How a Growth Mindset Can Reinvigorate Teams and Talent — and Why it Starts with HR

According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Learning Report, learning and development will drive businesses in the post-COVID world more than ever before. Though these departments have often played a supportive role in the past, recent and rapid increases in digitalization, remote work, and language learning have disrupted the working world and introduced new skill gaps in the workforce — making L&D and HR departments crucial in charting a way forward.

The need to identify skill gaps and upskill workers is clear enough, but what is less obvious is how companies can make those necessary changes at scale. In Carol Dweck’s influential book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she coined the term “growth mindset,” meaning a belief that one’s abilities can change and develop for the better over time. Though common wisdom suggests we should think of growth mindset at the individual level, the truth is that HR departments and recruiters are necessary to lead the charge in creating company-wide cultures of growth that reinvigorate teams from the top down.

Why a growth mindset is crucial in turbulent times

To foster a growth mindset, companies must first be clear on what the term actually means. As Dweck herself wrote in the Harvard Business Review, a growth mindset is not simply a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not just about being “open-minded” or about being positive and effusive with praise in every situation. Instead, a true growth mindset means seeking out challenging problems that make us uncomfortable (particularly ones we have a “fixed” mindset about), believing in our ability to grow by facing them head-on, and persevering to solve them.

On a broad level, empowering employees to have a growth mindset means changing the way companies think about their team members. Too often organizations play “the talent game,” meaning using metrics and screens to say someone is inherently “good at” something and “bad at” something else. As Dweck explains, this can have negative consequences:

“A company that plays the talent game makes it harder for people to practice growth-mindset thinking and behavior, such as sharing information, collaborating, innovating, seeking feedback, or admitting errors.”

While team members and individuals may start at different points and learn certain skills faster than others, their abilities are better thought of as skills honed over time rather than innate “talents.” By recognizing that this view is often an example of fixed-mindset thinking, companies take on greater challenges and find new ways to innovate.

Fostering growth mindset through language learning

Following the trend of digitalization has been the increase in remote work, which has made the talent pool more competitive. Rather than being limited by geography, teams can assemble virtually from all over the world — which means multiculturalism and multilingualism is only set to increase. In light of this, language learning will only become more valuable to innovative companies. Even so, one of the stickiest fixed mindset ideas is that only some people can learn a new language, or that learning a new language as an adult isn’t possible. Because these assumptions are not true, HR departments can use language learning programs as a great way to disprove outdated ideas and foster a growth mindset culture.

Babbel for Business offers language learning programs that are scientifically proven to improve language skills, no matter an employee’s past experience or age. Because all of Babbel’s programs include an e-learning platform, they can serve as a perfect fit for remote and international teams as well. While learning a second language can improve internal and external communication, it also offers a slew of benefits including better multi-tasking, memory, and decision-making skills — all of which are crucial when taking on harder and harder challenges.

Embracing growth mindset for tomorrow’s challenges

Without a doubt, HR departments face new challenges in the post-COVID world. As work dynamics change, recruiting growth-minded talent who won’t shy from challenges is more important than ever. Even so, as individual talent becomes more sought after among competing companies, hiring managers and recruiters will need to embrace a growth mindset of their own to nurture and support the teams they assemble.

By embracing language learning through programs like Babbel for Business, companies can foster a growth mindset and show employees that they are willing to invest in their development. By doing so, organizations of any size can evolve and upskill for a constantly changing world — getting the best of everyone at both the individual and organizational level.

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At Babbel for Business, we believe that cultural diversity ensures an open-minded, creative atmosphere in your company. Learning another language encourages thinking outside the box and helps your team to find the right words for successful, intercultural teamwork and communication.