objectives and perform self-assessments and self-reflection.”

By this framework, the employee drives their success, but everyone plays a role in the background to help them get there. Team members must make the first move, which is then supported by managers and facilitated by the People team. 

Learning trends for 2024 and beyond

With so many competing priorities, what should People teams focus on in the future?

Meredith and Suzie share three priorities and trends.

  • Leadership development. Investing in managers, tapping into the team’s potential, and identifying opportunities for upskilling, including skills and competencies like influence, effective communication, and business acumen.
  • Employee experience. Continuing to adjust to the individual employee experience. How can teams tailor the experience for each employee and their overall development?
  • AI and emerging technologies. How can teams use AI to make themselves more effective and efficient?

Watch the full session, Motivating & Upskilling Employees When Times Are Tough, for more from Meredith and Suzie, and check out our on-demand replays for more expert insights from People, Revenue, and CS leaders. 

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