Imposter syndrome has become a common phrase in today’s corporate world. The term refers to a persistent inability to believe one’s success is deserved because of one’s own effort or skills. In other words, individuals that struggle to see their unique value feel like “imposters” in their workplace. A recent survey conducted by Moneypenny Resources shows that over one-third of Americans claim to suffer from imposter syndrome, signifying a pervasive lack of confidence among today’s workers.
As more employees express this sentiment, many organizations are recognizing imposter syndrome as a persistent experience that is resulting in declining employee satisfaction, higher turnover, and increased procrastination. But is there anything companies can do to mitigate this common human emotion that impacts daily performance? Here are three tactics to navigate – and overcome – imposter syndrome.
1. Boost Confidence through Learning
The unfortunate reality is that learning is often overlooked as a key tool to build confidence – we don’t often talk about how impactful learning can be to combat feelings of imposter syndrome and, as a result, do a disservice to our workers. Skill development plays a critical role in fueling self-worth, especially as today’s employees face challenges surrounding rapid technological advancement and shifting workplace responsibilities.
For example, the need to tackle evolving career expectations has become a constant for our consultant partners. As organizations increasingly undergo the transition from on-premise to cloud, the knowledge and expertise of consultants is expected to adapt to meet demand. This can be daunting for highly technical experts. With the rise of cloud technology, consultants are expected to flip their on-premise focus that required being highly technical to suit the cloud landscape, which requires them to be experts in business processes and change management.
By upskilling, or learning something new, employees can take control of shifting industry needs and evolving roles to transform their tactics and improve how they perform – ultimately leading to stronger feelings of competence.
2. Build a Network of Growth-Oriented Learners
The experience of learning and growing alongside peers is incredibly validating and sets up a strong culture of support that builds feelings of self-assurance. We’ve seen this to be true as we speak to people operating in the SAP ecosystem as part of our one-year anniversary of the partner edition of SAP Learning Hub, a learning offering specifically designed for professionals at an SAP partner and tailored to their needs to advance continuous learning across the SAP portfolio.
By sharing new learning resources or engaging in group learning, employees create an environment of growth that can catapult them for years to come. We’ve been thrilled to read some examples of how our valued partners have benefited from SAP’s learning experiences. Through the completion of certifications, learners have expressed rising levels of confidence in their skills. “The certification has given me a lot of confidence as I approach my work with customers and colleagues, in turn boosting my reputation when it comes to SAP SuccessFactors solutions,” says Jose Lopez, practice manager at Core HR. Developed with the SAP partner organization, it was created to fit our partner’s specific business and the learning needs of its employees, enhancing their ability to deliver value to customers and market their expertise.
SAP Learning Hub, partner edition enables individuals at partner companies to continuously train, certify and stay current with SAP innovations. By staying on top of evolving industry skills, partner consultants consistently deliver value, strengthening confidence and differentiating themselves from the rest. Since the creation of the partner edition of SAP Learning Hub last year, it has been widely adopted by the SAP partner ecosystem, with 30% net-new partners reached in one year and thousands of learners currently using the edition to help increase their knowledge and skills on SAP solutions and achieve certification.
3. Set Goals – And Commit to Reaching Them
Little compares to the rush of confidence that comes from accomplishing a new goal. By consistently setting new personal challenges – and reaching them – individuals prove to themselves their own ability to step out of their comfort zone and commit to growth. Take Tobias Steckenborn, for example. Steckenborn was an SAP consultant for many years and is now self-employed with his company Consolvis. He was determined to set himself a challenge: complete five SAP Cloud certifications in 10 days. The completion of this goal allowed him to better support his team in their technical work and resulted in him feeling more capable in his role as a manager.
“Today, I am no longer just a project employee, but also a manager. As such, I am responsible for promoting my employees. One of my colleagues is currently working on a cloud project. The certification process, including going through the materials offered, has strengthened our theoretical foundations in dealing with various cloud-based solutions,” says Steckenborn. “I’m also able to better operate as a role model and want to motivate my employees to continue their education. If the boss participates in learning alongside employees and doesn’t always just preach, we all succeed.”
The next time a friend or colleague expresses symptoms of imposter syndrome, check in to see if they have the resources available to comfortably learn new areas or refresh their skills. With SAP’s wide range of courses and certifications, individuals at any level can leverage learning to grow their capabilities, develop a network of motivated peers, and achieve goals of new heights.
Jan Meyer is head of Learning Systems at SAP.
Hans Uebe is global head of Ecosystem Delivery Success at SAP.