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How Agile HR leaders create better Employee Engagement

Adrian Sita
27 Apr, 2020
4 m read

HR leaders: find out how humans learn

Researcher spent over 100 years on understanding how humans learn and remember what the’ve learned!

This book is a scientific result, impressive in its scope. The subject is very vast and there is a lot of information out there, usually the academic type that is not so practical and could be hard to get everything about the subject.

But I’ll try to summarise some ideas:

  • The more intensively we process information, the more likely we are to remember it.
  • Deep processing. The act of paying attention and mind the thing something through leads you to remember it. If we pay attention (to be there in the present moment) and having thought about something, then is much likely to see the results.

It depends on the agile HR leaders to take care of the "learning spaces" where employee engagement is happening and to assure that the entire experience in the company is memorable.

agile hr

How learning on the job will happen?

Preparing for the next generation of leaders. The Future of Education. The future depend on the HR leaders to use Agile in HR in order to create the right amount of employee engagement from the first time an employee arrive in the company and the time is leaving the company.

Agile HR leaders should make the first interaction as an onboarding process that helps the new hiring person to understand what can do inside the organisation. The next enormous step is to make the recent hire a "star" and interview them after 1-2 months to understand what he/she wants to change in the onboarding process and overall experience that they had! So, the basic idea is to focus on learning something by thinking at its nature, implications and interaction with other things and switching a lot to the context.

A principle of learning, for example Principle of Desirable Difficulty, which states that people learn best when challenged not so much so they get frustrated, and not so little that they become bored — but at just the right level, the so-called “Goldilocks Spot.”

Getting people to the Goldilocks Spot means that we induce them to pay attention and process as much as they can, enhancing the amount of learning. If they pay attention to the right information to learn, then means you are in the present moment.

What about “just right” level of information? Is the same for everyone? HR leaders, what do you think?

The “just right” level of challenge differs from person to person. But even so could differ for the same person, depending on the subject that the person is learning it. Because of biases that we all have, the more you know about something, the more difficult the material can be before I challenge you beyond your capacity to process effectively.

Learning technology

So in education, training, learning activities, having such a big number of variables, applying this principle is challenging. But wait… Let’s check if the current technology can be on our side and check if this principle (Principle of Desirable Difficulty) can we apply it to learning activities for many people at the same time? First, you need to collect data on learner performance. This should come in help for HR leaders.

First thing first

Before a course or a live stream or a webinar is ending, learners can take a short quiz, and the individual quiz questions would we can code according to exactly which competencies we are testing. The learning experience platform (we prefer Knolyx) would track each student’s performance at a granular level. This is something that can help learners as well by making continuous learning is easy by receiving at a regular interval of times quizes for reactivating part of the brain corresponding to memory.

Second thing

Second, introduce them in CoP (communities of practice) where the active learning is happening — shown repeatedly to be a very effective way to learn, in part because it induces deep processing. Critically, each breakout group activity we can classify it according to which competencies are being drawn upon. The agile HR leaders just need to create the environment where the people will learn

Third thing

Third, HR leaders should know that each of the activities that students perform in breakout groups can be “multilayered” — depending on how the learner is more or less deeply in thinking.

The social interactions during the CoP (communities of Practice) could lead learners to adjust how deeply they process the relevant information — to keep the activity from being boring, activities can encourage learners to nudge each other to move to their collective Goldilocks spot.

HR leaders, the good news is that technology creates enormous opportunities to use the science of learning in fresh ways... one of them is to use the onboarding process exactly in the first month to help the unfamiliar hire to find the right place in the company. Then using CoP will continue the onboarding process for a few days to a few weeks till the real learning on the job is happening. This presented approach would scale very well and incorporates the social component that is so important in learning. Onboarding process should have the right amount of information to do exactly this!

This article is part of a bigger topic called: Employee Engagement

Some (final) thoughts

This article is part of a bigger topic called: 

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