Quotes on education have never failed us. From Asimov’s famous ‘Education isn’t something you can finish’ to Mark Twain’s ‘I never let schooling interfere in the way of my education’.
Throughout history it seems, especially the most recent period, education has been so crucial that it has transitioned into the concept of lifelong learning. During this piece, we’ll try to understand whether it is the responsibility of a workplace to educate its employees, and the means through which this can be achieved.
For the first part, instead of paragraphs-long explanations, I’ll just say yes. Yes, it’s vital to find inspiration in the workplace. And not just for your sake, but for the company’s as well.
The reasons why we should try our best in our professional lives to keep growing are not about promotions and climbing up the proverbial ladder, but about our very human nature. It’s not like us to become content and stagnate. It’s not like us to not want more. Evolution wouldn’t have happened if we were to become content about living in a cave. And I would even dare to make the case that growth isn’t just for the Type A’s of the world, but a matter of human nature.
But since if you’re reading this you most likely belong to the more ambitious side of the issue, I’ll leave this for another time.
So How Does The Workplace Empower Us To Grow?
I’m more comfortable with speaking from experience, so I’ll just go through the main things we’re doing here at Bytex to make sure that our people have a sustainable environment to evolve in.
The Benefits May Be Individual, But The Effort Is Always Common
Although we’re working in different teams within distinct projects, we always try to find common ground through internal initiatives to help our colleagues achieve more. One of my favorite activities is IT Should Be Fun, where we gather to discuss different issues we might have with one specific technology or another, or to understand how to optimize different processes within our projects. Each of these meetings is a way to democratize learning.
While the experience might be a personal encounter, the knowledge is shared. Making our learnings actionable is one of the most efficient ways to ensure knowledge transfer.
At the same time, we’re aware that growth doesn’t always happen during meetings and while drawing on a whiteboard. It’s a constant process, and so is sharing with our colleagues.
We’re trying our best to create a climate of trust, where each of us is aware that no one person knows everything and information sharing is a multi touchpoint mechanism rather than a one-sided one.
One of the most powerful things to understand about sharing different types of information is that it’s a zero disadvantage game for you and it makes a whole lot of difference for the ones you’re helping. It does sound like a very obvious statement, but internalizing this will bring people closer. It makes relationships more personal, and it ensures a constant line of communication on each side that’s always open and ready for more.
Another advantage is that it breeds trust, instead of encouraging toxic competitiveness. An environment where you’re trusted to accomplish more by everyone around is a first step towards creating a team where everyone plays on the same side.
Growth Contamination Is A Thing
Not a secret, we’re all social products. We’re the results of the environments we’ve been in, the people we’ve interacted with most meaningfully, and the overall quality of our interactions. As we’ve mentioned in another piece, although we’d like to believe that we’re this island of independence in the face of everything around us, we’re actually pretty sensitive to it.
Trying to separate the personal and professional lives started as a positive thing for the work-life balance, but has maybe created an artificial barrier between us and our colleagues. When in fact, having the right colleagues (yes, there is such a thing!) is what makes all the difference.
Whether we’re ready to accept it or not, work takes a huge chunk of our lives. It’s a third of our adult lives being spent with people who’re there because of the context. But if these people have the drive and ambition to evolve, it is proven to have some side effects of this phenomenon as well.
We constantly invest in training, educational materials, events, and any kind of activities that can bring us together to achieve more.
And the beauty of it is it doesn’t have to be a formal type of contamination. It’s a natural process and it can even take place outside the office hours. We’ve created a debate club within the company just because someone had the experience and others were just open to exposing themselves to it. And this is a contamination effect.
It’s The High Tech That’s Pushing Us Forward
This title should have had a ‘whether we like it or not’ at the end. The era of automation has blown our minds and has changed the way entire industries operate. It’s harder to notice it from the middle of the storm, but it’s become smarter, more efficient, more production-friendly, and it has generated more revenue than ever before in our history combined. All of this in just a little over a decade or two.
But for people working in the technology industry, growth has a totally different meaning. New technologies arise every day, and keeping up with this fast-pace development is a condition for us to do our jobs. And not in a performant, future-facing way, either. Rather, just the keeping up with tech is a bare minimum kind of effort, a common denominator across all technological applications.
It’s In The Company’s Interest
We’re all familiar with scaling here. You can’t scale a business simply by bringing people from the outside; most of the time, it’s a solid strategy to invest in your existing people and to train them to evolve from within the company.
Creating a healthy workplace where people have the opportunity to grow and are actively encouraged to do so is a strong foundation for business success.