15 Effective Ways Business Leaders Can Inspire Employees to Constantly Learn and Grow

Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

In business, creativity sparks creativity, and the more employees are allowed to learn and grow in their positions, the more ideas and innovation they are able to bring to their company as a result. Continued learning, therefore, can be a powerful benefit to the company and employees within it, offering them new and exciting challenges and opportunities for promotion and leadership.

To encourage this growth and development, employers can opt for a multitude of strategies. Business leaders themselves, the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council each shared the way in which they and their department managers inspire their employees to pursue continued growth and learning throughout their careers.

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Offer One-on-One Personalized Development

Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge we share, the more confident the staff are within the business. We work one-on-one with team members to give more personalized development, giving team members tasks that lean more to their interests and career goals over time, which also gives them more responsibility and agency. – Jonathan Kleeman, Restaurant Story

Lead Weekly Coaching Sessions

One key way our department managers help support team member growth is through weekly coaching sessions. Together, managers and team members will review the scoreboard, chat through tailwinds (what went well) and headwinds (roadblocks), then plan goals. This process helps identify key patterns where the team member can use support so the manager can provide specific learning materials to help. – Max Baumann, Basemakers

Have ‘Friday Freedays’

We do something that we call “Friday Freedays,” which is open time every Friday afternoon where everyone either works on some off-the-wall side project idea or learns about some new tool, technique or technology that may or may not be related to their normal work throughout the week. This is important as it helps get the creative juices flowing to work on different things each week. – James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

Create a Culture of Entrepreneurial Thinking

Be committed to fostering a culture of entrepreneurial thinking within your business. Empower team members to solve problems and take ownership of their roles and responsibilities within the company. Provide the tools, resources and freedom to succeed. Inspire innovation so employees feel motivated to learn and grow. Incentivize with bonuses tied directly to results for mutual financial gain. – Traci DeForge, Produce Your Podcast

Back Up Words With Actions

If you tell employees learning and growth is important for their positions, yet they are pulled out of workshops or other development opportunities regularly to attend meetings, clearly learning and growth is not important — the meeting is more important. Yes, meeting emergencies happen, but don’t run your business this way. Prioritize. – Gregg Brown, Change Ready Leadership

Learn From Mistakes

We are a 100 percent remote workplace at Ginni Media and are located across 14 different countries. Freedom is a value that is important to everyone in the team and, based on that shared value, we encourage accountability and growth in the way we approach our work. Problems are seen as opportunities. We learn from our mistakes and bravely share them in our weekly wins and “oops” meetings. – Ginni Saraswati, Ginni Media

Lead by Example

Assign some homework. If you want your staff to keep learning, you must provide them with an example. You should start with a few classes yourself and share the result. Start a conversation and encourage the staff members to take the course also. Try and ask staff how some of the things learned can be applied in the company. – Michael Polk, Billboardology.com

Host Collaborative Strategy Meetings

We encourage a learning environment through regular strategy meetings where everyone can contribute and learn from one another. Bouncing ideas off team members creates a great energy. No idea is off the table and, when there are questions on implementation, we work together to find answers. This is especially important when innovating in a new category like Surreal is doing in the non-alcoholic industry. – Donna Hockey, Surreal Brewing Company

Solicit Feedback From All Voices

I encourage my managers to actively solicit ideas and feedback from the bold voices as well as the not-so-bold voices on our team, particularly during brainstorming and idea sessions. People may be hesitant to speak up for different reasons. The boldest voices will always be heard, but the best ideas and solutions can also come in whispers. – Oludare Odumosu, Zelira Therapeutics

Discuss Books and Articles

One specific way that we encourage growth and development within our team is by sharing what we’re reading and tuning into as it pertains to media. Sharing an article or a book on a specific topic will enhance team engagement and cohesion, as well as growth and development. Team cohesion ensures the success of the organization because everyone understands where the team is heading together. – Marla Matime, Voice Media Ventures

Provide Funding

At Candy & Flowers, we give employees a budget for continued learning and development. Whether it’s joining an organization that provides educational opportunities or regularly attending cannabis industry events, we expose our employees to the best our industry has to offer and encourage them to come back and share their experiences and insights with the rest of the team. – Erin Roche, Candy & Flowers

Promote From Within

At Untitledexport MGMT, we believe in not only training our existing team members for their respective positions, but also in assisting them in their growth process to potentially fill leadership roles. As a company, when you promote within, you not only set the example with new hires to get them on the same path, but you also build long-lasting relationships with the leaders of departments. – Logan Forbes, Untitledexport MGMT

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Support Inquiry and Transparency

As a startup, we are all growing together! I always encourage an environment of inquiry and transparency. I trust my team to take the lead in areas where they excel and to ask questions in areas of growth. That trust is returned, which is a great feeling! – Amanda Reiman, Personal Plants

Encourage ‘Stretch Projects’

We encourage employees to take on their own “stretch projects,” where they pitch an idea of a project they’d like to work on that may not be part of their typical role or job description but is supplemental to the employee’s own professional development. By doing that, we encourage employees to continue education in their passions while investing in the growth and longevity of our team. – Jessica Billingsley, Akerna

Reward Originality

The key is to allow members to “unlearn” in order to relearn. We have an open mind theory that says that just because it’s always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean that it is the best way. We ask that each person offer ideas and suggestions to streamline their position and activities and then we reward them accordingly for their originality when implemented. – Greg Reid, Greg S Reid

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