I Can’t Stop Smiling

Business methods, technology, and working conditions have changed. Agile employees who love learning and know how to apply it may have an advantage.

Boosted Productivity

There was a buzz in the office that morning; the smile on her face couldn’t be ignored. “What’s up with you?” I asked her, “You look happy.”

“Yay,” said Christina, smiling in excitement. “I’m no longer worried about the employee training events that I’m chairing. Our executive committee just met; management is happy with last month’s employee surveys.” She proceeded to share data from her LMS statistics: “The learner feedback is favorable, the course enrollments are up, and the number of hours spent on learning from my team has improved!” Her listing of the favorable stats went on for several seconds. She also pointed out that the company’s third-quarter sales were good.

I looked at her, astonished; her desk was covered with transcripts, hand-written notes, and spreadsheets. A few team members in her department looked over at us, mostly pretending not to listen, staring into their computer screens. As she finished, I asked her: “Who is responsible for making this happen?”

She looked at me, smiling, and then confessed, “I am! And, I can’t stop smiling.”

“So you’re chairing the training committee and bringing new life to those boring courses?” I asked.

“Yes,” she nodded, “I’m in charge. You see”—she cupped her face in her hands— “I have a reputation for getting things done. But this time, I listened to the learner feedback.” She started to then talk about how all her training courses got updated. She made them more relevant to her learners by implementing their suggestions. “We created a focus group that helped identify gaps in our skills training.”

“Congratulations! You’re awesome,” I pointed out—grinning— “It sounds like a big project.”

“The coolest thing about this is that my team looks forward to learning,” said Sally.

“Well, my commissions are up,” said Don, who is one of her employees who was eavesdropping. He smiled and gave us a thumbs up. He was motivated because Sally’s training initiatives affected his job responsibilities in a positive way. He was earning more. You could both hear it in the tone of his voice and see it through his facial expressions.

Learning New Things Can Improve Our Joy And Contentment

“Why is it that sometimes we avoid learning new things?” I asked myself later. Unfortunately, some people feel like they’ve had enough. “Been there, done that,” they exclaim. When employees, communities, team members, and families can’t see that learning new things can be beneficial to their success, they may resist.

We also live in a kill-the-messenger culture; we’re highly critical of the personalities, teaching methods, and delivery of the messages from those whom we might learn the most. But when we put into perspective why learning new things can improve our joy and contentment, then we suddenly can’t get enough.

4 Things To Ponder That May Rekindle A Passion For Learning

  1. It will help your career
    Business methods, technology, and working conditions are changing in some industries. Agile employees who learn how to adapt may have an advantage. One way to adapt is through learning how to make a more meaningful contribution to your employer, your community, your co-workers, or your family. Gain the knowledge to serve them well. It will pay you back in dividends.
  2. You’ll be happier
    We’ve all seen the joy on a person’s face who has discovered something new. They feel empowered, up-to-date, relevant, and included.
  3. You start making better, more informed decisions
    Perhaps the best gift in life is agency (free will to make choices). We all make good decisions and bad decisions. Bad decisions can haunt us, but don’t let them; learn and move forward. The good decisions we make empower us and give us even more freedom. It’s a miracle!
  4. We start earning and saving more money
    From the do-it-yourselfer who saves money and time to the boardroom executive who adds money to the bottom line, they’ve learned how to do it.

The Pressure Of Achievement Sometimes Diminishes The Joy Of Corporate Learning

To build skills in our teams, proper training is critical to complete daily job tasks successfully. Whether it is because of poor communication, unresolved conflict, or lack of skills and experience, there are managers who fail to properly train their employees well. Sometimes they have a check-the-box approach. Thus, they fail to reap the benefits of doing it well. Too often, managers end up feeling like tasks and projects are never completed to their own high standard or level of satisfaction. Additionally, some managers delegate for all the wrong reasons. When the joy of learning is taken away, employees are bored, frustrated, and disengaged.

Many employees can do things better than managers, and when there is clear communication and thoughtful appreciation for their work and talents, they will enjoy helping out. An effective (and joyous) training program can help. Because employees seek order and structure, it is important that managers assign work for the right reasons in an easy-to-understand fashion. Knowledge from training is needed.

How Responsibility For Learning Also Resides With Employees

As a manager, helping an employee learn can be a rewarding challenge…if everything turns out okay. When an employee is doing something wrong, it is natural for us to want to avoid conflict and to feel uncomfortable confronting them about it. Managers are obligated to hold an employee to predetermined expectations of productivity, but it is ultimately the employee’s responsibility to change. Help your employees see the value of learning through a clear set of learning objectives.

Sometimes employee performance suffers because of a knowledge, skill, or talent deficiency. Hence, the manager must actively provide opportunities to correct such deficiencies through additional training, frequent status interviews, job shadowing, or coaching. Your employees will thank you.

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