327. Learning & Development 🚌
10 ideas for learning and development resources
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Learning & Development ideas (on a budget)
We are all on budgets these days.
But this shouldn’t stop us from investing in our teams.
In a recent survey of my team at Oyster, the request came in loud and clear for more learning and development resources. I agree. One of a manager’s main goals is to develop their people, and learning and development is one of the most scalable, customizable, and accessible ways to do so.
When I was at Buffer, we had a learning and development stipend that each teammate could use in a given year. Oyster is a much younger and far bigger company (two years old, hundreds of employees), so we’re still figuring out many of these policies.
That being said, I have plenty of ideas. :)
Here is a list of a few learning and development resources and perks that I’ve employed in the past, that I’ve picked up from great People Ops spots like Culture Amp, and that I’m excited to experiment with in the coming weeks and months.
Got a favorite L&D resource from your company? I’d love to hear from you.
10 L&D ideas
1. Affordable memberships and subscriptions
There are a ton of fantastic marketing courses out there from places like Reforge and CXL. But what if you don’t have $100s or $1,000s to spend on everyone in your org? That’s where you can think a bit more economical and supply smaller budget for one-off courses from places like:
To drill down even further, you could give your team a small bit of money to go subscribe to a favorite creator on Patreon on Substack. Most Substack subscriptions are $100 or less per year, which often get you access to exclusive content and resources. Here’s a view into the top paid Substacks out there.
Get your team to hold lunch-and-learn sessions together (also known as “brown-bag” sessions). Any person is welcome to present on a topic of their expertise. If you hold these once or twice a month, by the end of the year, you’ll have an expansive library of L&D content that you can keep on file and maintain as a resource for new joiners or those who weren’t able to attend live the first time.
3. Marketing team mixers
Use your connections with other marketing leaders to get your teams together for some cross-pollination of ideas and some fun networking of their own. For instance, the Buffer team could hang out for 45 minutes with the Loom team, jumping into Zoom breakout rooms to share the latest strategies and insights.
4. Mixed Mode
This idea comes from Culture Amp and is appropriately operations-oriented:
Create custom training modules to fit the unique needs and interests of different your teams. To provide more customized training, many organizations are transitioning from 100% face-to-face training to a mix of face-to-face and eLearning. Employees can watch sessions when convenient to them and elearning modules can be customized for different audiences - reducing the burden on trainers and enabling employees to be able to focus on what is most important for their jobs.
We’re starting to experiment with this at Oyster with mixed-mode training on Looker and Salesforce to make sure teammates have resources to level up on these tools.
5. “Presenting up”
Another idea borrowed from Culture Amp. With “presenting up,” you create a workshop for those looking to effectively present to senior team members … and then bonus points for giving people opportunities to practice these skills in exec team meetings and company all-hands.
Public speaking and presenting are some of the most transferable, universal skills that you can learn in a job!
6. L&D in Slack
This might be the quickest of the quick-win L&D ideas. Crowdsource L&D by creating a Slack channel where everyone can drop their favorite articles, books, videos, etc. Basically, it becomes a curated source of the trending content of your team’s hive mind. 🐝
7. Carve out time each week for L&D
One way to tell your team that L&D matters is to make sure they have time to prioritize it in their busy weeks. Even if there’s no L&D perk policy in place, the dedicated L&D time can still be well-spent by teammates reading online about their craft, sharing with each other what they’re learning and watching, etc.
8. Guest speakers
Similar to getting a whole ‘nother marketing team to join your team and hang out, you can bring in outside speakers to share with your team on a regular basis. I recently had the privilege of taking part in an inclusive language session with a guest expert, and it was fantastic!
9. Experiment budget
We did this at Buffer for a time. Everyone on the team got $100 to spend on a marketing experiment each month. All they had to do was report back on the learnings to the team. It could have been something as simple as a new tool or a small newsletter sponsorship. Anything goes.
What better way to learn and develop than by building something together!
About this newsletter …
Hi, I’m Kevan, a marketing exec based in Boise, Idaho, who specializes in startup marketing and brand-building. I currently lead the marketing team at Oyster (we’re hiring!). I previously built brands at Buffer, Vox, and Polly. Each week, I share playbooks, case studies, stories, and links from inside the startup marketing world. Not yet subscribed? No worries. You can check out the archive, or sign up below:
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