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Blog - 10 companies with great learning and development programs
Lexi Croswell, author

Lexi Croswell

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Culture Amp

Workplace learning and development programs empower people to gain new skills and grow professionally. Employees are more likely to be engaged at work when companies offer learning and development opportunities. A focus on learning and development can also increase retention.

Since every company has its own values and culture, there are many ways to make learning and development programs successful. To gather inspiration for your next learning and development program, here are ten real-world examples of what companies have implemented to help their employees learn, grow, and develop.

10 examples of learning and development programs in the workplace

1. Yelp

Everyone at Yelp has stretch roles. Giving people responsibilities just beyond their current capabilities creates an engaged workforce and a culture of mentoring. People are promoted from within, incentivizing both personal development and nurturing others.

2. Pixar

Pixar University offers required training as well as optional classes for different disciplines. Pixar President Ed Catmull says, “Pixar University helps reinforce the mindset that we’re all learning and it’s fun to learn together” according to Harvard Business Review. They support their directors by empowering them to make decisions and take care not to undermine their authority. Directors take development into their own hands by asking for help from a “creative brain trust” of filmmakers, a pillar of their peer-based process.

3. Airbnb

Fireside Chats are one way that Airbnb shows its dedication to learning. These internal events bring in industry leaders who share their insights on a certain topic. Airbnb says, “From CEOs to musicians, these leaders always have something invaluable to teach us.”

4. Earls

The Visions + Goals program helps people at Earls create life visions and communicate goals that help them be their best selves. It also involves occasional company retreats. Guest experience training takes place through a combination of face-to-face training and eLearning.

5. Etsy

People are empowered to learn from others at all different levels within the company. At “Etsy School” employees both teach and learn in classes on a wide range of topics like tap dancing or how to navigate a difficult conversation. The Etsy Learning and Development team helps people find a focus for their career development.

5. OverDrive

Employees are provided with a Professional Growth Planner at OverDrive. This guide showcases opportunities available for learning and development and helps people decide what is best for them. Employees and managers are encouraged to work together and track progress throughout the year.

6. Thrive Digital

Accepting applicants at all levels of experience is something that is encouraged at Thrive Digital. Team members have upward mobility to move into new positions even if they enter with limited knowledge of the industry. Training is offered on the paid search channels they’ll work with over time, and Thrive’s partners often provide additional opportunities in their areas of expertise.

7. 1800 GOT JUNK

1800 GOT JUNK created the A-Player Development Program for professional development. They offer a series of workshops taught by employees that cover a variety of topics like franchise development and strategic planning.

8. Culture Amp

Each employee has access to a professional coach through the Coaching for Everyone program. Employees are provided with sessions at 6, 12, and 24 months and they can choose to focus on personal or professional goals. Coaches help assess where a person is and where they want to be, then guide each person through a strategy to reach their goals.

9. Digital Ocean

Individual development planning and ensuring that everyone has a career they can grow into is important at Digital Ocean. People map out what they want to accomplish each year, looking at how their professional objectives tie into business strategy along with their personal goals.

10. Optoro

Optoro encourages its employees to participate in conferences, organizations, and learning programs that will keep them at the top of their field. All exempt employees are given a professional development budget to use throughout the calendar year. Employees work with their manager and department head to determine what programs are appropriate for their development while also providing business impact. In addition to professional development budgets, Optoro provides internal management training through an intense 10+ week class. In 2016, over 40 employees went through this series.

If you want to know what matters at your company when it comes to learning and development, an employee engagement survey is a great place to start. Check out our article on the 20 employee engagement survey questions every company should ask for a how-to on collecting employee feedback.

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