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Linked – How Do You Encourage Your Team to Learn New Things

There are two steps in the article below that I want to focus on because I think it’s this combination that proves to be difficult for many organizations:

Make Opportunities And Provide Resources

Push For Cross-Training

This is the tricky part that I’ve seen so many teams fail to do. Cross-training can be invaluable, especially when it comes to learning new technology. But, creating an opportunity where one team member can pass along what she knows to another is hard. Not only in finding the time but also in rewarding the person sharing their knowledge appropriately. We’ve become so focused on measuring productivity, whether in billable hours, lines of code, tickets closed, etc., that there’s a disincentive to spend time sharing knowledge with peers.

Think about it, if my performance is being judged by productivity, what’s my incentive to take time to teach others to be more productive, especially if we are in competition for raises and promotions? And, in far too many workplaces, your team is absolutely competing with each other and other teams for salary budget. I’ve worked in organizations that have decided on raises based on bands, the top 25% of performers get a higher performance rating and a higher percentage pay increase, for example. Why would I want to help other people hit that?

If you truly want to be an organization that supports learning, you need to put your money where your mouth is and figure out how to incentivize individual and team learning opportunities. Taking the time to learn and the time to train others, shouldn’t come at a cost to the performance review of the people who want to learn. They should be the people you want to reward and hang on to. They are the ones who will be pivotal in helping you navigate change, but they can only do that if they still work for you. Making them work double-time to make up for “lost productivity” when they try to be part of the learning culture you claim to want won’t encourage them to hang around.

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