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Learn by doing: The evolution of Uber’s growth philosophy

April 18, 2022 / Global

Written by Randy Striegel, People & Organization Development 

Ryan Bricker, Head of People Development at Uber, believes that the concept of “Learn by doing,” which is one of the 6 pillars behind the Drive Your Growth employee development philosophy, “is the simple idea that we’re capable of learning more about something when we perform the action and get immediate feedback vs only hearing about it in a classroom.”

At Uber, we believe there’s no better classroom than real-world experience. And in a “classroom” like Uber, where work moves at the speed of technology and the only constant is change, the lesson plan (as you might expect) grows and evolves continuously. 

So in 2021, to keep up with the learning needs of employees, Uber launched an initiative called Drive Your Growth (DYG), which was designed to help empower Uber employees to take ownership of their professional development.   

But, like everything else at Uber, even the learning philosophy must evolve. So the goal for 2022 is “to enable employees to identify how they can drive their growth—which begins by helping them understand their strengths, their passions, and the strategic needs of Uber,” says Ryan. 

“The DYG philosophy is Uber’s unique approach to development—and exemplifies what it means to help individuals and teams Go get it,” he says, referencing one of the company’s recently updated cultural values.

Drive Your Growth as a company philosophy is built around 6 pillars, which include:

Get in the driver’s seat
Explore your options and choose where to focus, when to learn, and how to grow your skills.

Learn by doing
Grow through on-the-job experience, stretch assignments, and Gigs (temporary internal roles across the company)—and learn in the flow of work.

Think climbing wall, not ladder
Growth doesn’t equal promotion. Embrace new opportunities to help you find new paths to growth. 

Learn from others
You’re not alone. Leverage your team and your broader Uber network to help guide you along your journey.

Maximize your strengths
Focus on leveraging your strengths to create better opportunities.

Give and receive feedback
Timely feedback is the key to achieving your goals—and helping others achieve theirs.

To advance the DYG initiative and help establish a culture of sustained learning at Uber, Ryan and team this month are launching the second annual Drive Your Growth Week, which will feature different learning opportunities such as live workshops, fireside chats with executive leaders and high-profile external guests, and more. Employees will also have access to brand-new learning tools, including bite-sized development resources for employees whose schedules allow little time for classroom or virtual sessions.

And Ryan himself will be hosting a company-wide session to kick off Drive Your Growth Week. And one of the central themes? (Spoiler alert: You’ve heard this before.)

Learning by doing.

“Learn by doing,” Ryan says, “is the simple idea that we’re capable of learning more about something when we perform the action. And at a company like Uber, we literally get to learn more—and do more—every single day.”

Interested in joining us? Explore our open roles →