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November 18, 2020 - No Comments!

5 Ways To Lead Your Team Virtually

Author Aditi A Kashyap

As we deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leaders are required to develop a new set of leadership skills, with no training on best practices to lead a team virtually. Leaders need more information on how virtual teams are structured and how to manage it better. Personal contact by the side of the water cooler or in the break rooms with the reportee seems like a thing of the past. Interactions, even informal ones, are now planned. Managers who once used to observe a team member's work behaviors on the floor now have to have a high level of trust in the team member's work habits virtually.

leading teams virtually cover image
Infographic Leading Teams virtually

If you are a manager wondering how best to manage your team virtually, we offer you some best practices you can follow.

5 WAYS TO LEAD TEAMS VIRTUALLY

Give autonomy

When working physically, teams were accustomed to synchronous work and standardization enabled by the same work schedules and conditions. In a quarantined environment, each one has their work schedules and ways of working. As a manager, you need to reset expectations on how work gets done and give more autonomy when and how somebody should accomplish tasks. This means offering more flexibility in the accomplishment of results. Trust in the team member’s ability to accomplish results is key.

Make sure a few work hours overlap.

Your team members may be operating in different time zones or have the time schedules that they work. Setup 3-4 hours every day as a recommended time where everyone is online at the same time. Being online at the same time will enable team members to communicate better with each other, will bring the team closer, and will facilitate better problem-solving.

Conduct a weekly reflection exercise

Come up with innovative ways of bringing your team closer. Create a virtual whiteboard and ask team members to speak about the one good thing they accomplished during the week and the value they displayed in carrying out the task. Additionally, ask them to talk about, appreciate, or thank a team member who helped them with work. You can also think of adding fun tasks to this list, such as – "Where is that one place you'd like to go after the pandemic is over?". Such reflection exercises will reduce the virtual distance.

Reach out personally

As a leader, you will be juggling between managing the tasks of multiple team members. Ensure that you give focused attention to each team member by frequently reaching out to them personally. According to research by Deloitte, virtual distance can lower your team member's trust by 83%, the ability to innovate by 93%, and engagement by 80%. To counter this distance, you need to make yourself available. Guide them through tasks and ask them if they are facing any challenges. Connect on video calls and listen attentively. Be present. Ask them about how their life is going on and establish a subtle personal connection.

Encourage peer learning

The new normal has opened up tremendous opportunities for virtual learning. Use this time to encourage your team to take up new courses that would help them upskill. If your organization has a learning wallet, enable the team to use the same. Ask team members to present their key learnings from the course. Additionally, foster an environment of learning wherein team members conduct workshops on crucial skills that would benefit the larger group.

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ABOUT KNOLSKAPE

KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

To conclude, time is a valuable resource, and in a time like this where we are dealing with a gamut of changes, it becomes all the more vital to spend time on things that matter.

What are some best practices that you employ to manage time better? Please share with us in the comments below!

aditi kashyap roubd logoAbout the Author

Aditi A Kashyap is a Senior Associate, Marketing at KNOLSKAPE. Her interest to write about learning and development trends comes fuelled by her professional background as a learning consultant having a keen interest to understand a learner’s psyche.

November 11, 2020 - No Comments!

5 ways to manage time while working from home

Author Aditi A Kashyap

A common issue we are facing this pandemic is the blurring of boundaries between home and work duties.  As one spills over the other, it becomes a challenge to understand which responsibilities should take more precedence.  Over the last few months, we have all been forced to restructure our days and schedules. While not all is glum about working from home, this new normal goes with its own set of challenges.  One of the critical challenges of working from home is managing time, and it's essential to understand that proper time management lets you work smarter- not harder- so you get more done in less time.

time management blog cover image

Learning about some tips that will help you manage your time better will give you immense benefits now and for the rest of your career. Read below to know more:

5 WAYS TO MANAGE TIME WHILE WORKING FROM HOME

Tip No.1: Have a personal organization system

Take out 5-10 mins at the beginning of your day to enlist all the tasks you are supposed to do in the day. If you like to do the paper and pen way, plan to write down all your tasks in your calendar diary. It's satisfying to scratch out tasks you have completed in your to-do list.  If you are more tech-savvy, consider making full use of productivity apps. The apps have features that let you set reminders, organize your tasks, and much more. In doing so, you will be able to keep track of projects, meet deadlines, and be more organized.

Tip No. 2: Turn off stressful work thoughts while taking a break

Avoid work emails and responding to messages while taking a break. While it is easier said than done, it is still doable, and a little time off from work during the day does no harm. Research has indicated that ruminating about stressful work while taking a break activates our stress response and significantly disrupts our ability to recover and recharge during the off hours. This will also lead to sleep disturbances, to eat unhealthier foods, and to have worse moods. When you are taking a break, use this time to rejuvenate and recharge. Practice a hobby, listen to some good music, take a short walk, or cook something you like.

Tip No 3: Set expectations with your manager and the team

Unlike the typical workday at your office where you had fixed work timings, your family obligations now compete for your time.  Are you a morning lark or a night owl? If you feel you are more productive during non-traditional hours such as the early morning or late night, make that communication explicit with your manager and team. This will keep everyone on a common page and let them know your availability and work hour expectations.

 Tip No. 4: Stay true to your work hours

Your commute now might mean a walk from your couch to the work table, but that doesn't mean you don't know how to end your workday. Shutting down your laptop and work calls may be challenging, especially when the line between work and home duties is thin. Stick to the shift you work for, and during these work hours, focus all your efforts on work alone. Have an alarm to call it a day and disable notifications on work-related apps once your day is over.

Tip No 5: Gear up for focused work

How do you turn on the office mode? Do you have your method to concentrate better while working at home? There might be a multitude of distractors at home that will divert your attention from work. Do you put on your headphones with music to concentrate better? Or do you have a designated space at home where no one is allowed to enter while you work? It's important to know what work's best for you to be productive.

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ABOUT KNOLSKAPE

KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and  in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in  Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global  client base across industries such as banking and finance,  consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure,  pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia.  KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of  Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch  for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in  the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

To conclude, time is a valuable resource, and in a time like this where we are dealing with a gamut of changes, it becomes all the more vital to spend time on things that matter.

What are some best practices that you employ to manage time better? Please share with us in the comments below!

aditi kashyap roubd logoAbout the Author

Aditi A Kashyap is a Senior Associate, Marketing at KNOLSKAPE. Her interest to write about learning and development trends comes fuelled by her professional background as a learning consultant having a keen interest to understand a learner’s psyche.

November 3, 2020 - No Comments!

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude during these challenging times

Author Aditi A Kashyap

Cafeteria chatters and conference room huddles are now replaced by the disquiet we are experiencing, couped up in our socially distanced bubbles. The void felt in not having face-to-face physical interactions with our colleagues is deeply felt.

As we are going about adjusting to the “new normal” of virtual working, regularly practicing gratitude can be a panacea for improved mental well-being at work.

cultivate an attitude of gratitude

“Everyone working from home needs to hear that their work is being appreciated and that it matters.”

According to a Gallup study, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely as those who say they will quit in the next year. So, during tough times like this, it is even more necessary to thank your colleagues and recognize them for their efforts which will subsequently go a long way in improving retention and ongoing commitment to the company.

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. Instead of feeling miserable about our current reality, practicing gratitude will help you find the silver lining, helping you to harbor more positive emotions, relish the good experiences, dealing with adversity, and building stronger work relationships.

People are juggling multiple priorities every day, battling home duties and work. Being thankful to your colleagues and sharing with them that their work is recognized is the right thing to do. Everyone working from home needs to hear that their work is being appreciated and that it matters.

6 ways to practise gratitude

5 WAYS TO PRACTISE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

  1. Appreciate each other in team huddles:  We are working remotely and saying a small thank you to someone in the team who helped you out with a task or filled you in on a meeting you have missed can lift the spirits of your colleague and improve the bonding in the team. Make a public acknowledgment in team huddles on how your colleague went that extra mile in helping you out.
  2. Be responsive in thanking your colleague: Responsiveness is one of the best ways to show your colleague that you truly appreciate their help. Showing gratitude in a timely manner, soon as the help is offered, shows the other party that you value the relationship and you wish to maintain that connection well. In addition, make the gratitude specific. Thank your colleague by citing examples of how s/he offered to help with the situation in context.
  3. Mail a handwritten note: A classic, handwritten thank you card can never go out of style. It is a classy and elegant manner of showing that you acknowledge the work done by your team member. Team it up by sending a small gift. Ramya Lakshmanan- Director of Customer Success at Knolskape sends gifts such as books and thank you cards to her team members in appreciation of their efforts. Ramya says, “Thanking team members should bring in an element of surprise amidst the monotony. I make sure I recognize their efforts in a timely manner for specific behaviors displayed to reinforce the positive behaviors I wish to see in the team”.
  4. Give a ‘Social Shoutout’: Show gratitude by recognizing the efforts of your team members on LinkedIn and Facebook or you can also choose to send a team-wide email.
  5. Say thanks to family members of your team members: Get on a call with the family members of your colleagues and thank them for supporting their work in these challenging times. George Panakal, Head of Consulting at Knolskape, who has implemented this in his team says, “Your colleagues’ families are a key ally in ensuring their well-being, and it is important that you seek their inputs in to determine if your colleagues are able to cope with the pressures of handling their multiple works and home priorities. The families are the first people to notice stress or changes in behavior, so being in touch with them enables you to take better colleague-centered decisions.”

Savoring positive moments is a close cousin to gratitude and studies confirm that, like gratitude, savoring can significantly improve happiness and a sense of well-being. Share the good news with your colleagues about any aspect of your life- be it personal or professional. If you and your team member achieved a task successfully working together, share it with the rest of the team. This builds relationships and boosts happiness in the workplace.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis and it's important more than ever to leverage all the social tools and resources we have at our disposal to recognize and stay connected. We must learn to create a virtual, inclusive workforce connecting digital communities that thrive with recognition.

ABOUT KNOLSKAPE

KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world.  KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and in-depth talent analytics.

KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with offices in Singapore, India, Malaysia, and the USA  serving a rapidly growing global client base across industries such as banking and finance, consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government, and academia. KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamification company, recipient of Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.

aditi kashyap roubd logoAbout the Author

Aditi A Kashyap is a Senior Associate, Marketing at KNOLSKAPE. Her interest to write about learning and development trends comes fuelled by her professional background as a learning consultant having a keen interest to understand a learner’s psyche.

October 19, 2020 - No Comments!

Learning and Development During The Time Of COVID-19

Author Aditi A Kashyap

COVID -19 is changing the way people learn and work across the world. With unpredictability comes trepidation. Few could have predicted the way COVID-19 would ravage the world, casting uncertainty over the future and leaving everyone’s personal and professional lives in limbo.

As the world grapples with the pandemic, the learning and development industry is making efforts to create innovative ways of learning using digital solutions. The pandemic has largely influenced the way we learn, work, and interact with people.

learning and develpoment during the time of covid

Companies have shifted to remote working setups in response to the pandemic. Remote working and learning have now become the new reality which puts a lot of responsibility on learning and development professionals to create innovative virtual learning solutions and for employees to embrace a continuous learning mindset.

Companies have rapidly deployed virtual learning programs and employees want to make the most of online learning to keep themselves occupied and upskill themselves to stay ahead.

Why is this important? The ways of working are being re-written. And so will the skills required to stay relevant in the future of work. If your colleagues are not engaged in learning the skills and norms of the future, the chasm between their ability and the demands of the workplace of the future will be almost impossible to bridge.

So how are organizations responding to keep up with the changing times?

Digital ready organizations have easily made a transition to virtual learning. Josh Bersin Academy reports state that there has been increased consumption of online learning in most organizations. Companies have rapidly deployed virtual learning programs and employees want to make the most of online learning to keep themselves occupied and upskill themselves to stay ahead. Little can be said about how long it is going to take for this pandemic to end but what we can conclude is the fact that the crisis has brought with it new ways of learning with virtual learning likely to shape the way we learn in the future.

Historically, organizations have shied away from embracing on-demand remote learning solutions since it strips the engagement and experience that comes with in-person training. The many reasons why companies are making this shift to virtual instructor-led sessions are as follows:

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  • 5 reasons for shifting to VILT infographic
    1. Cost optimization:

    There are no travel and logistics costs associated with online learning and it is more cost-effective compared to classroom learning

    1. Flexibility

    Virtual learning gives learners the opportunity to access courses on demand and learn from anywhere at any time. It also allows them to revisit the concepts which enable greater retention of the learning

    1. Shorter training time

    Classroom sessions can go on for days. Virtual sessions take a much shorter time to be conducted and this means that the learner can learn the same concepts in much lesser time

    1. Learner-centric

    Since learning is “on-demand”, learners have more control to go through learning at their own pace and convenience. They can always refer to the training if needed.

    1. Learning retention

    According to a study by the Research Institute of America, the learning retention rate is in the range of 25% - 60% for eLearning, whereas it is 8% - 10% for face-to-face training

    How L&D professionals make the best of the pandemic situation?

    • Convert Instructor-Led Training programlearning retention statss to Virtual Instructor-led training programs 

    Asking a facilitator to send a recording of the training to participants is definitely boring and can draw out a learner’s interest. Ensure that the facilitator is enthusiastic enough to impart knowledge virtually by using different modalities- videos, infographics, interactions, quizzes, facilitator-led group discussions, and debates.

    • Build new topics on skill development and emotional well-being

    Offer the best of courses to your learners on their area of interest that will help them build on their existing skillsets relevant to their job roles. As we are living in challenging times, it is also important to have the know-how to manage ourselves as our personal well-being has a direct bearing on our professional development. Create new content for topics like emotional well-being and positive psychology, and get experts to deliver it.

    • Make micro-learning a regular feature

    Create a culture of continuous learning by sending regular learning material to your learners. This could be in the form of videos, articles, or interactive quizzes. Gamify the learning experience by conducting virtual quizzes that induce a sense of competition among the learners.

    • Introduce more collaboration tools

    Have discussion forums in place on collaborative learning platforms such as LMS, Slack, etc., Introduce new discussion topics and open comment threads. This will minimize the loss felt by learners used to in-person discussions.

    • Stay connected and keep your communication regular

    It is natural for learners to disengage themselves in a virtual setup. A sense of complacency might set in among learners for having worked from home for very long. It is important to regularly inform your learners about the ongoings in the organization, about Learning and Development initiatives, and follow up with them on learning completion of ongoing training initiatives. Look out for avenues to regularly engage your learners.

    The only way out is to embrace the new norm of virtual learning. Organizations must take definitive steps to be as innovative as possible to pique learner’s interest in learning virtually.

    aditi kashyap roubd logoAbout the Author

    Aditi A Kashyap is a Senior Associate, Marketing at KNOLSKAPE. Her interest to write about learning and development trends comes fuelled by her professional background as a learning consultant having a keen interest to understand a learner’s psyche.

    September 3, 2020 - Comments Off on Happiness At Work: Why Is It Important?

    Happiness At Work: Why Is It Important?

    happiness at work blog banner

    Happiness At Work: Why Is It Important?

    Think about the first word that comes to mind when someone asks you this question: 'WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? Some might find in fame, wealth, or career success; for others, it might be about having successful relationships; Then, some are still searching for their bliss. In his TED talk titled 'A short course on happiness, Dr. Raj Raghunathan (professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin) said, "One of the stupidest happiness mistakes people make is 'Knowing what will make you happy and yet not choosing to do it.'

    As hard as it is to define in general, it is quite unfathomable to consider being happy at work. Happiness at Work? Who would have even thought of such a thing! But the reality is that it is a very real construct. The Danes even have a word for it: Arbejdsglæde.

    Now that Denmark has made it official, is it worth considering? It should be. If we have learned anything since the onset of the COVID pandemic, it is that happiness at work is increasingly dictating our sense of happiness in general. Therefore, we must think about it, understand it, and find ways to make it happen.

    Let us start at the very beginning.

    Defining "Happiness at Work" Or "Arbejdsglæde"

    The World Happiness Report of 2019 states that Denmark has the second happiest cohort of people worldwide. Danish children love school, and Danish adults love work. So, it's no surprise that they coined a word for it: arbejdsglæde (ah-bites-gleh-the); Arbejde means work and glæde mean happiness, so arbejdsglæde is happiness at work. They claim that it is an emotion that comes from within or a feeling of happiness stemming from doing something that you love to do, in this case, work. No, it isn't the same as job satisfaction. While job satisfaction is essential, it is merely a component of 'Happiness at Work.'

    The 'Set Point' theory, which is supported by significant research over decades, suggests that our level of subjective well-being is determined primarily by heredity and personality traits ingrained in us early in life. As a result, it remains relatively constant throughout our lives. In other words, we each have a fixed 'average' level of happiness around which our day-to-day and moment-to-moment happiness varies.

    This theory poses a question: whether it is possible to change our happiness level or do we have to deal with our level of happiness, watching others be naturally more cheerful always. The jury is still out on that, considering multiple viewpoints, no one more valid than the other.

    So why talk about Happiness at Work?

    The Science behind Happiness at Work

    Organizations are increasingly focusing on their employees' happiness because research shows that, on average, organizations with happier employees are 9% more profitable than organizations with unhappy employees.

    • Happier people are healthier:

     

    Happiness is like a tonic for good health; A famous longitudinal study conducted on nuns showed that the happier nuns outlived the unhappier nuns by 11 years.

    Happier people are also less likely to take sick leave. Research shows that happier people are likely to take 16 fewer days of sick leave than unhappier people.

    • Happier people enjoy better relationships:

     

    They have a higher chance of getting married, building long-lasting friendships, and be better partners in a team; The intuitive reason for this is that happier people are more giving.

    • Happier people are more productive:

     

    This is an obvious consequence of better health and stronger relationships. Research shows that:

    • Happier people are more creative, more objective, and make better decisions.
    • Happier people earn more money for themselves and their organizations.

     

    As a result, organizations are not just working toward making the workplace a happier environment. Still, organizational behavior teams are also dedicating more of their resources to understand this phenomenon to conclude where a person's happiness lies and how to improve it.

    The more current research shows the following findings:

    • 50% of a person's happiness depends on their DNA. We do not have much control over this – some people are born much happier than other people.
    • Only 10% of a person's happiness depends on the external circumstances – while this may seem surprising, think about all the successful yet miserable, or poor but content, etc.
    • A large part of our happiness, about 40%, depends on our attitude – how we choose to perceive the world around us and is the most significant determinant of how happy an individual is.

     

    Who is responsible for your "Happiness at Work"?

    So, who do you think is responsible for your happiness at work? Is it your boss, your colleague, your co-worker, your client? There are still those who argue that happiness in the workplace is dependent on the work environment. Sure, the work environment does contribute a little bit in bringing in those happy moments, but primarily, it is 'YOU' who is responsible for your happiness. According to an article by Abhijit Bhaduri in a well-known newspaper, the best company is where the employer and the employee are both happy each other. Competence to do the job well makes the employer happy. A cultural fitment makes both happier.

    A "BAMBA Model" – The 5-determinants of happiness at the workplace.

    In a recent webinar, Dr. Raj Raghunathan explained the five determinants of happiness at the workplace:

    1. Basic needs

    The most fundamental needs we have anywhere, especially at work, are our physical and emotional requirements:

    • Being paid enough to cover their expenses
    • Having an ergonomically sound workstation
    • Ensuring people like having us around
    • The company is transparent in how business and team are managed

     

    These are just some examples of the most basic needs that we have at work. Covering these basic needs means being empathetic to understanding what the needs are.

    1. Autonomy:

     The modern workforce demands a sense of freedom and control over their work. Being given the opportunity and responsibility to oversee their work and making a difference is increasingly transforming into a basic need, considering the post-COVID new normal. Perhaps the most crucial determinant or manifestation of the autonomy is "voice." It about feeling psychologically safe: How safe do you feel if you voice your opinion in front of your boss. It is found that organizations that allow their people to voice out their opinion outperform compared to companies which do not allow to voice out. And the voice is not just about psychological safety; more importantly, it is about psychological impact. In other words, when I express my opinion, it is not only about being heard but that incorporated in the decisions being made.

    A lot goes into autonomy, starting from process freedom, clarity, and how you achieve it, from where you achieve it, with whom you achieve it to how you achieve it.

    1. Mastery:

    Everybody has a desire to become great, perhaps even the best at what they do. We are learning machines; we love to explore. Unfortunately, many of us lose the zeal, enthusiasm, and curiosity at work overtime because we do not like what we do for work. That is a different problem altogether.

    Mastery is about harnessing the zeal that one has to do well in what they are doing increasingly and is one of the areas where most organizations can improve. Many organization employees do not know the kind of skills they want to acquire over their careers. As leaders, we understand that everyone has the room they grow and improve their performance. Through leading by example, coaching, training, or a plethora of other methods, we not just help our team members uncover their gaps, but also uncover newer opportunities.

    1. Belonging:

     A sense of connection that you have with your co-workers, and it turns out to be super important in our organizational context. We are a highly socialized species. Gallup's topline finding is, "People don't leave organizations, people leave people."

    For leaders, that means finding what motivates someone, not just to perform well. Of course, that motivation also has to be incentivized. In the current social distancing scenario, the work from home phenomenon is being extended for employees all over the world, possibly indefinitely.

    With each day, week, and month of working from home, many employees feel a sense of alienation from their colleagues, which is a dangerous situation that might not go away by merely jumping ship to another team or organization. Therefore, the most significant incentive that leaders need to focus on currently is reenergizing the feeling of belongingness amongst their team members.

    There are enough and more creative solutions to this problem out there. The place to pick up ideas is from children. Here are some ideas:

    • Netflix announced a Google Chrome extension that allows groups of people to watch a movie or TV show together while chatting about it simultaneously.
    • Have a virtual dinner party with online games using videoconferencing tool plug-ins. For example, Pictionary using the whiteboard
    • Online arts and crafts projects for the entire team with someone sharing their hobby with everyone
    • Have a show and tell of your workspace at home for your team members to see what your new normal is like.

     

    1. Abundance Culture:

     An abundance of culture comes from positive leadership. It is about expressing gratitude. Doug Conant, the former CEO of Campbell Soups, used to write five gratitude cards each day. Over his career, he has written over 30,000 handwritten thank you cards. This practice helped him take Campbell Soups from being the worst-performing food company to becoming one of the best Fortune 500 companies in the world. Less than a decade later and was because his practice of writing thank you notes spearheaded his efforts to reenergize a low engagement culture within the organization. Doug Conant, like many successful leaders, was an abundance-based thinker. Leaders with an abundance-based mindset think about possibilities. When President J F Kennedy promised a man on the moon, NASA was nowhere close to being ready for this. But Kennedy had a vision, and he wasn't concerned with what was reasonable or comfortable. Building an abundance of culture within the organization frees us from a chain of negativity. That's not to say that it will take away failure, but an abundance mindset creates the attitude that if something doesn't work, there is always a way – it's a matter of trying again until we find ways that work.

    Remember, it starts with gratitude – send a thank you note, tell your colleague they are doing a good job, find a way to let them know that what they are doing matters.

     

    About the Author

    Hardik Chitroda is an experienced sales and marketing professional and currently leading the global marketing efforts for KNOLSKAPE.

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  • July 2, 2020 - Comments Off on Practicing Mindfulness – 3 Ways to Achieve Stimulus-response Distancing

    Practicing Mindfulness – 3 Ways to Achieve Stimulus-response Distancing

    practising mindfulness

    Practicing Mindfulness.

    Our mind thinks a million thoughts a day. Let me ask you a question – do you know what your next thought is going to be? I bet you don’t. Yet, this is the single most important thing that shapes the way our life unfolds from moment to moment. These thoughts are triggered by various stimuli in the environment often times unbeknownst to us or from our vast storehouse of memories.

    Mind – the thought machine

    In essence, our mind is a thought machine. Our heart acts as the machine’s pulse. Our senses feed data into this machine on a continuous basis. Our memories and conditioning (social and genetic) act as procedures that we keep running mostly on an auto-pilot mode.

    Our thoughts have far-reaching consequences for us in terms of the way we feel and act. The Cognitive triangle below depicts how our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all interconnected with each other, and influence one another. Therefore, you can change, or at least influence, one by changing another.

     

    No alt text provided for this image

    When we are not in control of the next thought that can arise in our minds, how can we be in control of our emotions, actions, habits, careers, relationships, and ultimately our destiny? Is there a way to establish a positive feedback loop in our cognitive triangle? Mindfulness holds the key to answering this question.

    What’s mindfulness?

    Various studies refer to mindfulness as the moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience - our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and the environment around us - with a sense of acceptance and without any judgment. Spiritual texts would actually say that the trick behind mindfulness is to actually quieten the mind. In a manner of speaking, we must become ‘mindless’ to become mindful.

    To me, mindfulness boils down to a simple thing – are we aware of the space, albeit a tiny one, that exists between the stimulus (internal or external) and our response. There lies our freedom of choice – the freedom to chart our own path, create our own destiny. Exactly what Viktor Frankl talks about in his iconic book “Man’s search for meaning”. What’s empowering to note is that we do have the ability to identify, create, and expand the space between the stimulus and the response. It can be deliberately developed over a period of time. In tune with the times, let’s call the creation of this space stimulus-response distancing.

    Stimulus-Response Distancing

    Now let’s understand what stops us from stimulus-response distancing and what we can do to master mindfulness.

    • Multitasking

    Cognitive overload doesn’t help our cause when it comes to mindfulness. When we are constantly bombarded by different stimuli, we fail to stay in tune with our inner world – how cold the room is making me feel, what the fragrance wafting through the air reminds me of, how the noisy environment is making me irritable, etc. Each one of these inputs is capable of triggering thoughts and memories from various hidden nooks of our minds.

    Mindfulness Hack #1: Cut down multitasking and engage in deep work when you need to produce breakthrough outcomes

    •  Busy is the new stupid

    Perennially staying busy robs us the opportunity to pause and really pay attention to the environment around us and stay in touch with the way we feel on a moment to moment basis.

    Mindfulness Hack #2: Be disciplined about switching off from external impulses – devices, work, people, etc. Meditation is a great way to connect deeply with our inner world.

    • Being judgmental 

    Often times, we tend to judge our thoughts and apply various labels on them – good, bad, ugly. Staying at the surface level and reacting prematurely doesn’t help us see the connection between the stimuli and the response. Accepting thoughts with a level of equanimity and suspending judgment, on the other hand, helps us see the connection clearly. When we take the position of an observer, we also realize that thoughts are fleeting and they don’t have as much power over the way we feel or act.

    Mindfulness Hack #3: Keep a journal to record your thoughts, your reactions and notice if there are recurring patterns.

    To sum up, mindfulness may not help us identify what our next thought is going to be but it sure can help us come up with the best response to the thought. Let’s be sure that it takes deliberate practice over a period of time to get out of the auto-pilot mode and enjoy the freedom that exists between stimulus and response. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can positively shape our emotions, actions, habits, and ultimately, our destiny.

     

    rajiv jayaramn transprent logoAbout the Author

    Rajiv Jayaraman Founder-CEO, KNOLSKAPE ; Author: Clearing the Digital BLUR, TEDx speaker, Chief People Officer, Talent Transformation.

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  • June 24, 2020 - Comments Off on Developing Emotional Resilience

    Developing Emotional Resilience

    developing emotional resilience

    Developing Emotional Resilience

    We all get 'life lemons' from time to time, don't we? - health issues, relationship troubles, career issues, financial constraints, existential dilemmas, etc. How do we make lemonade or lemon pie or anything else that tickles your fancy with them? In other words, how do we develop resilience to adversities and setbacks?

    Martin Seligman, the famous psychologist, speaks about the 3 Ps that prevent us from mustering courage, healing, moving on, and finding joy.

    Personalization

    We tend to personalize the issues we face. This can take multiple forms - Why me? or I'm a failure or what will others think of me? or I must have had a role to play with this or I deserve this. We get into a negative loop that becomes difficult to get out of.

    Permanence

    We tend to think that the issue at hand will last forever. Sometimes, they do (as in the case of loss of a loved one). But then, life finds its own equilibrium post the event. That's why we hear people say "This too shall pass". Nothing remains constant in life, let go and go with the flow.

    Pervasiveness

    We tend to magnify issues and think that adversity or failure in one area of life is all-encompassing. We forget to remain grateful for what we do have, small pleasures that make our lives rich, and the support/guidance we are getting on a constant basis.

    While there are 3 Ps to overcome, there is one P to totally embrace - Purpose. I find that people who have a strong sense of purpose tend to deal with adversities a lot better than others who don't have a strong "why". As Nietzsche elegantly says, "He who has a why to live can bear almost anyhow."

    Every adversity shows up as a learning opportunity. We have a choice to make - will we learn and grow out of the situation or will our spirits be crushed? So the next time life throws a lemon, overcome the 3Ps and learn to make lemonade 🙂

    About KNOLSKAPE

    KNOLSKAPE creates experiential solutions that transform your organization into a modern workforce. Our core belief is that desired business outcomes are achieved best with an engaged workforce, but traditional methodologies for doing so require a new, more updated approach. Keeping with this philosophy, we develop engaging, immersive and experiential solutions for talent assessment, development, and engagement.

     

    rajiv jayaramn transprent logoAbout the Author

    Rajiv Jayaraman Founder-CEO, KNOLSKAPE ; Author: Clearing the Digital BLUR, TEDx speaker, Chief People Officer, Talent Transformation.

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  • June 22, 2020 - Comments Off on Custom Learning Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

    Custom Learning Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

    trends to watch out for in custom learning in 2020

    Custom learning has proved to be a very effective learning method. Consequently, the demand for custom learning is consistently growing. People are getting used to personalized solutions which is why they find custom learning more appealing. Not every learner responds well to the same techniques.

    The Gates/RAND Studies have tested 11,000 learners for the effects of personalized- learning approaches. The results have shown that the longer students experienced “personalized-learning practices,” their achievement grows more. Through custom learning, the goals and needs of individual learners are recognized and prioritized. When instructions and training are tailored to address those goals and needs, the result will be more noticeable. For that reason, custom learning and emerging trends are under the watchful eye of anyone interested in improving their learning methodology.

    Martin Seligman, the famous psychologist, speaks about the 3 Ps that prevent us from mustering courage, healing, moving on, and finding joy.

    The Benefits of Implementing Custom Learning Trends in 2020

    Keeping up with trends is relevant in every industry. As trends come and go very fast nowadays, you need to be in the loop of information that is valuable to your niche.

    Implementing custom learning without following the trends can make your services outdated. The learner’s experience will be complete only if you implement the trends in your learning platforms.

    The following trends will mark the year 2020 and you simply can’t overlook them. They will introduce you to some techniques and advancements that will improve the custom learning.

    However, you need to keep in mind that not all trends need to be accepted and implemented blindly. The purpose of educating yourself about the trends in custom learning is to overview the type of advancement you can make in your learning platform.

    Before you introduce innovation in your custom learning service, consider these aspects:

    1. How relevant the trend is for your learners?
    2. How the trend will align with learners’ expectations and goals?
    3. How the trend will align with your plans for custom learning improvements?

    Now, that we’ve got that covered, let’s get straight to the trends that can be a huge step forward for your custom learning platform.

    Top Trends in Custom Learning in 2020

    • Microlearning

    Microlearning puts the emphasis on short-form, drop-in-drop-out learning rather than long-term commitment requirements. The research shows that microlearning makes the transfer of learning 17% more effective.

    The reason why is that learners feel a greater feeling of accomplishment. It is easier to focus on smaller portions of learning material so the learners’ results will be better. When learners get to repeat the content at certain intervals the knowledge is cemented in their long-term memory.

    Additionally, each section puts certain notions in focus and it is easier to pinpoint which parts are harder for learners' to grasp. Microlearning is a trend that has seen a notable difference in learners' results and should definitely be considered for improving custom learning plans.

    • Mobile optimization

    The trend of adapting learning to mobile devices is something that you could've seen coming. This trend is simply a result of users’ demand.

    The average American spends more than 5 hours on their phone. People's addiction to mobile phones has inspired entrepreneurs and innovators to make their services mobile-friendly. Custom learning is no exception.

    Mobile optimization in custom learning refers to the facilitation of on-the-go learning via a specialized app and responsive website design. The goal is to make the materials and learning experience available on mobile devices.

    Amanda Dignan, UX design technologist at Studicus and TrustMyPaper explains: “With mobile-optimized custom learning, people will have a better chance to stick to their learning habits. They will have a chance to access the material whenever they have the time. Whether they are on the bus, taking a break, or sitting on their front porch, the learning materials will be in the reach of their hand.”

    • Collaborative learning

    Engaging learning environment makes learning less tedious and more effective. With that in mind, collaborative learning is one of the trends that deserve our attention.

    Collaborative learning means that there is interaction, discussion, and teamwork with other learners in the course. The engagement will encourage learners to be more present and think logically.

    In collaborative learning, learners have to organize themselves and communicate consistently. This gives them an opportunity to develop their leadership skills, self-management skills, as well as communication skills.

    Studies have shown that collaborative learning can also lead to higher involvement and better retention of knowledge.

    Many organizations have already invested in making their learning platforms more collaborative and social. The LXPs (Learning Experience Platforms) and The NextGen LMSs both leverage collaborative learning.

    • AR/VR utilization

    AR/VR can be seen everywhere. The technology is taking off and we can't ignore its impact on custom learning.

    Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) used to be an idea of the future and the cost was corresponding. With their immersion in different fields, the price is dropping and becoming more realistic.

    In custom learning, mixed reality technology can be used to augment the learning process. It can add an edge to traditional learning forms.

    Adobe Captivate 2019’s VR capability is a great example of this trend. They explained what the tool can bring their users:

    Imagine if you could send your students of art and history on a virtual field trip to The Louvre or simulate high-risk emergency situations to train your first-responder teams. Design immersive learning experiences that can be delivered via popular VR headsets (e.g. Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, etc.) to replicate real-life scenarios.”

    Whether you are for or against VR, you can’t deny that this is an impressive innovation.

    • Personalized learning analytics

    In order to improve the impact of training, analytics can be a crucial addition. Personalized learning analytics allow the learner full access to personal performance data all for more efficient future learning.

    Access to their performance will help the learner to identify their weak and strong spots. Based on the information, they can work on continuous improvement.

    The actionable insight will improve learners’ motivation, engagement, and facilitate the application of learning. James Kushner, an analytics expert at BestEssayEducation explains why personalized analytics is an important trend for 2020, “There is no more denying of how important analytics are for learner’s experience. Through analytics, learners are able to follow their educational journey, pinpoint their common mistakes, and focus on not repeating them.”

    • Learning personalization

    Learning can be personalized in many ways. Missing out on this opportunity is not acceptable anymore. Some of the ways of learning personalization are:

    • Back-end assistance – Learners are provided with back-end information and help on their demand.
    • Curation – Content curation offers relevant content to the individual learner. The content will also be offered at the moment of the learner's need.

    Support for learners via trained tutors and experts – Tutors and experts can clarify any confusing notions. They can also further explain the material that troubles the learner.

    Conclusion

    Custom learning is here to stay but that doesn’t mean that there are no changes. The above-mentioned trends are reshaping the custom learning into a highly personalized experience for learners. Their importance lies in the value that they add to custom learning. If you wish to take your custom learning platform to the next level, these are the solutions that you should turn to.

    About KNOLSKAPE

    KNOLSKAPE creates experiential solutions that transform your organization into a modern workforce. Our core belief is that desired business outcomes are achieved best with an engaged workforce, but traditional methodologies for doing so require a new, more updated approach. Keeping with this philosophy, we develop engaging, immersive and experiential solutions for talent assessment, development, and engagement.

     

    About the Author

    Nicole Garrison is an experienced freelance blogger whose versatile scope of interest includes topics such as digital marketing , web design, and professional growth. Her main goal is to use his passion for writing to always provide high-quality, reliable and well-researched pieces of content. She’s currently working as a writer at Supreme Dissertations.

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  • May 11, 2020 - Comments Off on Best Online Communication Tools For eLearning Teams

    Best Online Communication Tools For eLearning Teams

    best online communication tools for elearning teams

    About the Author

    Nicole Garrison is an experienced freelance blogger whose versatile scope of interest includes topics such as digital marketing , web design, and professional growth. Her main goal is to use his passion for writing to always provide high-quality, reliable and well-researched pieces of content. She’s currently working as a writer at Supreme Dissertations.

    #eLearning is a trend that has been around for years but it's only continuing to grow and improve. More and more companies, institutions, and teams are turning to eLearning as a form of introducing changes or adopting new skills and knowledge. In fact, by 2025 the eLearning industry is predicted to be worth $325 billion.

    Therefore, it’s obvious that this is a growing industry. This is why it’s no wonder there are dozens of online communication tools you can use for eLearning. To help you make the right choice, we’ve put together a list of the best online communication tools for eLearning teams.

    Let’s take a closer look.

    Why Use Online Communication Tools For eLearning Teams?

    eLearning has completely changed the way we receive or transfer knowledge. Unlike traditional learning methods, eLearning has brought some benefits to the table.

    Here are the strongest advantages of using online communication tools for eLearning teams:

    1. Time-saving:

      Students get to learn from the comfort of their office chair, home, or any location they choose. No need to travel.

    2. Interactive classes

      Unlike offline learning, here you have a direct connection to an expert who can resolve your doubts and answer your questions.

    3. Affordable

      eLearning is cost-effective due to the reduces resources you need to use (travel, accommodation, course materials, etc.)

    4. Re-taking lessons

      You can re-take a lesson to ensure the knowledge sinks in, unlike with the traditional form of learning where you only get to sit in a lecture once.

    The benefits of eLearning are numerous. Once you choose the best eLearning tool, you’ll be able to experience the full perks.

    What Are The Best Online Communication Tools For e-Learning Teams?

    Now, let’s take a closer list at the best tool for e-learning available today.

    • Podio

      Podio is an online collaboration tool that can ensure your eLearning team is in sync. It's designed to cultivate transparency and make it easy for each team member to participate equally.Podio offers features such as:

      • assigning projects & assignments
      • sharing project details such as the deadline or project manager
      • attaching files
      • open conversations on the project
      • Podio mobile app

     

    • You can access Podio using the app, wherever you are and it will stay synced across all your devices. You can share files, break down tasks and assignments and get immediate support from other team members in case you need it.Podio will make the learning and the teaching process easier and will support it from beginning to end.

     

    • Asana

      Another great platform for eLearning teams to use and collaborate on is Asana. This work management platform ensures the eLearning team stays on the right page and focuses on the same goals.

      Here’s what makes Asana highly recommended:

      • easy to plan and structure assignments, projects, and tasks
      • allows assigning task priority
      • gives a visual timeline representation of the upcoming work
      • helps the team stay in sync

      Asana helps communicate the right message to the right people and assign tasks that are easy to understand.

      The visual representation of the tasks will help team members keep track of their lessons and assignments, as well as help them prioritize each step of the process.

      It prevents the team member from getting confused, slacking, or falling behind the rest of the group.

     

    • Skype

      Skype is one of the oldest and most widely-recognized communication apps out there. With its advanced options and trustworthiness, it’s perfectly fit for eLearning teams to use and collaborate on.

      Skype allows users to:

      • have live video calls, one to one or group ones
      • share your screen while on call
      • share files
      • chat
      • record the lesson to share or review it later

      When sharing files with the rest of the team, make sure that you’ve double-checked it and proofread everything. In case you need help, check out Grab My Essay, Grammarly, or Wow Grade.

      So, Skype allows you to create and share a conference call, or participate in a live lesson wherever you are. And, you can access Skype from any device that has the app.

     

    • Trello

      Trello is another favored tool for eLearning and online communication of teams. It’s suitable for those online lessons that are complex and require great organization skills.

      Trello is based on boards, lists, and task cards. These features make sure the lessons are:

      • organized
      • divided into sections
      • open for adjustments and changes

      All team members will be able to access the eLearning projects from a device of choice and keep up with each project assigned.

      Each project is open for adding attachments, leaving comments and there’s a due date clearly stated. Everything the team members need is in one place.

      Planning, organizing, and conducting eLearning is made simple with this collaboration tool.

     

    • Slack

      Slack is a team collaboration tool with a truly unique and special approach. As they say it, they focus on team-first instead of individual-first approach.

      Slack is based on channels. These channels make sure that every member of a team has all the necessary information they need for participating in the project.

      So, for each segment of an upcoming lesson and each step in the learning process, there will be:

      • a channel created for all members that need to be informed
      • files, messages, and updates shared with everyone
      • open comments and conversation on the channel, on the subject matter

      Team members can be a part of different channels, depending on their needs, interests, and learning journey.

     

    • Microsoft teams

      Microsoft Teams is another top-notch collaboration platform that can turn the eLearning process into a smoothly running process.

      It comes with major benefits and we’ll break them down for you. Here are some of the best features that Microsoft Teams offers:

      • hosting audio or video calls for up to 10.000 members
      • screen sharing
      • note-taking during the call
      • recording the sessions
      • live chat
      • using integrated third-party apps for an improved experience.

     

    In addition, there's a subcategory of Microsoft Teams called the Microsoft Teams for education. This platform is designed specifically for online learning and with the teachers and students in mind.

    Teachers get to:

    • create and share files
    • establish direct communication with students using chat, video calls, or meetings
    • share elaborate feedback on assignments and projects
    • create a grading system

    It’s a platform designed to make remote learning easy and practical.

     

    Final Thoughts

    As you can see, there are some brilliant, easy-to-use, and highly efficient online communication tools that can be used by eLearning teams. Each tool offers something unique and allows you to mold your lessons accordingly. Choose the tools that fit your needs best and start using it to improve your eLearning efforts. You'll be able to see the improvements almost instantly.

     

    About KNOLSKAPE

    KNOLSKAPE creates experiential solutions that transform your organization into a modern workforce. Our core belief is that desired business outcomes are achieved best with an engaged workforce, but traditional methodologies for doing so require a new, more updated approach. Keeping with this philosophy, we develop engaging, immersive and experiential solutions for talent assessment, development and engagement.

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