Walk into just about any company that says it prioritizes culture and you'll see it in everything — from the casual dress code to the cool furniture. But can the same be said for training and professional development?
It may seem unnecessary, especially if you're already a "destination employer," but to an up-and-coming generation of talent, what and how you teach them has a great deal of importance.
Aligning your goals
First, your culture must be genuine. No amount of inauthentic culture is going to make up for a lack of support around training and career advancement.
And it has to be put into the proper context, according to John Baldino, CEO of Humareso, an HR consulting firm focused on what it calls "the human side of business."
"Some companies define culture as some kind of amenities or benefits for employees," Baldino told HR Dive. "But we cannot equate culture with the art on the walls or flip flop Fridays.”
Instead, "culture should be an outflowing of what the natural state of things are in a company. Be it structured or free-spirited, an authentic culture leads to a better connection between work function and work form,” according to Baldino. When a company does a really great job of creating a genuine culture, learning and other goals come much easier. There's even research to back this up.
So if culture shapes employee behavior, employers' actions need to be aligned with a culture of learning. When managers take the time to encourage employees to learn, this is a demonstration of culture. When employees mentor others, this is a continuance of the culture of learning. Leaders must embrace learning and by doing so, their passion becomes the reason for a culture to thrive.
The 'why' of everything
“Companies will get better performance from employees when they spend more time helping people understand the essence of what they do and focus on the experience of why they can benefit from doing things a certain way,” he said. After all, the culture is about the day-to-day experience of each employee. Otherwise, it’s fake.
Zappos is an example of a company that has done just that. One of its core values is to “pursue growth through learning.” The company does this with culture-building events that combine learning with fun and creativity. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos told the Huffington Post that the company aims "to provide all the training and mentorship necessary so that any employee has the opportunity to become a senior leader within the company within five to seven years.”
What's your company’s vision for employee career development? The first step to meeting your goals may just be linking learning to culture.