Organizations with a growth mindset encourage employees to develop the abilities and skills they need to do their jobs. They create opportunities for improvement and growth, rather than focus only on employees’ innate talent. Furthermore, they believe that individuals can change, which is invaluable for their employees. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are forcing employees—and their employers—to adapt or die, the belief that one can change may have never before been such a valuable attribute than in today’s workplace.
So what is a growth mindset? According to the NeuroLeadership Institute, “[it] reflects the dual belief that improvement is both possible and the purpose of the work employees do. In a growth mindset culture, most—if not all—employees hold those two beliefs simultaneously.”
With the help of technology, this dual-belief system of possibility and purpose can manifest throughout an organization on a daily basis. Through technology-enhanced growth-mindset strategies, organizations can help employees change behaviors, identify meaningful work, build better habits, and stay current in the future of work.
Why is it so important for organizations to adopt a growth mindset?
By 2020, up to 375 million workers worldwide will need to change roles or learn new skills, according to a McKinsey report. For organizations, this represents a daunting task of closing the skills gap so they remain competitive. On the one hand, they must retain the individual employees best suited to shifting into new roles and learning the necessary skills. On the other, create a workplace that attracts new talent to fill any skills gaps left.
Growth-mindset companies are very familiar with the adapt-or-die mantra as artificial intelligence and automation are changing how they do business and grow. Digital transformation initiatives require a workforce that can embrace change and a growth-mindset organizational culture provides the ideal framework to foster a growth mindset.
Growth mindset vs fixed mindset
Curiosity and learning lead to innovation and accomplishment. The driving force behind this statement can be summed up as a growth mindset, also known as an innovative mindset.
So how can organizations embed the concept of growth mindset into their culture, work processes, and talent cycle?
Creating an organizational culture that promotes a growth mindset requires initiatives that employees can adopt and incorporate in their daily tasks. Peer recognition of a colleague’s efforts to improve; feedback on areas for improvement from a team member on a project; or a post about a department’s accomplishments are all examples of ways organizations can integrate a growth mindset into their culture.
This is less of a daunting goal today thanks to technology. There are four key opportunities to create a growth-mindset culture in organizations:
- 1. Use technology to help build relationships and trust. Employees in “growth-mindset” companies are 47% more likely to say that their colleagues are trustworthy. Facilitating meaningful connections between employees is critical to building a strong social ecosystem that fosters trust. By encouraging social interactions among colleagues, organizations can unleash a powerful organic way to reinforce behaviors that are tied to a growth mindset.
- 2. Understand the adoption of growth-mindset competencies through data, and reinforce them. Employees in a growth-mindset organization are 49% more likely to say that the company fosters innovation. Take some of the organizations using StarMeUp OS’s BetterMe application, for example; they’ve chosen to embed competencies like “innovative” and “flexible” in their culture, which are clearly tied to a growth mindset culture. They then get employees’ to give each other feedback on those competencies to continue to strengthen them.
- 3. Recognize the ups and downs along the way toward achieving a goal, not just the end result. Employees in a growth-mindset organization are 65% more likely to say that the company supports risk taking, which is a critical component of innovation. In the rapidly evolving business environment, smart risk-taking is a necessary skill but employees need to feel safe enough to take risks, make mistakes and learn from failures. One way to promote this behavior—and a growth mindset—is to publicly recognize those employees who take smart risks as part of their day-to-day efforts. Platforms like StarMeUp give organizations the tools to identify those employees and ensure they are recognized.
- 4. Give feedback in a timely manner and on a continuous basis drives a sense of ownership among employees, especially when they feel recognized for their accomplishments and successes. In fact, employees in a growth-mindset organization are 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company.
Simply put, growth-mindset organizations have happier employees and a more innovative, risk-taking culture.
Source: Senn Delaney-Stanford organizational mindset study findings. 2014
The link between a growth mindset and productivity
What is growth mindset? What does it mean for employees? In a LinkedIn survey, 2,400 professionals were asked: In your current job, what is the number one thing that inspires you and makes you happy and want to work harder?
The number one response was the nature of their work (26% of total responses). The second was opportunities to learn and grow (19%), a critical component of the growth mindset.
In fact, the survey found that employees who spend time at work learning are 47% less likely to be stressed, 39% more likely to feel productive and successful, 23% more ready to take on additional responsibilities, and 21% more likely to feel confident and happy.
There is especially poignant because it touches on the three key driving forces behind greater productivity in the workplace: inspiration + happiness + hard work. In fact, according to research, happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees.
The possibility of improvement and the purpose of work
People should be at the core of any organization’s growth-mindset strategy. Seeing all employees as individuals with the potential for improvement, able to learn and assume leadership responsibilities will go a long way to building a growth-mindset culture.
Leveraging the everyday opportunities to celebrate the different examples of the growth mindset at play will not just impact employees’ productivity, engagement, and motivation. As a result of technology-enhanced initiatives such as StarMeUp or BetterMe to improve the employee experience, there will be a trickle-down into other areas like the customer experience and supplier experience.
By making growth and development a core value of an organization, companies will make strides to embed the concept of growth mindset into their culture.