– by Ainsley Lawrence

– Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with an interest in the way business, technology, and education intersect with the personal. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.



Organizational growth is certainly one of the primary aims of most businesses. For growth to be sustainable, though, it has to be supported by a workforce that can grow alongside it. This is why it’s so important to ensure your culture includes a commitment to employee training at all levels within the organization. Even when promoting from within, every work environment has its own nuances and idiosyncrasies that can make or break the employee’s experience and their performance. Don’t assume they already know what those nuances are or wait for them to figure them out on their own.

Solid training programs make a real impact and tell the employees everything they need to know about the organization’s investment in setting them up for success. This isn’t just about upskilling to equip your organization for the future. Right now, your continued workplace productivity is dependent on training and development processes that boost staff engagement.

When employees are more confident and competent in their abilities, and exactly how to best apply them in their new environment, their performance levels tend to be higher. Not to mention that a well-trained workforce can lead to innovations that make day-to-day improvements and a more competitive company.

Recruit for Learners

Not every candidate is open to development or coaching. Some may feel they have little more to learn or even that they don’t want to grow with your company. This doesn’t necessarily make them bad employees. Yet, if you want to prioritize growth in your organization, you need to recruit willing and active learners.

So, what characteristics could suggest candidates are learners? Some of these include:

  • Self-driven learning: Review applications for prior commitment to learning. This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional university qualifications, but rather self-driven learning. Have they taken online courses purely for their own interest? Do they have hobbies that have required them to gain skills? This can indicate that they have a passion for learning without being forced to.
  • Curious attitude: Effective learning tends to benefit from curiosity. During interviews and when reviewing applications, you could look for signs that the candidate has followed their curiosity. Have they traveled to experience different cultures? Do they ask insightful questions about your organization?
  • Trainable traits: Not every candidate is trainable or open to coaching. Keep an eye out for the traits that suggest trainability. These may include problem-solving, a willingness to collaborate with others, and flexibility. You can use behavioral interviews to ask for examples of situations where they’ve demonstrated these traits. This is also essential for ensuring that candidates will look to uphold and adhere to compliance standards.

Sometimes it isn’t fully clear from interviews and applications whether a candidate is suitable for a culture of growth. American Recruiters’ Contract-to-Hire service can help here. Our service enables you to onboard an employee for a trial period. As a result, you can get a better idea of how likely they are to develop with your business before bringing them on full-time.

Review and Adjust Your Current Training

Even if you’re pretty confident that your current training program is effective, it’s still well worth taking a closer look at how you can fine-tune it. Often that means that the organization’s leaders and training systems architects have to put their own egos aside to promote and accept constructive dialogs.  The first step can be to get your workers’ insights into how engaged they are with your program. You may find you get more honest responses from anonymous surveys. Quantitative questions that score aspects of your program can provide useful data, but make certain there are also qualitative questions that allow workers to expand on their responses and offer suggestions.

Another practical way to assess your development approach is to compare it to the elements that make for more successful training programs. Some of these include:


Effective development practices tend to incorporate a diverse range of training types. When all you’re offering is classroom learning, employees can become disengaged. Adopting the 70-20-10 approach — 10% formal learning, 20% coaching, and 70% hands-on experience — is a good rule of thumb.

Short modules

Making training modules overlong can be pretty overwhelming for staff. Wherever possible, break your training into shorter chunks. Create five-minute training videos, assign 20-minute practical tasks, and produce 10-minute assessments. These tend to hold attention and enthusiasm better.


There’s definitely a serious side to development, but this doesn’t mean your staff shouldn’t have some fun along the way. This begins by making certain the facilitator is genuinely enthusiastic about their subject. Embedding funny roleplay scenarios, games, and creative opportunities makes learning more enjoyable, too. Not to mention that studies suggest that the chemicals our brains produce while having fun can directly improve our cognitive functions during learning.

This assessment can help you to see what missing elements your development programs might benefit from. Importantly, by adjusting programs so that employees are motivated to engage with them, you can increase their knowledge, their self-worth, and their commitment to your business.

Keep Employees Meaningfully Involved

Team buy-in is important for any successful organization. When workers willingly and actively commit to the goals of the business and its projects, there are opportunities for more effective collaborations. Not to mention that everyone has greater ownership over their activities and a stake in the outcomes. This is no different when it comes to creating a culture of growth. Getting your team to buy-in to this idea is key to ensuring its success.

Achieving this buy-in effectively revolves around keeping them meaningfully involved with the program. They can’t just be subjects of it, but active participants. This is particularly important for issues relating to compliance with laws and internal regulations. Achieving meaningful involvement begins with the aforementioned surveys about their feelings and suggestions surrounding the training processes. But you can also go further and invite them to design training content. Consider creating projects where staff groups work with a professional educator to produce materials they think will be most useful for the next generation of workers.

Another way to keep workers meaningfully involved with the training process is by making it clear that it’s not just serving your company’s interests. You can do this by also offering opportunities for learning skills outside the company’s requirements and more focused on workers’ personal interests.

Some businesses provide a monetary and time budget for workers to engage in personal learning. Not only can this spur development, but it may also motivate workers to advocate for the program among colleagues and potential candidates.


By developing your workforce with training, and a strong commitment to those principles, you create a strong foundation upon which your company can grow. This requires prioritizing training throughout workers’ lifecycles, starting with recruitment and providing both courses and mentors as they progress, so that they are aware of company new company updates, expectations and regulations.

In addition, be on the lookout for unexpected learning opportunities you can encourage your workers to join, such as volunteering with community organizations. This can help to strengthen the overall culture of development and growth for your business.

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