Blog Culture/Agency Life

How to Foster an Effective Learning Environment

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Sydney MuellerSenior Learning and Development Manager

Company culture and employee engagement are both crucial in attracting and retaining top talent. One thing that I love about my job is that everyone plays an integral role in the agency and our strengths are recognized.

Vantage PR has three offices and is continuing to be a fast growing company that takes on new client regularly and recruits top-notch employees to continue building the business. As these employees grow within the company it is incredibly important to make sure they feel challenged and engaged. While everyone likes some down time here and there, no one ever wants to be bored at work! Placing a strong emphasis on providing employees with the right tools to foster their creativity and constant growth demonstrates support in their role and overall contribution to the company. Here are four ways that you too can foster a positive and effective learning environment for your business.

1. Mentor Programs. The most valuable asset of a company is their employees and the knowledge that they have
acquired. Mentor programs allow for colleagues to get to know one another better and be able to have positive work related conversations. Sharing tips and tricks on better work practices or managing skills can be a huge value for employees. Leaving the decision to make the discussion free-flowing or detailed and incorporating any topic can lead to some excellent discussions that can have a significant impact on those involved in the program as well as the company as a whole. One great discussion that can be had is the mentees long-term goals. Since the mentor will typically be in a role that the mentee is working towards, it’s a great topic to discuss. The mentor can provide feedback on the steps they took to reach the position they are currently in and talk through any constructive tips or positive feedback they have for the mentee to reach their professional goals. Shout out to my amazing mentors!

2. Playing to strengths. Each employee has a wide range of strengths and weaknesses. Allowing them to play to their strengths and collaborate on different initiatives and topics will create a happier work environment as well as a better source of ideas. In addition, being aware of these strengths and recognizing them will lead to continued hard work and success because hey, who doesn’t like a pat on the back every now and then! Vantage PR is a very team oriented company and I always feel that I am allowed to work on various initiatives or skill sets that I not only enjoy and excel at but also those that I am interested in and strive to be better at. Recognizing the different strengths each individual has and also allowing employees to grow and expand their strengths speaks exceptionally well of a company. For example, I love writing so I get to contribute to the blog posts frequently and I am constantly encouraged to write contributed articles for other sites like this one: Invest in company culture to attract new talent.

3. Open door policy. It seems simple right? Well, it is! An open door policy simply allows employees to feel comfortable communicating with CEO’s and upper level management and “opens the door” for constant communication, which can go a long way. It provides that direct connection for employees at any level and it shows that each employee is valued for their thoughts, ideas and even problems that need to be addressed. This policy is beneficial for the upper management as well because they become more in tune with what is going on at all levels of the company and can receive and provide direct feedback for a myriad of situations.

4. Teaching and training programs. Something that is crucial for companies to keep in mind is that there is always room for improvement and learning. Just because something has been done one way for a certain period of time doesn’t mean it’s the right way to continue doing it. Allowing employees to make suggestions and share ideas company-wide demonstrates a more collaborative learning environment that allows for creativity to continue. Employees can teach one another new tactics and tips in hosted learning sessions and meetings. In the Vantage Orlando office we hold bi-weekly chats where the whole office sits down together and talks about lessons learned or an interesting story that we want to share with one another. I have learned more from my co-workers then I could’ve ever imagined! It’s also just great to hear the successes that each team has and how they have come up with new ideas to drive better results for clients.

Incorporating initiatives such as this can lead to a more effective learning environment for the best part of your company – the employees! Turning the tables and opening the door for more collaboration can lead to greater success in the long run.

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