27 June 2019

Engaging employees through learning and development: who’s doing it well?

Learning and development is a process and takes some work.

It’s not a one-off event or tick-box exercise. It’s the stimulant of growth, progression and success; the eggs in the culture cake.

So what can companies do to inspire their people to keep learning and working on their personal and professional development? We’re always keeping our eyes out for cool stuff that organisations are doing and have rounded some of them up here.


Encourage learning in the day-to-day

Box 25 x 25 x 25

Cloud content management company Box believes that L&D is an essential component of employee engagement, and so do we! They introduced some healthy competition to encourage their employees to learn more by offering $25 Amazon gift vouchers to the first 25 people who read/watched 25 minutes of content.

Bitly lunch ’n’ learn

Once a week, colleagues at Bitly (a URL shortening service provider) gather together for a catered lunch and to learn from someone on a subject they’re passionate about. One person presents while everyone else listens, building a culture of constant learning, a sense of community and a weekly perk to look forward to.

We love this idea and have just introduced something very similar here at Synergy! Our lightning talks series works on a similar basis, giving our people a chance to learn new, interesting stuff from their colleagues and allowing presenters to share their passions with the team. We’ve already heard from Keri on feminism and Jodi on love languages and have some brilliant topics lined up. Let us know if you’d like to hear more about them!

TrustArc’s company hoodie

Privacy solutions company TrustArc weaves L&D programmes into onboarding for all new starters. They have the chance to earn a company hoodie by completing mandatory courses plus one extra course of their choosing. This encourages people to keep learning and ensures that every member of staff starts off with the same level of knowledge. While this particularly prize isn’t totally awe-inspiring, we love the idea of incentivising learning. 

WeLearn Wednesdays at Getty Images

The Talent and Leadership Development Team at Getty Images encourage learning each Wednesday by sharing one recommended course through their internal social media platform. Getting senior leaders involved saw a spike in enrolment, especially after the Chief HR Officer shared what he was learning about via a selfie.


Make it social

People are social creatures and we seem to work better when we get our heads together to discover and create something amazing.

Wikipedia – ‘the sum of all knowledge’

“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing” – Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia co-founder. The key thing that makes Wikipedia work is its community. It allows people to share knowledge with each other, creating the content and vetting it too.

TED – ‘inspiring conversation’

Using a range of channels, TED articles, podcasts and videos can be accessed by anyone who wants to learn. Their agenda is to ‘make great ideas accessible and spark conversation’. Some favourites from the Synergy team are:

YouTube – ‘classroom community’

Whether you’re looking to learn an instrument, take a yoga class, fix a car or put up a shelf, YouTube has your back. Millions of people are successfully gaining new skills from YouTube’s Learning channel. Check it out and be part of the community.

Google ‘Nooglers’ and G2G

Employees at Google have their own learning identity; they start new to the company as ‘Nooglers’ and progress to ‘Googlers’. Google also employ a peer-to-peer learning culture – Googler 2 Googler. They believe that it’s the responsibility of everyone to promote and own their learning culture, helping each other to upskill as they go.


Always, all ways

Learning never stops, it’s a constant process. When sharing knowledge with people, it’s crucial to know your audience and make it easy for them to discover and digest your content.

BBC Bitesize

From ‘how to deal with embarrassing parents’ to a GCSE-level overview of the Elizabethans, BBC Bitesize know what’s important to its audience on different levels. Using a multichannel approach – from blogs, to videos – their content appeals to everyone.

John Haynes and the Austin 7 Special

John Haynes built an Austin 7 Special in a school outbuilding to avoid taking part in PE classes. Creating a step-by-step manual on how he did it led to the birth of the Haynes brand. The pragmatic process is still used today to help anyone complete a task from start to finish – think IKEA flatpack furniture!


Inspiring your own employees to keep learning

So there we have it, some brilliant ideas for how to add some excitement to your learning and development programmes. Everyone works and learns in different ways, so varying approaches can work across teams. We’ve helped a range of companies with their L&D strategies to inspire and spark creativity in learning; if you’re looking for some help with yours, get in touch and we’d love to help. 

Other resources we love for learning: 

Similar Articles

9 February 2023

2023 predictions: Employee Experience takes the lead

On the back of a brilliant 12 months in 2022, and as a definite sign…


19 December 2022

2023 Employee Engagement trends

As we move into what we hope is a short recession, employer brands which are…


15 December 2022

The Truth about Britain

Recently, I went to McCann Worldgroup’s ‘Truth Central’ series which are deep research studies into…


14 November 2022

How businesses are redefining workplace culture

Humanity has burst through the corporate layers and demanded its rightful place at the centre…