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Blog Post

Are You Failing At Creating A Culture Of Development?

November 30, 2020
Table of Contents

You could be.

I know why you’re doing it. 

Whether you work at a digital marketing company or in a completely different industry, creating a culture of development at your company has incredible long-term benefits.  There’s the team atmosphere where everyone is charging ahead towards a common goal.  There’s the passion and loyalty that follows your company brand and purpose. But there’s one reason that’s more powerful…

A Culture of Development Drives Never-ending Growth for the Whole Company. 

That quest for improvement is constant. It’s always evolving. At its core, it says, “we can be better than we were yesterday.” There’s no ceiling for potential.  The way that translates to the bottom line is obvious.

Where do organizations go wrong in trying to create this environment?

Here are 3 Signs Your Organization is Failing at Creating this Type of Culture 

#1 No Structure Around Coaching

The management process needs structure around coaching. That means individual one-on-one coaching. Meetings, on the calendar, where the manager meets with the employee to help coach them to be better at their job. I repeat, this means “scheduled.” 

Organizations without a management structure in place instead coach “in the moment.”  That requires them to be in the trenches with their team members daily. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic.

One-on-one formal training needs to be a sacred part of employee development. With these meetings on the calendar, your team will learn that they aren’t on their own to figure out their job.  They will believe that you are there to help them in their professional development.

#2 No Clear Development Path

The best run organizations have spent years defining a clear career development path. One organization that does this better than anyone is the military. 

No matter what role in the military you start out in, there’s a public step-by-step route to follow for advancement. The requirements to move up are learning and performance based. 

How many companies follow this same logic?

Imagine starting in your organization as a new employee. You already feel excited about being a part of the team. You may set an objective for yourself to be an even bigger part down the road. How do you get there? How do you prove yourself? What are the milestones along the way? How do you know you’re getting closer?

You may not know exactly how to put this knowledge together for your employees, but you need to start somewhere.

#3 One-Size-Fits-All Company Trainings

Unfortunately, all company trainings often become “check the box” events. Do you want to give your employees development? Why not do it all in a one-to-two day training event?

Nope, I’m sad to say that doing these events to “develop” your team is more of a band-aid approach to employee training. The real benefits around company events are team building, recognition, and strategy alignment.

Like personal hygiene, employee development is something that needs to occur daily. That goes back to your management process. How integrated is it with improving the skills of your current employees?

Outside of putting the right management process in place, how do you begin to create this culture?

Here are 3 Ways to Start Building a Culture of Development

#1 It Starts with You!

The first place your employees will look is at you. You are the poster child of what a successful person looks like at your company. 

Here are a few questions to reflect upon:

  • Do you look like the person that is trying to improve themselves?
  • How do you fit learning and development into your daily routine?
  • How are you soliciting feedback to improve on your communication and performance?
  • Do you have written goals in place, in different areas of your life, that you are targeting?

You may have answers to some of these. The big question is how transparent are you with your own development? 

It starts with you. Leading by example will inspire those to become better versions of themselves, too. 

#2 Ensure the Correct Measurements are in Place

There’s always a scoreboard for the company.

You could get as detailed as you’d like. Tracking the number of wins, losses, churns.  Deal velocity. Prospect management and more.

When you have the data, it’s easier to make decisions on where you need to look to improve. You only need to make that data visible.

There’s not always a scoreboard for the rest of the departments. 

This is a tremendous opportunity for every type of organization. This is where you create purpose for your team and drive employee engagement. Find a way to track the measurements for what success looks like. Make that data visible and transparent.  Assign goals for your department around how to improve the various measurements. Encourage team members to find creative ways to improve the results. Recognize innovation and contributions.

When you make the data transparent for each of your teams they will be more aligned with the outcomes. This alignment encourages development and constant improvement.

#3 Make it Easy to Continue Developing Your Skills

There are a few different ways you can develop your skills. 

  1. The one-on-ones you have with your manager.
  2. The departmental trainings to improve metrics.
  3. Your own choices for skill development.

The first two should be a part of your daily work schedule. The last one is on your own.  What are the methods out there for skill development?

The typical methods are reading books, blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, and online learning courses. However, it’s not easy to learn new skills this way. You still have to interpret whatever you’re reading or watching and translate it back to your job. 

This is where the opportunity is for creating a learning culture. Instead of having your employees search for “how to get better at their job,” why not have those learning opportunities created for them? After all, you could make it easy to digest and act upon the information. It’s easy when the learning program is focused on how to improve at their exact job…in your exact industry…at your exact company!

Create an internal company podcast dedicated to sharing best practices by department.  Create an internal blog or chat board on skills that impact certain job performance. Have your marketing team record top performers, by department, in “how-to video courses.”

This might take a long time to build. Why not start it now?

Get creative. Make it easy for everyone to continue to build their knowledge in a way that suits their learning needs.

Moving Forward with Creating a Culture of Development

A culture of development starts at the top. If the senior leaders of the team don’t subscribe to the company culture, you have no chance. 

A culture of development has a strong management process. This includes a scheduled commitment to improving every employee.

A culture of development has transparency all around. The data is there on what and where to improve. The team decides on the how.

Finally, a culture of development makes it easy for their team to level up their skills after hours. 

Creating a culture of development is challenging, ever-changing, and takes a lot of work.  Once you can accept that part, the benefits can be immeasurable.

The secret is in getting started. 

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