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Five ways our brains are changing and how employers can adapt.

We all know that technology is changing society at a fast pace. Some call it the fourth industrial evolution, for…

Five ways our brains are changing and how employers can adapt

23rd October 2019


By Geoffroy de Lestrange, Associate Director Product Marketing EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand

We all know that technology is changing society at a fast pace. Some call it the fourth industrial evolution, for others it’s the information age. Whatever we like to call this moment in time, what’s most interesting is how it has transformed the way we think, learn, work and relax. Technology has no doubt played a major role in the rewiring of our brains.

To put this into perspective, we’re going to explore five brain-changing trends and how employers can adapt learning efforts to reflect them.

We’ve become impatient

Thanks to the internet, we’ve become accustomed to having everything on demand whether that’s the TV shows we watch, the podcasts we listen to or the books we read, and this has created a sense of urgency and impatience. Now, if a video takes more than a few seconds to load, viewers will often click away, leading to an expectation of fast learning. We’re sold the idea that any skills can be acquired without dedicated effort so it’s important to adapt. Having learning tools that are easily accessible and can fit in with employees’ needs and lifestyles such as mobile apps can help satisfy our impatient brains.

Our memory abilities are different

Nowadays, no one needs to memorise things like phone numbers, facts or data because, thanks to smartphones, we have the internet available at the touch of a button. It has become a type of external memory that we use to fetch all kinds of information but that doesn’t mean that we’ve completely lost the ability to remember things altogether. Rather we’re just not using that part of the brain as much. But this means that training that requires the learner to remember large amounts of information may not be as effective as it used to be. Instead, organisations need to be more creative, offering more engaging training techniques. Gamification techniques can be a great way to trigger the memory part of our brain helping us to retain information for longer.

A growing need for emotional intelligence  

If there’s one change that companies and workers fear the most, it’s automation and the fact that one day robots could replace our jobs. But what we need to remember is that, unlike humans, robots do not yet have the emotional intelligence and abilities, and this can be used to our advantage. Learning and developing soft skills and social competences that differentiate us from machines means that we can work in tandem with robots rather than against them. At the same time, businesses need to find the right balance between giving employees control of their learning whilst also retaining their own control over what employees are learning.

Be more flexible

Whilst we’re unsure of what skills we need in the future, analysing the business successes of recent years and the jobs it has created can help us see what skills and abilities will be in demand in the future. For example, AI is the core of many business strategies at the moment so we can assume that jobs of the future will be related to AI in some way or another. The secret to preparing for these news jobs is to train to the brain to be flexible, open and agile. This will make it easier to adapt to change and more quickly internalise new disciplines and products that may arise.

Information overload

Digitisation has made it easier for us to access information meaning that we can work from anywhere and on any device. It also means that we can find it difficult to disconnect and the information overload can reduce our ability to concentrate, which can eventually lead to burnout and stress. It’s important to create a company culture that puts employee wellbeing at the front of the mind and offers the support where needed.  

It’s important to maintain a continuous learning process to train our brains into keeping up with the latest trends across the world. Business leaders should promote agile, dynamic and entertaining learning, to awaken the interest of their employees for the training of new skills.

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Categories: Articles, Training

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