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L&D

How Sprout Social Makes Its Company a Career Destination

A recent study by LinkedIn found that 94 percent of people say they would have stayed at a job longer if the company had invested in their career. What’s more, two-thirds of L&D pros say learning is no longer a nice to have–it’s now a force that is driving organizational transformation. 

But how do you make your company a career destination–somewhere employees want to accelerate their careers because they feel valued, connected and empowered to grow and learn? That was the topic of discussion in a recent webinar with Lydia O’Malley, Learning and Development Manager at Sprout Social

During the webinar, WorkRamp’s VP of Marketing, Jack Foster, interviewed Lydia to tap her expertise on what it means to have a holistic approach to attract and retain talent. Lydia explained how she has helped create and manage robust individual contributor and leadership development programs at Sprout Social, how she uses WorkRamp, and how to tie learning and development programming to business impact. 

This post summarizes key takeaways from the SHRM-accredited webinar. If you want to learn more, watch the on-demand video here.

Corporate values provide a guiding light

Lydia joined Sprout Social in December 2019, the week the company went public, and, incidentally, right before the pandemic hit. Right away, she knew that the organization was unique. “I’ve never worked at another company quite like Sprout,” she said. “It’s truly a place where people can thrive, personally and professionally, and do the best work they’ve ever done in their career alongside amazing people.” 

Lydia added that Sprout Social’s corporate values are evident in everything they do. “We care deeply about helping people learn and grow and we embrace accountability,” she said. “We champion DEI&B and promote open, authentic communication. It’s very important to us that everyone brings their whole selves to work and are able to communicate authentically.” Other core values at Sprout include simplicity, solving hard problems, and celebrating change.

“New team members say that the values at Sprout make them want to be a part of our culture,” Lydia said. “They tell me months after their hire date that everyone they meet in the company upholds those values.”

Ignite, Evolve, and Amplify

According to Lydia, leadership development is an area of focus at Sprout, acknowledging that the experience you have as an employee hinges on your relationship with your manager. “We strive to support and strengthen our leaders to be exceptional because we know just how important that is,” she said. 

In the Spring of 2020, Sprout rolled out its first-ever global leadership model which promotes behaviors and competencies that the company expects from leaders at every level. Since then, Lydia’s team has strengthened the program, renaming it Growth-Oriented Leadership Development (GOLD). 

GOLD consists of three modules:

  • Ignite is the foundational level of the GOLD program, intended to support people new to management by guiding learners through their leadership journey across various touchpoints.
  • Evolve is for more experienced leaders, and focuses on training new leaders to apply past management experience to their positions at Sprout. Typically, learners in the Evolve program have already completed Ignite.
  • Amplify is designed for senior leaders at Sprout, including members of the executive leadership team. 

While Ignite and Evolve take 8 to 10 weeks to complete, Amplify can take up to a few months. The longer programs give learners time to assimilate information and dive deeper into topics that matter in their current roles. “Learners have plenty of opportunities to connect with peers over discussions about what they’ve learned in the program,” Lydia said. “It allows for a little bit more creativity and breathing room.”

Learning isn’t just for leaders

In addition to helping leaders develop the skills they need to advance in their careers, Sprout ensures individual contributors have opportunities to grow, as well. “I’m very passionate about ensuring that there are learning and development opportunities for literally everyone in our company because you never know who your shining stars will be if you’re not actively working to develop everyone,” Lydia said. 

The Grow@Sprout program has been instrumental in making that happen. We created a few different categories of courses. Categories include tools, best practices, frameworks, templates, and how to work well in a hybrid environment, to name a few. “We have a tremendous focus here at Sprout around diversity, equity and inclusion, as well,” she added. “The intention is to provide enough variety to appeal to everyone.” 

Making learning accessible for all–and measuring impact

In the wake of the pandemic, the hybrid workplace has resulted in new challenges for helping learners connect as they complete courses. Lydia’s team has leveraged WorkRamp to deliver content in multiple formats. 

“Right now our curriculum is live event-based, but we leverage WorkRamp to create and distribute comprehensive guides to send to employees once they complete a course,” she said. “If we have a recording, that’s included, along with a PowerPoint deck and any additional resources. We also use WorkRamp’s learning paths to convert the content into interactive experiences, and make it really interesting and engaging for learners.”

Since learning is a business imperative at Sprout Social, Lydia makes measuring success a proactive endeavor. But determining what to measure depends on many variables, including what business initiatives are top of mind, who the stakeholders are, and the desired outcomes. “We look at where we are, what we are trying to change, and what qualitative and quantitative information we need to back up our efforts,” she said. 

Lydia envisions moving toward implementing more asynchronous learning paths supplemented with live events, to make learning more accessible for everyone, wherever and however they choose to learn. 

Turn Learning Into a Growth Engine

When you invest in continuous learning and development, you can make your company a career destination, just like Sprout Social. With WorkRamp’s all-in-one platform, learning becomes a growth engine, helping to decrease ramp time and improve employee productivity.

Watch the full webinar with Lydia from Sprout Social here. If you’re ready to get started with WorkRamp, request a free demo.

Lori Maupas

Decrease Ramp Time and Increase Revenue

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