The Three Most Important Habits of Continuous Learners

Learning new skills depends on creating good habits. The problem is that we live and work in environments that are results-oriented. 

Why is that a problem?

Because when we don’t see immediate results, it can be challenging to develop the right habits. Yet at the same time, we know that simple adjustments in our daily routines, such as adhering to a daily gym schedule or religiously reading the news each morning, promote better self-discipline and therefore also contribute to improved, overall working habits.

Indeed, if you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. 

In other words, people who possess positive habits and qualities can excel and grow to be highly successful. Here’s how to encourage continuous learning among your employees.

 1. Staying Curious

Encourage employees to explore areas of the business beyond their daily role and tasks. Involving themselves in projects beyond their own can help them understand your business better. On the other hand, simply sticking to a job-description can sometimes limit growth. Additionally, you should consider enabling workers to shadow colleagues to see how they handle particular scenarios or situations. 

Tip: At my company, our product group has a concept of having people give 10% to other projects that fall into their line of interests. This helps people stay interested and motivated, which has resulted in increased performance. 

2. Asking Questions

Asking questions when you don’t understand something or want more information can lead to very useful dialogue and insight. Holding back from asking questions in a work setting can constrain development. Therefore, make sure that people can add greater value to meetings and discussions by preparing and putting together questions that are relevant and purposeful. Should some workers feel uncomfortable asking questions in a public setting, encourage them to still ask those questions privately. 

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Tip: After any briefing or presentation, opening the floor to any questions and concerns shows employees that questions are welcomed and encouraged. Integrating the practice of healthy questioning into the workplace from the beginning will help open communication between all levels. For instance, we have set up an area of our internal employee portal to encourage anyone from any area of the business to ask any question anonymously of anyone else in the business. 

3. Being Open to Feedback

Feedback is an extremely important asset to have in your workplace. Receiving the right feedback from the right people can help people excel in multiple areas. It’s important to create environments and frameworks that enable people to ask for feedback from people beyond just their boss. For instance, you can establish a buddy system in which two colleagues regularly share feedback on one another’s projects. 

 Tip: Conducting quarterly performance reviews with employees by sharing relevant feedback while also including positive reinforcement can be beneficial for all parties. For example, we have a formal feedback process through our HR system on a quarterly basis, but also encourage informal feedback anytime during the year.

No, results won’t happen overnight when implementing these habits, but with patience and proactivity, they will eventually ensure long-term success. 

As the COO for WorkForce Software, Denise Broady oversees the global marketing and communications organization and is also responsible for the end-to-end customer experience including product strategy, product launch, customer operations, customer success, global support along with training and enablement. Prior to WorkForce Software, Denise was the Global COO of the Industry Cloud organization at SAP running go-to market, strategy, marketing, communications and operations. With over 23 years of enterprise technology experience, Denise has scaled businesses from start-ups to working in complex software businesses. She is also a two-time published author on Risk and Compliance, Performance Management and Business Intelligence: GRC for Dummies (2008) and Driven to Perform (2009). Denise holds a double degree in Production and Operations and Marketing from Virginia Tech.

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