Companies that have a growth mindset, or a belief that skills are learned and that everyone has the potential to evolve, have a much better work environment than companies that have a fixed mindset, or the belief that employees are born with set skills and intelligence.
Researchers found employees in these growth mindset oriented companies feel like their coworkers are trustworthy, feel personally committed to the company and ownership of their work, and believe their organization allows for risk taking and innovation, according to the Harvard Business Review.
Here are some ways organizations can cultivate environments that celebrate the growth of everyone at work.
Find opportunities to learn from mistakes or shortcomings as teams. This could be during team huddles or during retrospective meetings at the culmination of a project. If you just completed a big task together, discuss what went well and what could be improved upon for next time. Don’t blame individuals for mistakes, but instead view missteps as opportunities for everyone to learn.
Observe how other companies are tackling challenges, and share this as inspiration for your own team. Maybe your team doesn’t have the capacity to execute a campaign at the scale of another organization, but you may be able to take something that company did well and learn how to execute it in a unique way. Learning from others, rather than wishing you had the skills or employees of another company, is a great way to inspire and cultivate the growth of your own team.
Organizations that have a growth mindset are more likely to hire from within their own company, Harvard Business Review says, because they recognize the potential of their current employees and are capable of supporting their growth into management-level roles. On the other hand, companies with fixed mindsets are more likely to only hire from outside the organization. They may also favor hiring employees from brand-name schools, rather than based on how a job candidate has demonstrated an eagerness for learning and growth.
Many questions in hiring interviews focus on the accomplishments of job candidates, such as “What have you done that you’re most proud of?” or “What is your greatest strength?” While these are great and valid questions for getting to know someone’s abilities, you should also consider asking questions that tell you whether a potential employee embraces growth and learning from mistakes.
Interview questions that prioritize growth sound like: “Tell me about a mistake you made and how you learned from it” and “Tell me about a time where you weren’t sure how to do something, and what your process was for figuring it out.”
Hiring employees who are eager to learn, whether that’s from their colleagues or from their own mistakes, will help your organization grow in the long-run.
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