The 21st-Century Workplace is a Cognitive Battleground. What’s Your Training Strategy?

Ever feel completely wiped at the end of of a work day? According to Nemo Chu, a neuroscientist might offer the following explanation:

The brain, despite being just ~2% of our body’s mass, actually accounts for ~20% of our body’s total energy consumption.

What is 20%? To put that in perspective, that’s like having a 20-watt light bulb burning in our heads. And that’s when we’re doing nothing. In other words, our brains are burning 20% of our body’s energy while we’re in our resting state.

Not only does our brain demand a lot of energy, but much like the rest of our body, it has been biologically programmed to try and conserve energy. But in today’s knowledge economy, more and more demands are being put on our brains and, in turn, the more and more our brains want to conserve.

So how does this impact trainers? According to Chu:

The 21st-century workplace is a cognitive battleground, and if training and development professionals want to do battle there with their workshops and PowerPoint slides, be ready to face a lot of opposition.

For some organizations, knowledge workers simply aren’t ready to learn in the workplace.

Chu advocates making learning material accessible for individual to learn when they are ready to learn, when their brains are more rested and not being sollicited by whatever else is going on in the workplace. In fact, Chu advocates developping learning content for mobile devices for anytime, anywhere access.

References:

Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Who Else is Working On What I’m Working On?

Yesterday, I blogged about the use of microblogging to improve productivity in an organization. Today, I focus on microblogging to improve connectivity within an organization.

In a recent blog post about using a microblogging application such as Yammer for communities of practice and knowledge management practices, Renata Gorman writes:

This feeling of connectedness creates more engagement on your part so you continue to answer Yammer’s question: “What are you working on?” Soon, people see your updates and reach out to help you, you see others’ updates and reach out to help them. It is like you belong to one big Borg brain (if you are a StarTrek fan).

Gorman pegs Yammer as a tool that captures context, content and experts and she is right on the money. In my opinion however, it has one small little drawback: you have to search Yammer to get the entire picture of who’s working on what.

Enter Enterprise Collaboration Tools from Brainpark which aim at making the workplace more collaborative, transparent and efficient by injecting information into the workflow. You no longer need to search for who is working on the same thing as you; the right information is pushed to you at the right time, creating what Brainpark calls business sense. The Brainpark model is making waves, earning the technology industry’s prestigious Red Herring Global 100 Award.

References:

Microblogs (Yammer) for Communities of Pratice (CoP) and Knowledge Management (KM) | Renata (Reni) Gorman’s Blog | 10 April 2010
Enterprise Social Networking Startup Wins Red Herring Global 100 Award | Brainpark Blog | Mark Dowds | 26 January 2010

This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Strategically Implementing Microblogging in your Organization To Boost Efficiency

In a recent blog post, Harvard Business Review’s Jeanne C Meister and Karie Willyerd advocate using microblogging to enable the members of an organization to communicate and share information with one another more rapidly and efficiently than ever before.

So what exactly is microblogging? It is the practice of posting very short statements, commonly 140 characters or less, via a microblogging service such as Twitter.

However, because the objective is to communicate internally within an organization, Twitter, which broadcasts in a public realm, isn’t going to be very good for sharing enterprise information. Enterprise social software such as Yammer will allow you to recreate a private social network for your organization and keep the information contained.

Meister & Willyerd suggest that if you are considering implementing microblogging within your organization, there are three lessons to consider:

  • Start small and monitor results.
  • Provide training to employees.
  • Integrate Microblogging into your workflow.

By strategically implementing microblogging in your organization, you leverage the social media savvy of your Tweeters and cut down on the time and effort to disseminate and gather enterprise information. Two birds, one stone!

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Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Very Close to my Heart: Creating a Bully-free Workplace

For those who know me well, they know the issue of bullies in the workplace is an issue very close to my heart. It is amazing how much bullies can suck the motivation out of a team and how this can have a direct impact on performance. You can hire the most competent people on the planet, but if you subject them to bullies, you will ruin them.

A startling 37% of American workers — roughly 54 million people — have been bullied at work according to a 2007 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute. The consequences of such bullying spreading to the targets’ families, coworkers, and organizations. Costs include reduced creativity, low morale, and increased turnover — all factors that weigh heavily on the bottom line.

Among targets of bullying, 40% never told their employers and, of those who did, 62% reported that they were ignored. This suggests there’s a significant opportunity to increase profits and beat the competition by eliminating the prevalence of workplace bullying in your organization. But how?

The first step is to identify the root of the problem.

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The New Paradigm of Advantage

Great take by Umair Haque on the necessary paradigm shift that companies must in order to be agents of change rather than simply agents of opportunity. Author Umair Haque writes that the 21st century demands from firms of all stripes: a paradigm shift in the nature of advantage.

Here’s something you might not know. There’s enough food in the world to feed pretty much everyone. So why are more than 1 billion people — nearly 20% of the world’s population — either starving or malnourished? And why, over the last two decades, has global hunger steeply risen?

The answer has everything to do with the past — and future — of advantage.

The past of advantage was extractive and protective. The future of advantage, on the other hand, is allocative and creative.

Allocative advantage asks: are we able to match people with what makes them durably, tangibly better off — and can we do it 10x or 100x better than our rivals?

Creative advantage asks: is our strategic imagination 10x or 100x richer, faster, and deeper than our rivals?

Extractive advantage asks: how can we transfer value from stakeholders to us, 10x or 100x better than our rivals?

Protective advantage asks: are buyers and suppliers locked in to dealing with us, 10x or 100x more tightly than to rivals?

He even makes a Prezi about it.

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The Importance of Learning in Talent Management Strategy

Cornerstone OnDemand has published a new white paper titled “Failing to Learn: Why Learning is Critical to Strategic Talent Management.”

Focussed on best practices, the paper addresses how learning is essential for:

  • Onboarding: Avoid making new hires sink or swim in your organization.
  • Performance: Develop employees in the middle, not just high and low performers.
  • Succession: Do more than just identify skill gaps, actually address them.
  • Compensation: It’s not just about the money.
  • Social networking: Don’t hide the knowledge and expertise in your organization.

Talent management can empower your employees to thrive and help your organization retain them. But the irony is that most talent management solutions are missing the one critical component that will make that business impact a reality – learning.

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ePortfolio: Uncovering the Talent in your Organization

I went to beautiful Banff, Alberta to deliver a presentation on ePortfolios at the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) conference’s conversation café.

Presentation Summary

An ePortfolio is an online record of formal and nonformal learning experiences and accomplishments which goes beyond the traditional résumé form. The objective of my presentation is to look at how implementing an ePortfolio development project in an organization can permit HR professionals to have a more holistic and complete picture of the knowledge, skill and abilities of the talent within their organization.