In the modern world, regular payments are simply not enough. People expect significantly more from their workplace and it’s not only about the foosball table in the office, fruity Thursdays, or specialty coffees. They don’t want just to work; they want to care and engage. And because of this, they want to be better every day, develop themselves, learn and share their knowledge.
But investing in employee development isn’t beneficial only for the employees, but for the company as well.
Why are learning and development important for employees?
It’s pretty interesting that we, as a people, hate to learn when we are in school, and then when we come to the end of our education and start our work-life, the possibility to learn and develop becomes crucial for us. As we can read in Gallup’s report – 59% of millennials consider the opportunity to learn and grow as extremely important for them when applying for a job.
In older generations (gen Xers and baby boomers), more than 40% of respondents describe the opportunity to learn as very important when looking for a job.
But the opportunity to learn and develop is not just a benefit companies can show off at the interview with a new candidate. It’s also crucial in reducing turnover rates. We can read in Linkedin’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.
The importance of employee development from a company perspective
The situation in which a company provides the possibility to learn is not only beneficial only for the employees but also for the company itself. A growing employee is a growing company – the one who steps up to meeting clients’ arising needs, who can understand the changing world, who can be active, not passive. Whoever does not step forward steps back, so there is no way of running a business without being open to the new.
Investing in employee learning is money saved
Allowing employees to learn at work has one more huge advantage. When employees learn new things – they can patch skill gaps in the company or even prevent them from arising. And this allows a company to invest money and time only in the truly required recruitment processes.
Methods of employee development at Tooploox
All the above is absolutely obvious for us at Tooploox. This is why we put such great emphasis on development and learning opportunities at Tooploox.
The story which stands behind the building of Tooploox is a story about creating an IT company where people can work on meaningful and exciting projects and improve their skills by solving new challenges. After eight years and with 150 IT experts onboard, the possibility to learn is still crucial for us. This is also reflected in our company values: growth, engagement, and professionalism.
We are all ambitious and want to improve every day, no matter if the employee is a developer or a specialist with other expertise. That’s why we not only take opportunities to learn, but we look for them.
At Tooploox we believe in self organizing teams. We assume all developers and other specialists know precisely what they should be doing to reach our goals, based on their experience and knowledge. As a company we trust in the decisions and methodologies they choose and we support them. We do the same in terms of self-development.
All employees are experts in their field, so they are the ones who know exactly how to improve themselves and know which learning methods should be chosen to be up to date in their expertise area. At Tooploox we believe that a leader or manager shouldn’t order but point out the right direction, show the goals that need to be reached, and help their team with their work. The same situation is with learning – a leader or manager should support employees in development and talk with their employees about learning their possibilities and the skills which are most in need of improvement.
Every Plooxie (Tooploox employee) has three work days (or 24 hours) per quarter for self-development. He or she can use it to participate in workshops or conferences, do online courses, read books, or any other possible way to develop themselves.
At Tooploox, we do not only allow time for learning, but we also invest money in our employees’ growth. When they decide they are interested in some course or conference, they can request a budget to attend, and it’s highly probable that the company will agree.
Internally, we provide English lessons and intercultural communication courses to support Plooxies in their daily work with our (mostly) American clients. Besides all these learning events, we invest in books and subscriptions on e-learning platforms. We believe that learning is most efficient when everybody chooses their own approach.
Knowledge sharing in IT teams
At Tooploox, we not only love to learn but also share our skills and knowledge. That’s why Plooxies organize a lot of bottom-up initiatives, which are supported by the company at large.
One of the most popular initiatives is our “lunch & learn,” which is just what it says on the tin. Coworkers meet together for lunch and share knowledge about their projects, new technologies, interesting articles, and many other things.
Lunch & learns are not limited to just one department – thanks to these initiatives we can learn more about what our coworkers do and, because we have that opportunity, how the company functions as a whole. We’ve always seen lunch & learn as an exciting initiative, but it is especially true that now, during the pandemic, when we don’t spend so much time together, is when we can clearly see how crucial it really is.
A similar initiative to lunch and learn is our knowledge sharing program, and the difference is that these are more webinars than talks. Everyone can propose a topic and give a speech, there is a list of all talks, and they are all recorded to create a collective knowledge video library.
IT career path change
At Tooploox, we believe it’s essential to support our employees in every field, even if it means supporting them in a decision to change their career path.
Because the structure at Tooploox is a Holacracy, employees don’t have a job position but fulfill roles, and one person can have many such roles. What does this mean? At Tooploox, if you want, you can work in more than one department, you can do things not only for clients but also for the organization. For example, you can be not only a developer, or HR specialist, but you can also be a manager, a mentoring program coordinator, a project sparring partner, a lead traffic controller, or anything else. The possibilities are endless!
Also, this flexible approach enables one to switch careers with just a few small steps and perform some duties from the old path while adopting the new one.
Holacracy creates an environment in which people can try new things and expand their interests. As a result, people want to learn new things, not only from their areas of expertise, and sometimes even totally change their career path, like our colleague Maciej from the legal department, who decided to become a project manager.
Investing in employee development is not only evidence that a company cares about them but also that it cares about the company itself. It’s an investment in growth and a way of keeping up to date – knowing what’s trending, meeting clients’ needs, not being left behind, but staying in the lead.