Guest commentator: Trevor Smith, Navy Yard Civic & Social Engagement Coordinator, PIDC @PIDCphila, and YPC Advisory Board Member

How can young professionals be a part of a culture of shared learning in the workplace?

Unapologetically, I am a millennial inside and out. I crave transparency, I’m not shy when it comes to sharing my opinion, and I strive for validation in the workplace. As a young professional, I know I’m not alone here and far too often I’ve had conversations with fellow young professionals about the lack of feedback and guidance in their work. The conversation usually ends with: “ . . . well my next job will be better anyway.” However, finding a new job doesn’t have to be the solution. We as young professionals have the power to champion change and be the opportunity makers within our own organizations. We can be the catalyst of a shared learning environment.

Here are 3 tips on how to spearhead a shared learning environment in your workplace:

  1. Share what you know. When your colleagues need help, share your knowledge with them. Don’t be afraid to be the coach and teach them until they learn. Then, you can empower your colleagues to do the same for their teammates. By doing this, you start to create a culture that promotes learning.
  2. Offer feedback. There is nothing wrong with offering feedback to your colleagues. Offering positive critiques and suggestions to help facilitate better meetings, create better agendas, or even speak clearer during presentations uplifts morale and builds confidence. By giving feedback, you’re encouraging them to be their best selves and allowing them to succeed beyond their limits.
  3. Bungee into engaging with others. Collaborating in small groups fosters retention and ideation. Embracing collaboration is a great tool to explore new sides of your company and help keep a work-life balance that’s fresh and healthy. If you didn’t know, Google encourages employees to take “bungee” assignments for three to 12 months in different areas of the company. This probably isn’t feasible in your work, but there’s nothing wrong with targeting mid- to upper level leaders in your company and arranging one-on-ones. Leaning into engaging with others reinforces a shared learning environment.