10 Companies with Great Learning and Development Programs

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. Since every company has its own values and culture, there are many ways to make learning and development programs successful. To gather inspiration for a new program, here are ten examples of companies that have successfully provided learning and development for their people.

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, incentivising both personal development and nurturing others.

2. Pixar
Pixar University offers required trainings as well as optional classes for different disciplines. Pixar President Ed Catmull says, “Pixar University helps reinforce the mind-set 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 self. 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 a more 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 on 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 the 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. Each employee works with their respective manager and department head to determine what programs are appropriate for their development while also providing business impact. Examples of recently attended development programs include Search Inside Yourself leadership training, Managing to Change the World, eMetrics training, and conferences on the circular economy. In addition to professional development budgets, Optoro offers both exempt and non-exempt employees access to internal management training through an intense 10+ week class. In 2016, over 40 employees went through this series.

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