How do your employees learn?
That question, or some variation thereof is common in the world of job seeking. It’s one of questions people like me (HR nerds helping other HR nerds) recommend that job seekers ask during their interview. It helps job seekers gauge what their experience will be with a potential employer.
It opens the door, just a smidge, to the culture of the organization. Do they value learning? Do they offer programs that truly challenge their people to grow?
Beware responses that are vague, or feel overly standardized.
- “We have a robust program for continuous development of our employees”
- “Our employees have access to development throughout their employment”
- “We strive to provide the best learning opportunities for our employees based on need”
If you feel “meh” when a prospective employer tells you how their employees learn, slowly back away.
Instead, here’s what I think you should “feel” when an organization answers this question.
You should FEEL the learn. You should think “whoa, that sounds awesome”, whatever awesome may be to you. You should see the excitement in the interviewer’s eyes as they explain how they learn, and how their colleagues learn. You shouldn’t want the interviewer’s response to end; you should want to hear more.
You should not only want to work for the organization, you should want to LEARN WITH that organization!
You shouldn’t feel as if you’ve been given a canned response, or that the learning being offered represents more of what you already have.
In fact, in a more informal world, I’d say the question should actually be,
What are the cool things your people do to stay current in their field?
If you have the choice, go somewhere where you will be challenged to learn amazing things from amazing people. Invest your talent in an organization that won’t be afraid to send you someplace to learn things that will challenge the status quo.
Seek an organization that talks about development in way that makes you want to, perhaps more than anything, FEEL THE LEARN.
Image credit: "Streichholz" by Sebastian Ritter (Rise0011) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons