Competence and learning are in a key position in a tech company like Solita. However, we shouldn’t mix competence and learning with each other. Learning is a skill that can be practised. Competence is a result of learning, and it is a significant asset for both the individual and the company. Our job as an employer is to make sure that learning is supported in daily work so that employees’ and company’s competences can renew.
We all have a huge potential for growth
At Solita, we see learning as part of daily work with clients. Even though stand-alone formal educational elements are important, one seminar a year does not make the company an advocate for learning. Learning means that people practise, reflect and improve their ways of working as part of their work. This process needs to be integrated into daily practices.
The idea behind our learning-friendly culture is that we believe in people’s potential to grow and learn new things. The prevailing thinking here is not supporting this “fixed mindset” type of idea, where talent is seen as an innate characteristic. There is also a premise in our leadership that everyone has the ability to learn, and we all have massive growth potential.
Learning-friendly culture is visible from recruiting to client work
What does our learning-friendly culture mean in practice? Even though we continuously aim to develop methods that support learning, at the end of the day, all employees are responsible for their own learning and development. That needs to be taken into consideration when recruiting new people. People who are willing to grow and develop thrive in our culture. Learning requires a humble attitude and courage to admit that one doesn’t master everything yet. That’s why it can also be scary.
Learning is also integrated firmly to our onboarding path, to make sure the newbies at Solita can quickly get an overview of the opportunities we have here. In addition to standard seminars and courses, we have a library and reading circles. You can also find different employee-initiated learning communities, where colleagues dive deeper into topics that they find interesting.
Client projects are one essential way to learn in a consulting house like Solita. Already when staffing the projects, we aim to think, how we could support learning and development and consider peoples’ interests. Projects need a right balance of seniority and juniors, to maximise both quality and learning. Team members can execute a variety of assignments inside of projects, but also rotation between different projects is common here.
In daily work, it’s important to think about how people can reflect their performance. For that, we need constructive feedback and open discussions during the client work. For this purpose, we have come up with practices like “daily” and “retro”.
Daily means that the project team gathers up every morning for a short time to discuss what they are doing and how the team could adjust their plans for the day. In daily, people can deal with challenges in the project or just discuss how people are feeling. Daily can serve as a space to discuss potential issues or share general feelings about the project – or life. Retro, in turn, is a frequent reflection discussion where the team evaluates what is going well and where to improve.
Learning is a prerequisite for our success
Solita is a growing international tech company; for us, learning is the prerequisite for success. It helps us to take care of the most important asset of the company: the competence of our employees. Growth mindset also keeps our curious employees in a good spirit; people here want to develop.
The world is changing fast, and there is something new happening all the time in the tech industry. It’s not sufficient that people only learn about new technologies. In a good and balanced working life, people also need other skills; like self-leadership, influencing and conflict management skills. We have focused on these competence areas more in recent years. Or course, we are not ready or perfect – but the target state is right and the direction clear.
Comments from the field
“There is an idea in the core of learning and development that we are not afraid of new industries or technologies. They are all things we can adopt, and the adoption has a positive impact on different ways of learning. This learning results in growth and development.” Pekka Haavisto, Data Architect
“Every client context is different and provides challenges to apply the competence I have collected. Piloting together with the client and other Solitans brings new opportunities to learn, as long as we have a curious mindset. By combining different competencies, we can create new learning experiences at work; every day.” Marko Taipale, Principal Consultant
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