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How to learn at work in the most effective way

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Being properly organized and prepared for tests and exams can make all the difference to school performance. Effective studying starts with the right attitude—a positive outlook can shift studying from a punishment to an opportunity to learn.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when learning how to effectively study. Studying methods should be tailored to each student. Everyone has different abilities, so it is important to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. (Find out what type of learner you are and which study techniques will work best for you!)

For some students, studying and staying motivated comes easily — others may have to work a little bit harder.

What Is The Most Effective Way To Study?

Finding the best way to study is an ongoing process. It isn’t something that can be left to the night before the test. You should be constantly improving your study skills to better understand what works (and what doesn’t).

Learning how to study better helps avoid panic and frustration the next time a big test is coming up. After all, you are more likely to do well and be less stressed before a test when you have had time to properly review and practice the material!

Mastering effective study habits not only makes it easier to learn but will also help you get better grades in high school and post-secondary.

Discover the 12 secrets to studying effectively that will help you ace your next test.

How To Study Effectively

Get organized

Carry a homework planner at all times. Entering homework, projects, tests and assignments as soon as they are assigned will make sure they aren’t forgotten about.

Pay attention in class

It’s important to concentrate and avoid distractions when the teacher is speaking. Practice active listening by concentrating on what’s being said and taking notes in your own words. This will help make sure you hear (and understand) what is being taught in class.

Steer clear of distractions

Distractions are everywhere—from cell phones to social media to friends. Be aware of what distracts you in class and know how to steer clear of these distractions. Avoid sitting next to friends if you know they will distract you. Turning off your cell phone will also help make sure you are paying attention to your teacher.

Make sure notes are complete

Writing clear and complete notes in class will help you process the information you are learning. These notes will also become study notes that can be reviewed before a test. Talk to friends or the teacher if you have missed a class to ensure your notes are complete.

Ask questions if you don’t understand

Raise your hand and ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of everyone, write yourself a reminder to talk to the teacher after class.

Make a study schedule/plan

When making a study schedule, look at your planner and think about what needs to be accomplished. Think about the types of questions that will be on the test and the topics that will be covered so you know what you should focus on. Set specific goals for each study session, like how many topics you will cover by the end of the session.

Start Studying More Effectively

Get more out of your study sessions with the complete study toolkit
including note taking templates, tips, and more.

Review notes from class every evening

After school, review and expand on the notes from class. Reviewing notes helps move material learned from short-term memory into long-term memory, which will help next time you have a big test.

Talk to teachers

Teachers are there to help you do your best. Talk to your teacher and ask for clarification or extra help if you need it before your test. Taking the initiative to ask for help goes a long way with teachers!

Designate a study area

The best study spot is one that is quiet, well-lit, and in a low-traffic area. Make sure there is a clear workspace to study and write on. Everyone’s needs are different, so it is important you find a spot that works for you.

Study in short bursts

For every 30 minutes you study, take a short 10-15 minute break to recharge. Short study sessions are more effective and help you make the most of your study time. Find out more about taking a study break that works.

Simplify study notes

Make studying less overwhelming by condensing notes from class. Underline or highlight key words. Create visual aids like charts, story webs, mind maps, or outlines to organize and simplify information and help you remember better.

Study with a group

Working with classmates encourages an interactive environment to keep you engaged. This gives you a chance to test your knowledge with others, quiz each other on the content, and help boost each other’s confidence.

Study Smart, Not Hard

Knowing how to study effectively is a skill that will benefit you for life. Developing effective study skills requires lots of time and patience. If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to discovering which type of studying works best for you—so you can knock your next test out of the park!

Find more study tips by watching our video below

Need some extra help? Oxford Learning is here for you. Get more study tips and learning resources to help you succeed in school:

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Team development at its best produces lasting behavioral change that, with any luck, results in higher performance metrics, improved communication and better work engagement. Can learning be both fun and productive? In my consulting experience, I’ve found that the most effective kind of learning is indeed fun — and that’s the idea behind an increasingly popular training technique: experiential learning.

While there are probably a number of fancy definitions for experiential learning, at its core it is simply learning by doing and reflecting. When done right, it can help with anything ranging from leadership style and individual and team success to communication and conflict management. To understand how to apply experiential learning, it helps to first take a look at its theoretical roots.

Cycling Through Experiential Learning

In designing or evaluating an experiential learning program, the best place to start is with Kolb’s experiential learning cycle. This theoretical model, inspired by the work of Gestalt psychologist Kurt Lewin, was published by educational theorist David A. Kolb in 1984 and designed to shape learning through experience, perception, cognition and behavior. According to this theory, the learner cycles through four distinct phases, each of which cements learning in a different way:

Concrete Experience. Here the learner encounters a new experience or approaches an existing experience in a new way.

Reflective Observation. In the next stage, the learner reflects on the experience, drawing personal observations and conclusions.

Abstract Conceptualization. At this point, the learner forms new ideas, or modifies existing ones, based on the learnings from the previous reflective observation stage.

Active Experimentation. Finally, the learner applies the new ideas to practice and then evaluates them to see if modifications are required.

The final active experimentation phase then becomes the concrete experience — or first stage — for the next cycle, and it starts all over again. By circulating through the cycle, a person traverses a highly effective pattern of learning reinforcement that quickly translates into new behaviors and skills.

Facing Reality More Effectively By Escaping It

This cycle can be laid out in any number of ways, so there are naturally quite a few techniques for implementing experiential learning, such as role playing, where people act out different roles to address specific learning aims, or simulations, which give them the chance to further stretch into new roles.

Perhaps the most involved and immersive of these, however, is the “escape room,” where teams are put into a situation where they’re challenged with working together to orchestrate a simulated escape from a pretend trap. The scenarios can get pretty creative and colorful, and participants may find themselves playing the part of spies, pirates, astronauts or even the master detective himself, Sherlock Holmes.

In a double entendre, this also offers an “escape” from daily routine and consequently can be extremely fun — so much so that some people pay significant fees to participate in them for pure entertainment value. However, this same propensity for fun also makes escape rooms powerful tools for learning and cementing new skills and therefore great team-building exercises.

Four Steps To Tapping Value From Experiential Learning

Regardless of whether you undertake a fully immersive experience, like an escape room, or something slightly less involved, like role playing, there are a few critical elements that the program must address in order to translate into better performance:

Behavior. Interplay during the activities must shed light on how people naturally tend to approach tasks, communicate and make decisions at work. Escape rooms naturally tend to do this, because the act of solving a challenge often brings the same skills to bear that people leverage in their professions.

Evaluation. At some point shortly after the activity, participants need to have a debrief that explores the observations. This is a critical step because it helps participants develop more self-awareness. (Registration required. Full disclosure: This article was written by a colleague.) Self-awareness is indispensable to shaping new behaviors.

A Safe Space For Reflection. Safe spaces can get a bad rap these days, but in this case, we’re not talking about protecting college students from anything that might possibly offend their sensibilities. Rather, we’re referring to an environment where people can reflect fully on the experiential task and consider the implications of alternative approaches. In some cases, this involves some pretty serious self-critiquing, and this can only happen in an environment where people feel safe enough to openly and honestly evaluate their own performance.

Putting It Into Practice. There must be a systematized way to translate insights into personalized development plans. This can take any number of forms, but in the end, learning must be actionable to be effective.

The bottom line is that effective experiential learning, leveraged as a training technique, makes you aware of not just how you behave but why you act that way by allowing you to face your own behaviors in highly memorable and, dare I say, fun ways. When it’s combined with proper analysis and a plan for putting into practice, that learning tends to stick, and participants develop new, highly desirable skills.

How to learn at work in the most effective wayAll workplaces are an integration of numerous departments working together as one to ensure the business runs smoothly. Almost every sector is reliant on other departments and cannot function at its full potential without the rest putting in their best as well. One reason why companies end up compromising their profits is due to the inefficient use of the resources at hand.

Through efficient utilisation of resources, businesses can reach new heights of success. On the other hand, inefficient utilisation will lead to bigger losses. You will not be able to get any value out of your investments unless you know how to make the most out of them.

The four tips mentioned below on how to manage resources will do wonders for your corporation if implemented in the correct manner.

1. Plan to Plan

Planning is important when it comes to being efficient. Time is money and it is best to plan for effective resource management from the very beginning of projects. When starting a project, planning should be first on your to-do list. It is via planning that you will be able to fully gauge the types and amount of resources you will be requiring. Many projects fail because businesses end up investing in too many or too few resources.

After figuring out what you will need, you can then plan their use by dividing the project up into stages.

  • Identify resources that are needed for completion of the project. Add to the list any resources you will be requiring, whether it is in the first stage of completion or the last.
  • Analyse and put up an estimate of the time each resource needs and its role in completion of a particular task.
  • Go through the outline of the entire project and ensure that no resource is left out.
  • Finalise the list of resources and their details before the project can officially begin. It is essential to have the list ready for everyone to see so that the details are clear in everyone’s minds and the risks of confusion are reduced.

2. Take a Systematic Approach

One of the most effective ways of using resources and minimising their use at work when possible is by adopting a systematic approach. This can be achieved by:

  • Setting a baseline – Using your previous performance as a base for improvement will help pave the path for productivity.
  • Benchmarking your performance – Comparing your own performance against that of similar companies (preferably your competitors).
  • Forming an action strategy – Once the prospective improvements have been highlighted, it is time to form an action scheme about how to accomplish them.
  • Fixing targets and responsibilities – While setting targets ensure that they are achievable in the allocated time by the employees.
  • Observing and reporting – Set up reporting procedures and measure your performance at regular intervals to ensure that you are on track.
  • Reviewing actions and performance – This step will ensure that you keep learning and improving.

3. Use Technology Where Possible

The use of technology goes a long way in speeding and easing up processes significantly. Any feature of the project that can be completed using technology should be automated. This will in turn minimise the risk of mistakes occurring and free up manpower that can then be reallocated to other projects.

Using technology ensures efficient allocation of resources. There is less wastage and more effective usage of resources. Technology will show you exactly what’s needed so you use specific resources, leaving others free to be utilised for the completion of other projects.

The implementation of automated procedures will revolutionise the running of projects and provide a more streamlined approach to resource planning and management. Any automated processes must be initially tried and tested to ensure that there are no glitches, as slip-ups will add a heavy cost down the road.

The balance between technology and resource management is a key part of business development. The use of technology will make the running of the company much more efficient and allow several projects to run at the same time due to the resources that free up when technology is used instead of the assets.

4. Use Resource Management Software

Resource management software is a useful tool to significantly enhance the operations of your business. Invest in resource management software that offers a long list of features tailored to boost resource management and improve the overall performance and productivity. One popular example is the Timewax resource software which allows managers to share the resource planning with their employees via the company’s calendar system or mobile application. The following are some of the features you should look for in the software you are investing in.

  • Scheduling the projects

Efficient time management includes adding every little task to your schedule. Create a schedule if you don’t want to be nagged by the problems you face. If the project has a long deadline, then adding a rough outline of the task until you can add to it in detail will help plan resources and steps out accordingly and more competently.

  • Generating a work schedule

Resourceful allocation includes assigning employees to projects and tasks within those projects. Operational schedules should be implemented for the upcoming stages of the project. Projects that run longer than two weeks must be broken down into parts and resources must be assigned and allocated accordingly.

  • Producing a weekly schedule

Organising work on a weekly basis allows companies to set a clear cut off point. A new schedule is created at the end of every week using employees that can then perform their tasks and be ready beforehand. Scheduling on a daily basis is also feasible, especially for those companies that have to deal with technical breakdowns that appear without any prior notice.

Resource management software makes use of a convenient planning board to give clients instant overview of all the ventures and resources. The planning board has features like multiple views, time scale, resource requests and alerts, and emails that set it aside from other resource management tools.

Resource management can be a real hassle if not done properly. The drawbacks of an insufficient resource management system include failure to utilise the potential of your existing resources, making the entire organisation suffer.

Inadequate resource management will lead to resources being under-utilised or over exhausted. It can also result in wastage of assets that could have been utilised to generate revenues if a proper management system was implemented.

These tips, if implemented properly will go a long way in assisting companies in revolutionising their resource management and utilisation. Focus on the importance of planning and invest in smarter resource management software.

You Need Alliances to Accomplish Your Work Mission

How to learn at work in the most effective way

You can damage your career and work relationships by the actions you take and the behaviors you exhibit with coworkers at work. No matter your education, your experience, your personality, or your title, if you can’t play well with others, you will never accomplish your work mission. And, what is your key desire at work—other than earning enough to support your family—it’s to accomplish your work mission.

Effective Interpersonal Relationships Are Key to Success

Effective interpersonal work relationships form the cornerstone for success and satisfaction with your job and your career. How important are effective work relationships? They form the basis for promotional opportunities, pay increases, goal accomplishment, and job satisfaction.

The Gallup organization studied indicators of work satisfaction. They found that whether you have a best friend at work was one of the twelve key questions asked of employees that predicted job satisfaction. Without a good friend or friends, at work, the work satisfaction of employees deteriorates   .

What Happens When You Don’t Play Well With Others?

A supervisor who worked in a several-hundred-person company quickly earned a reputation for not playing well with others. He collected data and used the data to find fault, place blame, and make other employees look bad. He enjoyed identifying problems and problem patterns, but he rarely suggested solutions.

He bugged his supervisor weekly for a bigger title and more money so that he could tell the other employees what to do. When he announced that he was job hunting, not a single employee suggested that the company take action to convince him to stay.

He had burned his bridges all along the way. And no one will have a good word to say about him when an employer who is checking references comes their way.

The Top 7 Ways to Play Well With Others at Work

These are the top seven ways you can play well with others at work. They form the basis for building effective interpersonal work relationships. These are the actions you want to take to create a positive, empowering, motivational work environment for people:

1. Bring Suggested Solutions to Problems to the Meeting Table

Some employees spend an inordinate amount of time identifying problems. Honestly? That’s the easy part. Thoughtful solutions are the challenge that will earn respect and admiration from your coworkers and bosses.

Your willingness to defend your solution until a better or improved approach is decided on by the team is also a plus. Your commitment to the implementation of the solution finally selected matters in idea generation, too.

2. Don’t Ever Play the Blame Game

You alienate coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff. Yes, you may need to identify who was involved in a problem. You may even ask Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s recommended question: what about the work system caused the employee to fail? The system is the source of most problems.  

3. Your Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Matters

If you talk down to another employee, use sarcasm, or sound nasty, the other employee hears you. Humans are all radar machines that constantly scope out the environment in both verbal and nonverbal communication. When you talk to another employee with a lack of respect, the message comes through loudly and clearly.

In one organization, a high-level manager once asked this question of a consultant, “I know you don’t think I should scream at my employees. But sometimes, they make me so mad. When is it ever appropriate for me to scream at the employees?”

The answer? Never, of course, if respect for people is a hallmark of your organization—which it should be, and it is in massively successful companies.

4. Never Blind Side a Coworker, Boss, or Reporting Staff Person

If the first time a coworker hears about a problem is in a staff meeting or from an email sent to their supervisor, you have blindsided the coworker. Always discuss problems first, with the people directly involved who own the work system.

Also called ambushing your coworkers, you will never build effective work alliances unless your coworkers trust you. And without alliances, you will never accomplish the most important goals for your job and career. You cannot do it alone, so treat your coworkers as you expect them to treat you.

5. Keep Your Commitments

In an organization, work is interconnected. If you fail to meet deadlines and commitments, you affect the work of other employees. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all affected employees know what happened. Provide a new due date and make every possible effort to honor the new deadline.

It is not okay for an organization to just quietly allow deadlines to slip by. Your coworkers, even if they fail to confront you, will think less of you and disrespect your actions. And, no, don’t think even for a second that they didn’t notice that the deadline passed. You insult them if you even consider the possibility that they didn’t notice.

6. Share Credit for Accomplishments, Ideas, and Contributions

How often do you accomplish a goal or complete a project with no help from others? If you are a manager, how many of the great ideas you promote were contributed by staff members?

Take the time, and expend the energy, to thank, reward, recognize and specify the contributions of the people who help you succeed. It is a no-fail approach to building effective work relationships. Share credit; deflect blame and failure.

7. Help Other Employees Find Their Greatness

Every employee in your organization has talents, skills, and experience. If you can help fellow employees harness their best abilities, you benefit the organization immeasurably. The growth of individual employees benefits the whole.

Compliment, praise, and notice their contributions. You don’t have to be a manager to help create a positive, motivating environment for employees. In this environment, employees do find and contribute their greatness in seeking the accomplishment of the organization’s purpose and goals. They will always remember that you were part of bringing it out of them. Those interpersonal work relationships are cherished.

The Bottom Line

If you regularly carry out these seven actions, you will play well with others and build effective interpersonal work relationships. Coworkers will value you as a colleague. Bosses will believe that you play on the right team—with them.

You’ll accomplish your work goals, and you may even experience fun, recognition, and personal motivation. And how can work get any better than that?

By Michelle Castillo

January 10, 2013 / 3:37 PM / CBS News

What’s the best way to study for a test? A new study says taking practice tests and engaging in distributed practice — which means sticking to a schedule of spreading out your studying over time — work the best.

Surprisingly, the methods that were least effective when it came to getting a good grade on the big test were: summarization, highlighting, keyword mnemonics, creating imagery for text and re-reading.

“I was shocked that some strategies that students use a lot — such as re-reading and highlighting — seem to provide minimal benefits to their learning and performance,” study author Dr. John Dunlosky, professor of psychology and director of experimental training at Kent State University, said in a written statement. “By just replacing re-reading with delayed retrieval practice, students would benefit.”

Ten different learning techniques were reviewed Dunlosky his team. Their review was published in the January 2013 issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

“Schools and parents spend a great deal of money on technology and programs to improve student achievement, even though evidence often isn’t available to firmly establish that they work,” said Dunlosky. “We wanted to take a comprehensive look at promising strategies now, in order to direct teachers, students and parents to the strategies that are effective, yet underused.”

The widely-used learning methods examined were:

  • Elaborative interrogation: Generating an explanation for why an explicitly stated fact or concept is true
  • Self-explanation: Explaining how new information is related to known information, or explaining steps taken during problem solving
  • Summarization: Writing summaries (of various lengths) of to-be-learned texts
  • Highlighting/underlining: Marking potentially important portions of to-be-learned materials while reading
  • Keyword mnemonic: Using keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials
  • Imagery for text: Attempting to form mental images of text materials while reading or listening
  • Re-reading: Re-studying text material again after an initial reading
  • Practice testing: Self-testing with flash cards or taking practice tests over to-be-learned material
  • Distributed practice: Implementing a schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over time
  • Interleaved practice: Implementing a schedule of practice that mixes different kinds of problems, or a schedule of study that mixes different kinds of material, within a single study session

Using existing studies and other currently-accepted psychological concepts, researchers reviewed studying methods on the basis of four criteria: learning conditions, student characteristics, materials and criterion tasks.

Trending News

Learning conditions included what kind of environment was necessary to partake in the technique (for example, if a student could do it alone or had to have a group). Student characteristics involved age, ability and prior level of knowledge. Materials questions what items were necessary to have in order to use that method of learning. Criterion tasks looked at different outcome measures to show student achievement through memory, problem-solving and comprehension among other categories, basically showing which specific skills the study method helped improve.

Researchers hope that teachers can use their findings and analysis to help find more effective ways to teach their students. Dunlosky explained that many of the strategies are often not used because educational psychology textbooks don’t really explain them well to teachers or give them a sense of how to use these techniques.

“The learning techniques described in this monograph will not be a panacea for improving achievement for all students, and perhaps obviously, they will benefit only students who are motivated and capable of using them,” the authors wrote. “Nevertheless, when used properly, we suspect that they will produce meaningful gains in performance in the classroom, on achievement tests, and on many tasks encountered across the life span.”

First published on January 10, 2013 / 3:37 PM

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Free Book Preview: Unstoppable

Even if your job title doesn’t include “manager,” there’s a good chance you’ll have to handle some management duty sometime in your career. And, as an entrepreneur, you’re already a manager, because almost every one of your responsibilities has some management element to it.

In short, your employees are the ones making your vision a reality, and your job is to make sure they do it efficiently.

But being an effective manager is about more than just driving your employees to work harder — or more efficiently. Forcing employees to work a certain way can breed resentment, even disloyalty, while being too soft can lead to bad habits, laziness or boredom. There’s no “right” management style, as each employee and company is going to have an individual perspective.

But there are some universally “wrong” ways to manage. Avoid them by following these 10 “golden” rules of effective management:

1. Be consistent.

This is the first rule because it applies to most of the others. Before your management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view.

2. Focus on clarity, accuracy and thoroughness in communication.

How you communicate to your team can dictate your eventual success. When relaying instructions, recapping meetings or just doling out company updates, strive for the clarity, accuracy and thoroughness of your communication. This goes for any other medium, whether that means in-person communication, email or a phone call. Clarity, accuracy and thoroughness are the best way to avoid miscommunication and keep your team on the same page.

3. Set the goal of working as a team.

If you want your team members to work together, have them work for something together. Setting goals just for the department or one individual breeds a limited mentality and forces team members to remain isolated. Instead, give staffers a unified focus and purpose, to inspire them together.

4. Publicly reward and recognize hard work.

When a member of your team does something exceptional, reward him/her — with a bonus, a small trophy or even just a vocal recognition. Do this in front of the group; it will make the intended recipient feel good and show the rest of the team that hard work is rewarded. The only caveat goes back to rule one: Be consistent in your rewards so you won’t be seen as playing favorites.

5. Be the example.

As the manager and leader, you should set an example in terms of your behavior. If you show up late, your team will be less punctual. If you lose your temper easily, others will be amiss in keeping their emotions in check. Strive to be your own ideal of the perfect worker, especially in front of the team.

6. Never go with ‘one-size-fits-all.’

Your team is comprised of individuals with unique preferences, strengths, weaknesses and ideas. Never use the exact same approach to motivate, encourage or mold all of them. Focus on individuals, and customize your approach to fit each one.

7. Remain as transparent as possible.

Transparency shows your integrity as a leader, and builds trust with the individual members of your team. If you lie about something, or withhold information, you could jeopardize your relationships and the respect you command as a leader.

8. Encourage all opinions and ideas.

The more people you have actively participating in discussions and attempting to make improvements to the organization, the better. Never chastise a team member for voicing an opinion respectfully — even if it goes against your original vision or isn’t well thought out. Cutting someone down for voicing an opinion builds resentment, and discourages people from sharing their own new thoughts.

9. Help people enjoy work.

You don’t need a pool table or dress code abolition to make work fun. You can make the workday more enjoyable with such new elements as surprise lunch outings, a dedicated break room or even just casual conversations with your workers. Help your people enjoy coming to work, and they’ll do their best work for you.

10. Listen and ask questions.

If someone doesn’t agree with your management style or doesn’t like the direction of the company, don’t silence that person. Listen. And ask questions of your entire team: What do you think of this? How do you feel about that? This open dialogue makes it easier to proactively identify problems and work together to create a mutually beneficial environment. It will also make your employees feel appreciated and acknowledged.

As you’ll notice, these rules leave plenty of wiggle room to apply your own personal “brand” of leadership and management. They stand as fundamental truths, considerations and principles that govern an effective management role rather than a strict instruction manual to success. Stay true to these principles in addition to your own, and you’ll unify your team in a rewarding and enriching environment.

Healthy communication is the best foundation for any business. Discover several easy ways to improve communication among your team members.

How to learn at work in the most effective way

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Effective communication in the workplace is key to establishing strong relationships and getting important projects done. Communication doesn’t only feel good, it also shows results.

According to a Watson Wyatt study, companies that communicate the most effectively are 50% more likely to report low turnover levels compared with the industry average.

Of course, everyone struggles with communication from time to time, which can lead to misunderstandings and frustrations.

To help solve for these issues, we’ve come up with 20 easy tips you can start using today to improve the communication skills and overall relationships between you and your teammates.

How to Improve Workplace Communication

1. Establish a foundation first.

The more an employee trusts you, the more likely they are to come forward and communicate when a problem is occurring. A great way to lay that foundation is to establish a rapport with your employee first.

The more an employee trusts you, the more likely they are to come forward and communicate when a problem is occurring.

For example, when I started at Justworks, my boss took me out for a lunch with my new teammates. We didn’t talk business, but instead learned about each other’s lives and got to know each other’s quirks and preferences. Even though it was a small gesture, it worked as a great icebreaker and helped open the lines of communication to everyone on the team.

2. Prove through your words and actions that you’re trustworthy.

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly one quarter of employees don’t trust their employer. It sounds simplistic, but it’s true: proving trustworthy to your employees will result in effective business communication time and again.

We’ve written blog posts about how to improve trust before, but the core of this issue is straightforward: Show a genuine interest in the person, empathize with their roadblocks or dilemmas, and follow through on the ways you say you will help. Your employee will be much more likely to communicate a challenge when they know they can trust you to stay level headed and work together to find a solution.

3. Set up weekly or monthly 1:1s.

Sometimes, all it takes to open up lines of communication is setting a time to do so. Your employee might worry that she’s burdening you during the day if you’re busy and she wants to share recent challenges, concerns, or even triumphs. By setting up a recurring meeting to touch base, you’ll learn more about the inner workings of what’s going on the office and have a better idea on how to iron out the kinks.

At Justworks, for example, I have a weekly 1:1 with my direct manager to discuss how work is going overall and to tackle big-picture ideas. I also have a monthly 1:1 with the director of the department, and we check in by grabbing coffee together or going for a walk. It’s the ideal way to air concerns or share wins without the pressure of asking a superior outright for a meeting.

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In order to be the best organization, you must hire the best people, right? Well, not necessarily. I mean, let’s be honest, all of us are not created equally. There is usually a small pool of folks that for all practical purposes are nothing short of rock stars. So, how can we leverage their knowledge and expertise to magnify the overall strength and performance of most workers in our organization? The answer is peer-to-peer learning.How to learn at work in the most effective way

Knowledge Shared is Power Multiplied

Most managers understand the power of learning. However, the most powerful tool in the workplace is peer-to-peer learning. In fact, most learning is informal and one need only look around the workplace to see this happening. Therefore, the focus should shift from classroom training (to include virtual and e-learning) to tapping into the institutional knowledge and the experiences of high-performing workers.

Peer-to-peer learning saves time and resources. It also allows you to maintain knowledge of simplified processes that might disappear when a high-performing employee changes positions or leaves the organization. Peer learning also allows managers to identify where knowledge gaps exist and to task the right people with closing those gaps.

From Whom Do you Harness the Power?

Generally speaking, when determining peers, consider people that are in similar situations but do not have a role as a teacher or an expert. They also share the status as a fellow learner. Most importantly, they do not wield power over one another by virtue of position or responsibilities.

Methods to Initiate a Peer Learning Program

Here are some tips to initiate a peer-to-peer learning program:

  • Get executive support by showing them why peer learning is effective and worthwhile.
  • Form a committee to set the strategy and decide who will manage the tasks.
  • Create processes to establish the peer learning content.
  • Identify experts in your office and maximize who creates content.
  • Promote a peer learning environment by managing quality control and encouraging participation.
  • Monitor consumption of content. Keep track of who consumes what and how they rate the information.
  • Promote user engagement. Solicit comments and feedback and use the data to improve the quality of the content over time.

Lastly, supporting this program can be included in performance objectives to emphasize its importance. Some examples include: employee growth, effective communication, team building, organization effectiveness and leading change and innovation.

LaMesha Craft is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.

Healthy communication is the best foundation for any business. Discover several easy ways to improve communication among your team members.

How to learn at work in the most effective way

How to learn at work in the most effective way

Effective communication in the workplace is key to establishing strong relationships and getting important projects done. Communication doesn’t only feel good, it also shows results.

According to a Watson Wyatt study, companies that communicate the most effectively are 50% more likely to report low turnover levels compared with the industry average.

Of course, everyone struggles with communication from time to time, which can lead to misunderstandings and frustrations.

To help solve for these issues, we’ve come up with 20 easy tips you can start using today to improve the communication skills and overall relationships between you and your teammates.

How to Improve Workplace Communication

1. Establish a foundation first.

The more an employee trusts you, the more likely they are to come forward and communicate when a problem is occurring. A great way to lay that foundation is to establish a rapport with your employee first.

The more an employee trusts you, the more likely they are to come forward and communicate when a problem is occurring.

For example, when I started at Justworks, my boss took me out for a lunch with my new teammates. We didn’t talk business, but instead learned about each other’s lives and got to know each other’s quirks and preferences. Even though it was a small gesture, it worked as a great icebreaker and helped open the lines of communication to everyone on the team.

2. Prove through your words and actions that you’re trustworthy.

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly one quarter of employees don’t trust their employer. It sounds simplistic, but it’s true: proving trustworthy to your employees will result in effective business communication time and again.

We’ve written blog posts about how to improve trust before, but the core of this issue is straightforward: Show a genuine interest in the person, empathize with their roadblocks or dilemmas, and follow through on the ways you say you will help. Your employee will be much more likely to communicate a challenge when they know they can trust you to stay level headed and work together to find a solution.

3. Set up weekly or monthly 1:1s.

Sometimes, all it takes to open up lines of communication is setting a time to do so. Your employee might worry that she’s burdening you during the day if you’re busy and she wants to share recent challenges, concerns, or even triumphs. By setting up a recurring meeting to touch base, you’ll learn more about the inner workings of what’s going on the office and have a better idea on how to iron out the kinks.

At Justworks, for example, I have a weekly 1:1 with my direct manager to discuss how work is going overall and to tackle big-picture ideas. I also have a monthly 1:1 with the director of the department, and we check in by grabbing coffee together or going for a walk. It’s the ideal way to air concerns or share wins without the pressure of asking a superior outright for a meeting.

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