This week on Imperative’s webinar series, we had a powerful conversation with Dr. Britt Andreatta, neuroscience expert and top learning influencer for 2021. Dr. Andreatta’s unique background in leadership, neuroscience, psychology, and education enables her to speak directly to the challenge many learning and development leaders are facing: in this remote world, how do I help my people learn and grow?
Neuroscience helps us understand what’s likely going on in the brains of our people, ultimately showing a clear path to unlocking their ability to learn and grow in our currently stressful and remote environment.
Overwhelmingly, it’s clear that the pandemic has exacerbated what was already a huge issue: loneliness and lack of connection. The state of loneliness creates a negative flywheel that continually reinforces its own negative implications. When people are lonely, this leads to stress, anxiety and depression, which in turn renders them with a lower capacity to connect. This cycle can continue in an infinite loop unless there's intervention.
For learning and development leaders, this is particularly grim as this psychological state creates huge barriers for employees’ ability to learn and develop.
If loneliness is one huge barrier to learning, then the other is lack of reflection. Time and space for reflection have declined as we work longer days and no longer have the transitional times that used to be baked into our daily lives. During the webinar this week, Dr. Andreatta referred to it as “time and space to metabolize a situation or emotion.”
Reflection is needed in order for people to be able to process stress or change, two things we have an overabundance of in our world today. Reflection is also the necessary mechanism that enables deep learning, in which people store information and create meaning.
Meaningful conversations are neurologically necessary to process change, learn power skills, and be fulfilled. This is where coaching comes in as a “super-power” tool that can break through multiple learning barriers at once.
In peer coaching, two people are connected to have meaningful conversations dedicated to their own learning and development. This is built-in reflection time, allowing them to “metabolize” whatever change, challenge or project that is top of mind for them. After an hour conversation, our data shows a remarkable emotional shift:
The key takeaway from our webinar with Dr. Andreatta is that as human beings, we are not wired for remote work and learning in isolation. It’s simply not how our brains work. But it’s completely possible and easier than we might think to flip the current script and make it work for us.
To address the current barriers to learning and development in remote work, we have to first understand and accept the neuroscience behind it, which clearly points to loneliness and lack of reflection as primary barriers to learning.
Peer coaching is a key tool to removing these barriers, while increasing wellbeing and reducing burnout.
On the Imperative platform, we’ve seen firsthand the incredible benefits peers can help each other achieve through ongoing, guided peer coaching conversations. The platform is scientifically engineered to facilitate trusted, impactful conversations that are personalized to each individual, designed to meet specific outcomes and result in powerful relationships that did not exist before.
Our clients, like Airbnb, Zillow, Microsoft and Hasbro, have seen powerful results like this:
· Personal Growth—78% of employees report peer coaching made them more successful
· Deeper Connections—89% of connections created build a meaningful and sustained relationship
· Holistic Wellbeing—Employees leave each conversation with 2.4X more positive emotions
· Shared Purpose—85% of employees report the ability to connect their purpose to their work
· Radical Flexibility—After every conversation, 80% of employees take action to craft their job
Our mission at Imperative is to humanize work and make work more fulfilling for every person. After 30,000 hours of peer coaching conversations, the data is in: peer coaching is the bright spot you’re looking for. Let’s chat about how we can bring this to life for your company.
P.S. RSVP for our live webinar with Andrea Herron, Head of People at WedMD and Aaron Hurst, leading workplace futurist, researcher, and co-founder of Imperative about how WebMD is scaling their wellbeing and development programs through peer coaching.
Here are the concrete examples of how I have personally crafted my job over time to maximize meaning.
Engagement surveys are a commonly accepted aspect of most HR strategies, yet they only tell a partial story of your people’s actual experience. Surveys are self-reported and conducted at a fixed point in time, and according to a Cornell National Social Survey, 26% of the employees withhold information about ideas for improvement or problems they face due to the futility of the exercise. In fact, futility was 1.8x more common reason than fear for withholding information.