Design an environment that promotes quick learning
Companies that learn fast stay ahead of the pack, and the ones that learn slowly stay behind. The world is changing faster than ever, and keeping up to speed is a must in order to survive. Not only so, the key to innovation is to predict the changes in the world or even to trigger them. The only way to do so is by learning fast. However, it is easier said than done.
Spotify believes that learning is key to the company's success: learning leads to development, and development leads to employee growth, which ultimately leads to the company's growth. They deem learning and development to be a key determining factor to their success as a company, which is why they feel like they need to have a strong company culture that supports learning and development. That is, a culture that ensures fast learning for the employees.
Here is what Spotify does to promote a fast-learning environment for their employees and their teams.
Clearly define your vision and purpose
It all starts from the top, with a leader that guides the way for the company and defines its culture clearly. When the direction where the company is heading is clear for everyone, team members have an easier time finding their purpose. Employees that know their purpose and believe that they are a part of something greater than themselves are motivated workers.
Engage employees in the learning process by creating an online learning portal
Spotify employees are expected to learn on their own, learn from their peers and teach each other. At Spotify, the Learning & Development department's job is to create an environment where employees are in the best position to grow as much as possible. This approach, usually referred to in the literature as "peer-to-peer learning", is based on decentralized responsibility.
To engage its employees, Spotify encourages them to participate in their learning portal, an online platform where all of their employees can start a "community". In these communities, employees are free to share whatever they feel can be helpful for other employees. They have no restrictions or control as to what is shared, which makes for a more fun, engaging experience. It's a collaborative effort to learning, instead of the L&D department holding all the responsibility. Spotify believes that the social aspect of this community is of the utmost importance: people tend to trust and accept more easily information shared by a peer, rather than by a manager they don't even know.
Promote autonomy and mastery
Autonomy comes from the decentralized model of learning at Spotify. The fact that employees are, ultimately, responsible for their own development doesn't mean that they are left on their own to figure things out: they receive the tools and support to be able to sit at the driver's seat of their own development. And having this autonomy motivates them to succeed in their development.
Another motivational factor is mastery. Spotify focuses on achieving mastery both individually and as a company. They both will only help the company's growth.
Let your employees know that failure is a learning opportunity
It's important to not view failure as something bad, but as an opportunity to improve. Spotify dares its employees to try to innovate, fail, and learn from that failure. If failure is not accepted in a company, innovation will be very limited.
Innovating is thinking outside the box. Employees need to embrace chaos and don't be scared by it. Great ideas can come from messy situations with unexpected connections. It is important to avoid having very strictly defined processes, or everything will be in order and there will be no room for chaos, and ideas will not flow as fast.
Spotify believes that a collaborative effort is best for innovating. The fastest way to do so is by encouraging employees to share ideas, work together and inspire off of each other's points of view.