Humanizing Workplace Culture Part II: Investing In Your Employee’s Growth & Development Is Not ‘Optional’

April 03, 2014 No Comment
If you missed the Introduction to our series on Humanizing Workplace Culture, click here to read it! You can also catch Part I: Humanizing Workplace Culture Through Transparency!

“Work is about learning. Learning is never complete and we have a respo­nsibility as indiv­iduals to make sure we’re always learning. We also have a respo­nsibility as organ­izations to provide resources and envir­onments for learning. This is not a choice, it’s an imper­ative. Learning has value for the organization.” – Maddie Grant

Empowering the people who work for you, only makes everyone and the organization thrive. When leaders and organizations invest in their talent and provide learning and development opportunities to their employees- they feel cared for and valued, which motivates and positively impacts everyone. In Part II of our series, we focus on what managers can do to enable and facilitate growth and talent development. Incorporating coaching and onboarding programs, for example, can directly impact employee retention, motivation levels and performance.

There are many ways to foster growth and learning – not only on an organizational level, but also in a more personal manner through strong, supportive leaders. Many of the people currently working and joining the workforce are young, seeking opportunities to develop skills and contribute in a meaningful way. It is a well acknowledged fact now, that Millennials will soon dominate the workplace and savvy employers realize they need to focus on what they need. Interestingly, it turns out that what millennials want from work is not too far off from what most of us want!

Take a look at this graphic from HBR.Org on ‘What Millennials Want’:


The chart demonstrates what millennials want from their boss and the company they work for, and what they want to learn. They clearly have a deep need for having leaders who can help them map out their career paths with coaching and insights – both formal and informal. They want to take ownership and be productive, but also work for a company with strong values. These are all traits which almost any employee would want from their organization. Frankly, when such needs are met, it humanizes the work culture, and lets people know they are valued.

Importance of Coaching, Mentoring & Training
A company’s success is strongly linked to the success of its employees, making it important they receive positive coaching and training. When time and effort is taken to develop their skills and abilities, they feel valued and become more productive.

Younger members of the workplace and millennials especially feel they would benefit from mentoring programs — almost 60 percent of millennials believe their bosses can offer experience, and 41 percent think they can offer wisdom. (Source)

The results from setting up a mentoring program could prove to beneficial to more experienced leaders, too. I can’t think of a better way for managers and their employees to have a better understanding of the business and each other’s goals, than working together. And I’m not alone.

“Pairing newer, less experienced employees with more experienced employees is a great way for people to learn from one another. Mentors can serve as a sounding board for younger employees, and can provide job coaching, advice on career development, and introductions to other professionals in the industry.” (

Opinions on the topic of mentoring millennials are widespread but, has a great article with tips on how to mentor millennials. Read it here.

Employee training programs are also as important as mentoring programs. By offering training services, inside or outside of the office, it shows that you value the people that work for you. The newfound skills the employees learn will only benefit the company in the long run.

Tanveer Naseer offers another look at the idea of employee training. He mentions how leadership plays a big role here because it’s more about the actions leaders take than the programs themselves. “Although training programs are useful in imparting information and ideas, it’s our daily behaviours that provide the context for those ideas. The behaviours we exemplify and evoke in others also serves to shape workplace attitudes and with it, the real culture and values found in your organization.” (Source)

Onboarding New Employees
Discussions on humanizing organizations, more often than not, touch on new employee orientation programs. Older, more traditional models are argued to be too impersonal, leaving the new employee confused and left to sort it out on their own. But there haven’t been any “one size fits all” solutions presented. TalentCulture CEO, Meghan Biro, shared her thoughts on humanizing the onboard process in 2012 stating, “perhaps it’s simply a question of defining what we mean by social learning, but organizations and HR leaders should be cautious about throwing out traditional onboarding programs too quickly in favor of those powered by social media or automated systems.”

Social Learning and Connection
Social learning is another way to help empower employees, and should be explored. Leaders should encourage employees to share their process and progress with others, both informally and on-the-go. When information is shared, learning from successes and failures help humanize connections within organizations, and growth occurs naturally.

“Being able to celebrate and commiserate with others as they share with us the process of learning about a new idea or technique is unquestionably important to the learning process and the sense of value and meaning we derive from it.” (What Leaders Can Do To Encourage Learning and Growth)

Invest in your organization’s most important asset: its people
If your employees are operating as their best selves, you will benefit. Don’t lose sight of this in the process of implementing important systems into your organization. Building a stronger, more connected and humanized workplace culture will provide deeper engagement and happier, more productive employees, so make sure you invest in what makes your organizations thrive: Your people.

How do you encourage growth and learning at your workplace? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments below!

Stay tuned for our 3rd and final part in our “Humanizing Workplace Culture” series, focusing on the power of collaborative work environments!

-Lolly Fitzpatrick