Imagine a day at work that doesn’t involve endless meetings. A day that allows for uninterrupted time to focus on personal development. These don’t seem to exist in the post-pandemic hybrid world, particularly within a global company that collaborates across every time zone – or does it? Well, Juniper Networks’ Global Business Services (GBS) organization has introduced just that – an initiative deemed Development Day.
So, what exactly is Development Day?
Once a month, all GBS employees receive a calendar block for one full workday where no other meetings are allowed. This day is designated solely for personal and professional development, providing employees with the opportunity to learn new skills, attend training sessions, work on personal projects or reflect on and explore their career paths.
At Juniper, the understanding that highly skilled and motivated employees form the bedrock of success has led to the implementation of the Development Day initiative, just one of many factors contributing to Juniper’s accolades of a Great Place to Work™. The benefits reaped from this initiative have been remarkable:
- Improved job satisfaction: Providing employees with time and resources to focus on development indicates that the company cares about professional growth. This boosts morale, increases job satisfaction and leads to a more engaged workforce.
- Retention of top talent: Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to stay with the company for the long haul. Development Days can help to retain top talent by providing opportunities for growth and advancement.
- Increased efficiency: Learning new skills enhance both individual and team efficiency. By equipping employees with the necessary knowledge, it empowers them to excel in their roles and drive overall productivity.
- Enhanced creativity: With a dedicated day for personal development, creativity and innovation can flourish. Employees can invest their time in personal projects and explore new ideas that can have a positive impact on company growth.
For organizations considering the implementation of a similar program, Juniper’s GBS organization offers valuable best practices learned from executing Development Days:
- Set clear expectations with managers: Communicate the importance of providing uninterrupted time for employees on Development Days and emphasize the avoidance of scheduling meetings on those days.
- Provide resources: Offer employees access to learning platforms. Juniper uses LinkedIn Learning, Gartner, O’Reilly and many others. For companies that don’t have access to these programs, try searching for websites that have free content.
- Foster reflection: Encourage employees to reflect on career goals and contemplate strategies for achieving them. Additionally, inspiring employees to think about how to enhance effectiveness in their current roles adds depth to the personal development process.
It’s also important to measure the success of any cultural initiative. The Juniper GBS organization conducted a survey aimed to:
- Evaluate the effectiveness of Development Days
- Determine if employees received dedicated time from their managers for personal development
- Gather feedback and suggestions from employees to enhance the program further
Our GBS organization received extremely positive feedback when conducting a survey, leading the team to determine that Development Days are a worthwhile initiative that fosters a culture of growth, creativity and innovation. Here are the survey results:
- Usefulness: An impressive 96% of employees found the development days to be useful
- Manager Support: 100% of employees felt that their managers supported them during Development Days
- Dedicated Time: 86% of employees were able to dedicate an entire day to Development Days
- Monthly Themes: 80% of employees wanted help in designing monthly themes for Development Days
Juniper takes immense pride in prioritizing employee development and creating an environment where personal and professional growth thrives. For those seeking an organization that values employee growth and fosters a culture of continuous development, please visit our Careers page to discover what a career at Juniper has to offer!