Providing learning opportunities in the workplace is a critical component of business sustainability. According to the World Economic Forum, “By 2020 30% of current core workforce skills will be outdated…New core work-related skills will include cognitive abilities of flexibility, problem sensitivity, and social skills such as emotional intelligence.”
To replenish skills and to remain competitive, organizations need to get maximum value from learning opportunities. But how?
It can be difficult to learn new things, so it’s important to consider the conditions that give employees their best chance at success. For learning to be effective, it requires focus, mindfulness, and good problem solving.
Building a Strong Foundation for Learning
Sleep, nutrition, and exercise are the foundational physical conditions related to healthy cognition. Improving these foundations is possible with training, and results in positive outcomes in all areas of our lives.
Stress management is important as it relates to the physical conditions for learning as well as environmental ones. If individuals are not managing existing stress well, they are unlikely to be open to taking on more. They may resist learning and the change that comes with it simply because they don’t have the capacity to take on more. Learning to manage stress, put issues in context, and recognize and correct maladaptive coping are prerequisites to learning.
Sense of purpose, self-confidence, positivity, and a good support system construct the internal and external environments to generate success, and to be invested in continued growth. For example, employers need to respect the time commitment involved, and be aware of the various demands on learners if they expect employees to succeed.. Individuals need motivation to learn-—a clear sense of the purpose for their efforts and an optimistic view of what the results will be.
Learning does take effort. It can be facilitated by metacognitive learning experiences, as well as by learning content that is consistent with how we learn best—from choices of content format (written, audio, visual, etc.)—to the size of content chunks, the spacing between learning sessions, and repetition. Most importantly, as we improve our cognition by making our minds more resilient, we learn better.
A Resilient Mind is a Growth Mind
People with resilient minds have confidence in their ability to integrate new information and try new things. They handle change well, and remain open to new ideas. When our minds are resilient, we recover well from failures and see new opportunities for improvement.
Resilient minds are creative and innovative, constantly creating new connections while learning new things. Cognitive capacity increases as neurogenesis and neuroplasticity work together to improve how we think.
What makes a mind resilient? Research in neuroscience tells us that there are a set of basic factors underlying our ability to create new brain cells (neurogenesis), as well as to put those neurons to use creating new connections in our brains.
Cultivate Resilient Minds that Continuously Learn and Grow
For many employees, stress and lifestyle-related wellness issues are obstacles to any goals they may aspire to. Below are ways employers can help.
1. Providing employees with tools to identify their biggest drags is the first step to helping them develop a growth mindset. It allows them to identify and focus on their areas of greatest need, and those that are foundational to subsequent goals.
2. Offering content specific to employees’ needs helps them to save time and maximize their efforts. Often people become lost in the maze of self-help materials, just trying to find a way out of their problems. Employers can assist by providing personalized tools so that individuals can hone in on the areas of their life where they have the greatest need and embark on improvement journeys that don’t waste their time or frustrate them with excessive and often irrelevant content.
3. Serving up more learning opportunities as employees’ progress advances. When people begin to manage stress, or even just begin to see hope that it can be managed, they quickly become able to take on more challenges. Even small increments of positive change in sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress management open new doors to the motivation and confidence to take on more. Small successes improve confidence and positivity as well as ambition purpose to continue the journey.
How do we help an entire workforce to adopt a growth mindset? We provide them with the tools and competencies to be healthy, manage stress, set and focus on new goals, and finally to understand how their minds work so that they can work with themselves, rather than against themselves as they learn.
To equip employees with the tools for success, learn more about how we work. Ready to see it for yourself? Schedule a meeting with a resilience solutions expert today.