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Goldman Sachs Universitys 5 Tips for Creating a Learning Culture

The company, the 2007 Optimas Award winner for General Excellence, puts a premium on training, development and education for its employees. Here are some of its secrets for success.

March 23, 2007
Carol Pledger, managing director of Goldman Sachs University, has worked hard to create a culture based on the company’s commitment to training and development. She offers five tips on creating a culture of learning:

    1) Make sure that it’s clear to employees how the training programs will help them do their jobs better. Employees want to do as well as they can, and if they think that training will help them, they will be willing to participate.

    2) Try to link training initiatives to the company’s business strategy so that it’s clear what the business goals are. That way, people are motivated and they are getting messages from senior people about the importance of the programs.

    3) Don’t make it mandatory. Mandatory is a bad word at Goldman. The company has minimum training requirements, but refrains from punishing employees who do not meet these guidelines. "It’s more about creating the culture behind the program," Pledger says.

    4) Get buy-in from senior executives. Goldman Sachs University engages senior executives in the development of its training programs. By getting their commitment to them, Goldman can expect that their employees will also be committed.

    5) Make it easy. People have different work styles and patterns. To address this, Goldman offers short programs and uses different delivery channels so that people can fit the training into their busy days.