The business environment in the last 16 months impedes employee productivity and learning because employees are expected to work long hours with less time for balance and rejuvenation, according to Ken Buch's feature article on page 42. That makes understanding when and how the brain is most effective and efficient crucial to workplace learning, performance, and innovation.
Today's typical work environment - doing more with less and fulfilling increased customer demands - does not allow employees to function at optimal levels when solving problems because their prefrontal cortexes are so overloaded with information, making it virtually impossible to be innovative or confront challenges effectively.
When information about the brain and learning emerged, it began with data on left-brained versus right-brained thinking. But as Ann Hermann-Nehdi writes in this month's cover story on page 36, the concept of "whole brain thinking" - how the brain functions as a whole, not two individual parts - has evolved into a useful framework for learning and performance.
As learning professionals, Nehdi says that "it is essential to have a solid foundation of knowledge" about how the brain works to effectively drive business outcomes. What do we need to know about the brain to increase employee performance outcomes? Nehdi explains, "Understanding learners' thinking and learning styles is the first step in developing learning that engages and sticks."
Does your company's work culture allow employees to have a little fun, relax, and rejuvenate?
It is your job, as a workplace learning and performance professional, to understand how the brain works, recognize the role that the brain plays in employee performance, and value the corporate setting that helps employees function effectively and efficiently. Maximizing learning by making training compatible to how a brain learns is crucial to maximizing efficiency in the workplace.
Editor, ASTD Periodicals