Recently, I read an article on Google+ that made me do a double-take. The author of this article uses the words of Satya Nadella (you know, that guy who’s now in charge of Microsoft) and his own experience as a CEO to draw up tactics to create a culture of learning in a company. As I was reading through, I thought of how Medallion Bank fosters the same mentality. We have a “hire the person, train (and reinforce) the skills” way of thinking—and it’s working. We are surrounded by smart, talented, caring, ambitious people at work, and we’re better for it.

Does your company practice the same? How do you do it? Is it about hiring the right people, training the right skill-set, reinforcing continuous education, or all of the above? Assuming you do the first two, implementing the third (continuous education) isn’t easy. Here are a few things we do:

 Set Expectations

Expectations, goals, budgets…they all go hand-in-hand, and they need to be complementary. All should be realistic but also push the envelope. For example, our fearless leader produced a VERY ambitious budget this last year. He expected each employee to go beyond the typical yearly goals—“more” wasn’t good enough. We all needed to create a concrete plan of HOW we would accomplish what we set out to do, including training, conferences, etc. that would be instrumental in doing so.

 Encourage Blogging

Write, read, analyze, edit. Repeat. All employees are encouraged to subscribe to marketing, sales, business, financing, or industry blogs that they find applicable. This helps you keep on top of trends in your line of work, and inspires you to write your own posts (kind of like this one). It also keeps your mind sharp and creates a proactive “always learning” mentality.

 The Way We Edit

Tough editing creates a thick skin, a willingness to improve, and a reflective perspective before you submit your own work. If everything you turned in was deemed “fine” with no edits required, how could you ever get better? How could your ideas become more innovative? This extends from the smallest of ideas, like a social media post, to a major business proposal. Revising and improving your work should be expected in a learning culture.

General Employee Happiness

Treating your employees like gold is SO important. People need to feel appreciated and like they matter—not that they’re expendable. Here at Medallion Bank, we go beyond the everyday reinforcements. We have lunch together on every employee’s birthday, team-building events several times a year, and general office activities every month or so (to name a few). For our office culture, that’s what works—for yours, it may be different activities that bring your staff together.

What does your company do to encourage the “always learning” mentality?