SFG8: Lifelong learning

Why is this important? Copy link

Did you know? 91% of Gen Z employees rate professional development as one of the most important factors for choosing where they want to work 


  • Personal growth is one of the most sought-after attributes of any role.
  • There are many cost-effective ways to nurture a culture and opportunities for learning. Making it easy and relatable is key. And don’t underestimate the power of learning from each other.
  • Ensure that training or coaching is embedded in the context of the organisation - be it through alignment to values, or performance framework. Consider setting up accountability groups that require articulating how the learnings have been used.
  • Establish a systematic learning needs assessment and monitoring process to ensure that all employees access learning and development–not just those who proactively seek it.
  • Offering your staff access to blended content is great but doesn’t guarantee engagement. Self-directed learning is at its best when it’s curated.
  • Ambitious people often leave scale-ups because they feel that their learning curve has plateaued. Reframing some of the day job activities as growth and stretch opportunities is paramount.


Where to start Copy link


Pre-seed/seed Copy link

  • The day job is full of learning curves and stretching opportunities!

Series A Copy link

Tap into learning & development opportunities that don’t cost a penny:

  • Leveraging open source knowledge: Lunch and learns, or TedTalks company-wide events are a great way to strengthen company culture. This could be structured around the company values, or simply the interests and passions of staff.
  • Book club / Company library with book suggestions crowdsourced from your staff is another great asset. Many start-ups also send a list of suggested readings or gift books/ebooks as part of the new-joiner process.
  • Peer coaching/ knowledge sharing: Cross-fertilise organisational knowledge, diversify thinking, and strengthen 1-to-1 relationships between different layers of the organisation by matching people from different functions (e.g. engineering and commercial functions).
  • Network participation: Encouraging staff to join relevant industry and thematic networks outside of the organisation.
  • Uncovering untapped potential: Asking your staff what hidden skills they have which the organisation doesn’t know about.

Series B onwards Copy link

  • Build L&D into the performance review process to underline management’s commitment to it as being important, and to ask what the worker needs to be able to do their job better, more efficiently, more confidently or to grow to the next level.
  • Convene in-person training workshops, on broad topics like diversity and inclusion, to being a good communicator or management skills.
  • Offer a dedicated annual training budget and/or protected time for personal growth to encourage staff to invest in their own growth and development.
  • Provide access to an online learning platform. Ensure that the platform has been configured and curated for your organisation to make it relevant and engaging to your employees and maximise uptake.
  • Group coaching (either paid or self-directed) is a great way to build a sense of cohort and community while mentoring or reverse mentoring can strengthen 1-to-1 relationships between different layers or functions of the organisation. Furthermore, 1-to-1 peer coaching between engineering and commercial functions can be a great way to cross-fertilise organisational knowledge and diversify thinking.

Data collection Copy link

  • % utilisation of annual training budget
  • # days invested in L&D

Useful resources and further reading Copy link

Examples and testimonials Copy link

Kaia Health puts a strong emphasis on learning from each other, through the pairing of each new joiner with a mentor, and regular running of lunch-and-learns and company-wide training and speaking events. Additionally, Kaia offers all its employees an annual education budget plus four days off to attend events and conferences and work towards a certification of their choice.

"We help each other to deliver the best results! This is the philosophy that I believe in! It is how we can do more to enable and empower each other! Always reach out to offer help when you can!" Zhaoyang Jia, People Operations at Kaia Health Europe.

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