Many companies provide some sort of professional development opportunities for their employees. It might be during the workday or an option to attend outside webinars, presentations, or conferences.
But what about going for a virtual team hike?
That's what OpenTent does to promote team learning, and in particular, learning from each other.
When Co-owners Sam and Kayleigh were first dreaming about what they wanted their company to experience, Sam had the idea to start a weekly time for dedicated learning. Though this time has gone through several iterations over the years, the idea of a team hike fit well with the vision to navigate through the mountain range of building a team and awesome work for our clients.
What might be a bit different from other types of professional development or team building exercises is that during a Friday Hike, the goal is to learn about new ideas, practices, or company experiments all together, and led by members of the team itself.
We've even made it a part of our employee manual:
Imagine a Team "Hike." Our bi-weekly Friday Hikes are our time for building team-wide knowledge and skill-building to help us navigate and improve the company, and our work on the ground with our clients. We climb learning curves, see things from a new vantage point, and strengthen our team "fitness."
What do we learn in Friday Hikes?
Topics include either team learning about something specific, or a show-and-tell for a cool recent technological or cultural success with a client.
Some examples from recent Hikes include:
Calming our Work: Talk about three pressures unique to our consulting work, and then tools and language offered in response
Show + Tell: Varied presentations on different aspects of completed/ongoing client work
Feedback That Sticks: Session about practicing giving and receiving positive and constructive feedback
But What is Skuid? An overview of a set of application development tools for Salesforce admins and developers which can be layered on Salesforce’s CRM and application ecosystem
What are staff expectations for Friday Hikes?
Teammates are not expected to become an expert on a whole new topic during a Hike! The person leading the Hike will frame the bite-sized learning objectives at the beginning. In general, Hikes are about deepening our understanding of a topic, but it is normal to come away with questions and things we might want to explore further!
What if the topic doesn't apply to everyone on the team?
Our goal is generally for the team to learn together. However, some topics are not as meaningful for all teammates. Sometimes they are optional, sometimes they are required.
Friday Hikes take place in the shared zoom space, "Campfire Tent" every Friday. We have found them to be an excellent way to strengthen our team bond, learn from each other, and celebrate the varied knowledge, experience, and expertise of our company as a whole.
To learn more about OpenTent's way of Working Out Loud, get in touch here!
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