June 19, 2024

Advancing Corporate Yields

Pioneering Business Success

5 Learning And Development Insights For Employee Equity And Growth

Equitable learning and development opportunities, mentorship and coaching, and factors that might limit employee growth are all points of reflection highlighted in a public health official framework for workplace mental health and well-being. Corey Keyes, a sociologist and psychologist who coined the term languishing, says when people are languishing, they “feel a bit numb like they don’t feel anything bad, but they don’t feel anything good.” Corey says they feel stuck, and a close cousin of stuck is stagnant. According to Corey Keyes, if you stay languishing too long, it becomes pathological and painful.

Whether you’re in the field of learning development by happenstance or intention, you play a big role in enhancing the well-being of employees. Instead of employees feeling neither good nor bad, stuck or stagnant, you can help drive equity and growth. To add to the learning and development conversation, I touched base with Dr. Britt Andreatta. Britt is the CEO of Brain Aware Training and former Chief Learning Officer for Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning). Here’s Britt’s advice extracted from an interview.

Purpose-driven organizations are the future.

Training Magazine’s 2024 L&D and HR Forecast report lists it as #2, and studies by Gartner underscore that this trend, accelerated by the pandemic, is going to define the future of work.

Blending learning helps remote companies.

“Remote companies face challenges around learner engagement (boredom, low participation), technical difficulties (unstable or slow internet connection) and miscommunication between instructors and participants (lack of clear body language), which continue to frustrate learning designers and participants alike.”

Britt also says, “The best approach is to use blended learning, leveraging in-person learning when it matters and maximizing efficiency and scale with online options. Understanding the neuroscience of learning can be helpful here, as it can guide learning designers to the most effective and impactful options.”

Psychological safety creates success.

A global study from Google illuminates what differentiates the highest-performing teams from the rest. Who is on the team matters less than how team members interact, communicate and support each other. The findings validate neuroscientists’ belief that humans are biologically wired to connect and collaborate.

“Engaging with each other can align our brain waves through neural synchrony, aiding our ability to communicate and interact productively. But first, team leaders must establish the critical conditions that drive peak performance at work.”

Studies show that creating psychological safety is the key differentiator of high-performing teams, and facilitating inclusion and belonging is central to success. Britt goes on to say that “leaders need the skills to create the right environment for teams to thrive and excel, but many leadership programs don’t deliver on this important skill set.”

Skill gaps need bridging.

“The pandemic’s impact on education has been profound, greatly impacting Gen Z and Gen Alpha students, some of whom are already entering our workforces. Several studies show that they are developmentally behind in both academic skills and emotional development, and the education system is not closing this gap. We will experience the impact of this lag over the next two decades as they transition into the workforce, presenting both challenges and opportunities for employers.”

The World Economic Forum states that 375 million workers globally will need to be reskilled by 2030. Learning and development teams will, therefore, need to step into these gaps and build the bridges needed to ensure organizational success.

Power alters the brain.

The longer a person holds power, the more likely they are to project their opinions and feelings onto others and, even worse, see signs of agreement that are not there. This plays out in boardrooms worldwide as executives can become more impulsive, less risk-aware, and less adept at seeing others’ perspectives.

Dr. Adam Galinsky, from Columbia University’s Business School, also notes that people with power are more likely to engage in sexual harassment because they “pick up phantom sexual signals from subordinates that aren’t really there.”

Secondly, empathy decreases. In fact, according to Dr. Marwa Azab, power can deform the brain. She states, “The brains of powerful individuals react differently to social cues in ways that resemble psychopaths or patients with frontal brain damage—who lack empathy and the ability to take others’ perspectives.”

Britt says that learning and development and talented professionals can play a vital role in containing the harmful effects of power. Offering executive training is one way to give leaders the skills they need to counterbalance the impact of power. Policies and practices that protect people who challenge leaders are also vital for creating organizational success.

The world of work is rapidly changing, and only workplaces prioritizing the employee experience will be ahead.

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