Seven Highly Effective Learning Habits That Will Boost Your Team’s Productivity

Learn more about the entrenched set of habits high-performers integrate into their day.

It’s often hard to pinpoint why some employees are more productive and efficient than others. But, look closely, and you’ll see that the top-performing members of your team have an entrenched set of habits integrated into their day.

While “habits” are commonly associated with self-development, like making sure you meditate every morning for 10 minutes or sticking to a healthy diet, they can also improve the learning experience.

And, in workplaces where there’s an increasingly urgent need to upskill and re-skill staff, understanding and nurturing successful learning habits is crucial if you want to create or be a part of a team that plays to their own strengths and is constantly evolving.

Learning is important to your organization because it:

  • Helps retain talent and makes employees feel valued93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. As an employee, it’s nice to know a company values you enough to invest in you
  • Creates a happier, more fulfilled workforce: people who learn at work are 21% more likely to be happy
  • Future proofs your business8 out of 10 learning pros say the changing business landscape requires upskilling and re-skilling. Equipping you or your team with new skills helps prepare you for the future
  • Improves your bottom line: companies that implement workplace training enjoy up to 24% more profit

Here’s how you can implement and nurture workplace learning through 7 highly effective habits:

1. Nurture a growth mindset

More individuals are prioritizing their learning and development paths, and a growth mindset makes this all the more possible. It essentially describes learners who understand that their abilities can be developed and that, with hard work and practice, they can achieve anything.

Two mindsets: graph comparing “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset (source).

Why a growth mindset is important

Employees with a growth mindset are curious and dedicated to improving their skills. Knowing how to adapt to certain situations can help teams overcome business obstacles but, more importantly, growth mindsets are persistent and determined. By changing the way you think, you can change the way you learn.

How to nurture a growth mindset

  • Host company-wide weekly Lunch & Learn sessions where employees rotate to present their learnings or new fun facts they stumbled upon.
  • Support every individual so they can openly share potential struggles they have when it comes to their professional (or personal) development.
  • Let people stay accountable for their work and encourage them to bring new ideas on a daily basis.
  • Set an example by organizing a company-wide meeting about embracing failure where leaders talk about their failures and learnings from them.

Microsoft has famously implemented a growth mindset for its previously-siloed team. Posters have been put up around campus, and staff are now evaluated on how much they’ve helped their team rather than pitting employees against each other in monthly appraisals.

2. Set goals and stick to them

It’s easy to jump into a learning process without a clear goal in mind—especially if there’s no one holding you accountable. You can help employees set their learning goals and monitor their progress so they stay on track, but first, they need to identify the exact skills they want to develop.

Why setting goals (and sticking to them) is important

Setting goals ensures everyone is on the same page and is using cold, hard facts to optimize their learning experience. Without goals, it’s hard to know how successful your team is or whether you’ve actually managed to complete the task you said you would.

One of the most common ways to do this is to set objectives and key results (OKRs) focused on learning and development.

For example, the object might be to “become better at providing feedback to my direct reports”. The key results should be far more specific. In this example, one key result might be to “have three bi-directional feedback conversations with direct reports within Q1” or “give at least two ad-hoc feedbacks per week to my team members”, or “read the Blinks to Radical Candor and journal on my feedback personality by the end of Q1”.

How to set goals and stick to them:

  • Identify the skills or targets you want your team to reach—for example, it might be reskilling in HTML or mastering Photoshop’s advanced techniques
  • Work backwards from the end goal to create separate learning experiences—e.g. taking a one month HTML course, designing a one-page website, and reading a download on the basics of HTML
  • Set milestones and targets to keep track of your progress
  • Track and monitor the results—regularly check in to see how your team is getting on and whether they’re reaching their milestones and targets

3. Stay social while learning

We all perform better when there’s an element of healthy competition involved.

Knowing we’re not alone on our learning journey can work wonders for our motivation and keep us moving forward towards that all-important growth mindset. When we say “social” here, we mean anything that invokes engagement, like collaborative learning, implementing peer-to-peer learning, or gamifying the learning process.

Why staying social while learning is important

Learning together increases engagement.

Simply sharing a course or becoming a part of a learning group prompts people to watch 30x more hours of their educational courses than those who don’t take any social action. In turn, engaged employees are better equipped to overcome learning obstacles.

How to stay social while learning

  • Use technology or your integrated communication tool to exchange feedback
  • Create a book club by opening a Slack channel where people can discuss new Blinks and findings
  • Gamify the entire process by creating a “Top reader of the month” hierarchy for people who’ve read the most books or Blinks
  • Implement peer-to-peer learning or collaborative sessions where team members can work together on problem solving

4. Share the knowledge

Not only do people like learning together, but they’re actually better at acquiring and remembering information when they’re teaching it themselves. This is referred to as the Protégé Effect. In simpler terms, this means that learning something to teach others is more effective than learning for one’s own goals.

Why sharing the knowledge is important

Instead of bringing in outside experts to deliver training, tap into the well of talent you have at your fingertips.

Team members that are one or two steps ahead of their peers will have the capacity to share their personal experiences while on-the-job. Exchanging knowledge in this way makes it personalized to the role and makes the “teacher” employees feel more valued.

How to share the knowledge

  • Start a mentoring program that pairs up employees
  • Encourage team members to host a weekly training session on an area of expertise
  • Facilitate “knowledge swaps”, where employees can get their questions answered by fellow team members

80% of Google’s tracked learning happens through their in-built Googler-to-Googler employee network. Here, more than 6,000 employees have become volunteer teachers who share their knowledge and skills through workshops and one-to-one sessions.

5. Create timely, bite-sized lessons

Workforces today simply don’t have the time to sit through day-long classroom training sessions. Not to mention everyone learns differently, so forcing experiential learners to sit through lecture after lecture won’t do any good.

Bite-sized lessons that team members can pick up when they need to will help them make incremental progress on their skills at exactly the moment they need it.

Why timely, bite-sized lessons are important

Breaking down the learning workload into smaller segments leads to 20% more information retention. This is because knowledge chunks give enough time for a learner to think about what they’ve just learned and not miss out on the important details.

On top of this, it provides flexibility for busy employees as they can organize study time to match their schedules.

How to implement bite-sized lessons

  • Create micro-assets in various media-rich formats
  • Allow team members to access training whenever they want
  • Let employees personalize their learning experience by cherry picking the right micro-assets for them at the right time

This is Uber’s exact modus operandi when it comes to training. Reaching millions of drivers that speak different languages all over the world is not an easy task. To tackle this, they enable mobile learning in bite-sized chunks that drivers can dip in and out of between fares.

6. Understand individual learning styles

Promote sustainable learning solutions that fit the new normal and employees’ work and life flow by looking at every individual. There are four main learning styles to keep in mind, each with its own requirements. Note that each person will have a separate preference for adapting this style to learning socially or independently while others prefer mixing two styles.

Why understanding individual learning styles is important

Knowing how each employee learns best will equip you with the tools you need to give them the right information, at the right time, in the right way. This will empower the learning experience and make it far more enjoyable for every team member.

How to implement learning for different learning styles

  • Visual learners: Ditch plain text for presentations, webinars, and videos (the ones with graphs and charts) so people can visualize what they’re learning. Teaching soft skills? Opt for videos that illustrate real-life situations instead of plain images.
  • Auditory learners: Use Shortcasts to help individuals get the top ideas within a podcast at any time, without having to spend an hour.
  • Tactile/kinesthetic learners: Give them small tasks or projects to complete for every module. Ideally, you want every new information to be followed by a hands-on assignment.
  • Reading/writing learners: Skip lengthy books by suggesting Blinks for them to read and organize. This gives them more time to actually go through books on the same topic and get a hold of their best ideas and minutes, not hours.

7. Dedicate time to learning

People never stop learning because, frankly, this would leave them behind. Time dedication is crucial for upskilling and reskilling and keeping up with demands. Make continuous learning part of your company values.

Why dedicating time to learning is important

Learning doesn’t happen overnight, it’s not linear, and it’s often not tangible. You’ll only start to see results after consistent implementation of these habits and learning processes. By encouraging staff or peers to learn little and often, they can take the initiative and reach their targets.

Every company describes this value differently. The Buffer team, for instance, dubs it a “Focus on self-improvement”, and encourages employees to have higher expectations for themselves and stay conscious of their happiness and productivity levels.

How to dedicate time to learning

  • Set aside learning hours or days for the entire team or incorporate learning time into each employee schedule
  • Leverage an anytime, anywhere learning solution like Blinkist, which lets people find personalized reading recommendations
  • Encourage team members to set goals and religiously track and measure their progress

Summing up

Learning is an integral part of the workplace today. Companies that encourage training see better returns and a more productive team, while employees that can access training resources feel valued and are more likely to be happy and motivated at work.

Creating learning habits is an effective way to make learning more accessible and efficient for teams. The habits outlined here will help your company or your peers implement learning via various different methods to upskill, re-skill, and succeed.


Recommended Blinks:

Learning and Development Handbook Ready for Anything The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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