Let's talk about Employee-to-Employee learning.
🤔 Why you should care about it
"I promise you that in your organisation there are people who are expert on every facet of what you do, or at least expert enough that they can teach others." - Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations at Google, in Work Rules!
The best people to teach your new team members already work for you; they're just busy doing something else. At Google, 80% of all tracked training programs are part of an employee-to-employee network called "g2g" (Googler-to-Googler).
Tech companies need to upskill newcomers —> especially when hiring junior engineers or coding Bootcamps alums, companies need to reinforce critical programming skills before the new team members can contribute autonomously.
It's challenging to reward top talents internally —> when star team members are well compensated, it's hard to find social rewards to recognise their value within the company.
On-the-job learning doesn't work —> it's almost impossible for team members to learn new skills just by observing colleagues or on their own while working on projects.
Creating an Employee-to-Employee learning program allows:
- Experts share their knowledge and get internal recognition for it;
- All team members to learn highly adapted content from actual practitioners;
- The creation of a structured library of all your company's knowledge.
To roll out an Employee-to-Employee learning program, you need to:
- Advertise the program and recruit your first facilitators;
- Train your facilitators on teaching skills and your desired pedagogical structure;
- Create a positive and kind feedback loop from participants and HR so facilitators can improve.
💡 Key Concepts
Peer-to-Peer Learning —> when one or more students (or coworkers) teach other students (or coworkers). Research shows that peer-to-peer learning in the workplace improves participants' understanding and encourages social connections.
Facilitation —> teaching methodology where the "teacher" helps participants acquire, retain, and apply knowledge and skills through discussion and collaborative problem-solving.
Corporate universities —> a university internal to a company designed to teach its key knowledge, skills and behaviours.
"Star team members don't have the time to teach their colleagues." —> if top performers only focus on production, it will only widen the skills gap with their colleagues and create a too big dependence on them.
"Not all experts are good teachers." —> this is true, but these experts can learn the necessary teaching skills. Also, teaching helps team members develop leadership.
"Surely my team members are not the best in the world at what they do." —> using external training organisations can help cover the unknowns within your organisation and keep raising the bar.
📚 Top book
The Corporate University Handbook: Designing, Managing, and Growing a Successful Program - Mark Allen
⚙️ Top guide
Create an employee-to-employee learning program - Google re:Work
📝 Top content
📝 Teaching - The Unicorn CTO —> my contribution to the topic; an overview of how you can teach software engineers in your company.
📺 Google's g2g program: A lesson in community, culture & trust - Sarah Devereaux —> a thorough presentation of Google's g2g program from its Global Lead.
📝 How to Help Your Employees Learn from Each Other - Kelly Palmer and David Blake —> an HBR article on how peer-to-peer learning can be a powerful development tool in the workplace.