When setting out to create a learning and development program for Agni teammates, we had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted it to achieve. We wanted to make Agni feel like a place of wonder -- one that activates and nurtures each teammate’s growth mindset, and where learning is not a means to an end of doing a job, but a journey that can take you where you want to go.
We also wanted to honor one of our company values, which states that “people are whole, complex, and unique,” and drives our belief that what’s best for a given teammate and what’s best for Agni are the same thing. We wanted that sentiment to inform our individual growth paths, and invite teammates to explore their passions in service of Agni, with the knowledge that if Agni provides the space and resources to do so, both teammates and Agni will not only benefit, but thrive.
We also felt clear on what we didn’t want: for our L&D initiatives to feel like a bone that the company could throw to teammates to retain them without being thoughtful about what each teammate wants from their L&D journey, or for our various L&D initiatives to feel disparate from one another, unrelated save for the broad L&D bucket that they fall into.
Once we figured out what we wanted our L&D experience to look and feel like, we looked beyond the Agniverse for inspiration. We researched: what are other folks doing to feed curiosity, inspire a love for learning, and connect disparate opportunities to create one, whole experience?
While plenty of companies are offering great learning opportunities for their employees, we didn’t find a framework that fit our vision in the business world, so we looked beyond it. We examined institutions whose whole modus operandi is learning and growing to see what we could learn from them. In the end, one type of environment drew us back over and over: universities. Here’s why:
Core to these spaces are:
- Dedicated time and resources for learning and growing: an environment that values and inspires a strong growth mindset.
- Choice: they provide the infrastructure; you decide what to participate in.
- Abundance: opportunity is abundant.
With this newfound roadmap to awesome learning environments, we put together Agni’s approach to university-style learning. Here is just a sampling of the pieces of that puzzle that fit together to create one, whole learning experience. Each bullet heading represents a common piece of the university learning experience, and each sub bullet represents something we might offer at Agni.
- Role specific training
- Manager training if applicable
- Invitation to collaborate with other teams beyond your core responsibilities
- Annual L&D budget for each teammate to pursue specific skills of interest
- Career center
- External mentorship program to learn from others in your field
- Regular touchpoints between managers and direct reports that focus on the growth of the direct report
- Guest lectures
- Opportunities to learn from people experts within Agni’s network, like advisors and partners
- Senior theses
- Agni Theses, which are long term independent projects that are of interest to the teammate and serves Agni in some way; usually completely separate from the teammate’s normal day to day responsibilities
- Study abroad experiences
- Job shadowing to better understand how other professionals in a given field work
- Agni advisory, which is in house coaching to help teammates work through challenges, identify a thesis project, or better understand how to take advantage of Agni’s offerings and resources
- Optional non-work focused workshops
This framework does two things simultaneously: it invites teammates to think through how they want to learn and grow, and it demonstrates clearly how Agni can use its dedicated resources to help them on their journey. Our team has loved these initiatives so far, and are already putting it to use by pursuing theses (writing a book, recording a podcast, and becoming certified in mindfulness and meditation, to name a few), seeking out the advice and guidance of mentors in their fields, taking courses to help them upskill, and more.
Want to connect more about our L&D program or other team focused initiatives? Don’t be a stranger! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @agniforall.