The Upside of Creating a Learning Culture at Your CompanyI have long believed that one of the most important cornerstones to a great corporate culture is learning and growth. An important part of my job is to create such an environment, and work to ensure that each and every team member understands they have the flexibility to expand their contribution beyond their job description. When this happens, everyone wins. The team member has the opportunity to learn, improve and expand his or her skill set. The customer benefits from a happier, more skilled team member, and the company benefits from increased productivity, customer loyalty and ultimately, profitability.
A perfect example of this concept was brought to my attention just this morning. During a chat with Megan, our Digital Content Marketing Manager, she told me that Patrice, one of our inside sales reps, loves social media, particularly Pinterest. Megan picked up on Patrice’s passion for Pinterest, and asked her if she would be interested in learning how social media is used in corporate marketing. As you might imagine, Patrice was thrilled. Megan, and our awesome intern Allie, decided to take the time to train Patrice on the best practices for posting to Pinterest for AG. While it probably would have been quicker and easier to to just do it themselves, Megan and Allie recognized that empowering an individual to learn and expand their capabilities is just what our culture is about. The initial time investment will be well worth it, not just in productivity but in positive energy, something that should not be underestimated.
So let’s take a look at this small example from the productivity perspective. Patrice will now spend 20-30 minutes each day posting to Pinterest on behalf of AG. She is excited to learn and expand her contribution to the team, and is happy to take the time above and beyond her regular duties. She sees it as fun, and interesting, so it’s not more work for her; in fact, it’s making her day better. Now both Megan and Allie have an extra 15 minutes to focus on something else. We just gained 30 minutes per day, all the while making a team member’s job more fulfilling. That adds up to 10 hours per month that can be spent on encouraging and training others to do the same as Patrice. Get where I’m going with this? Let me take it a step further. If each and every AG Team Member were to add or save 30 minutes a day doing something they were interested in which added value to the team, we would add 35 hours of additional productivity per month to the team’s output, while building a smarter, happier, more professionally fulfilled team.
I realize these are not hard numbers, and I am certainly not going to build my financial model and forecast on this, but that’s not the point. Productivity is just one of the positive outcomes of creating a culture focused on creating the space for creativity and innovation.
Maybe it’s a bit naive to believe a culture can be created where each and every team member absolutely loves every part of their job. That may be true; after all, work is still work. However, I bet there are many people who don’t like any part of their job. Creating and nurturing a learning culture ensures that, at the very least, most if not all of your team members will at least enjoy part of their job, and that just might be a big improvement.
So now I challenge you to work towards creating a learning culture in your business. If you’re already on your way there, share one of your examples of how this positive culture benefits your team and ultimately, your company, in the comments below!
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