Prevent your best resources from vanishing like sand understanding learning curves.
Emma just made her 8th year at the relatively large Head Hunting firm she works at, in the north of Paris. You want to be the best boss ever and you would love for your workplace to be somewhere pleasant and positive. But right now, Emma’s evolution in the company has peaked, many it’s been already some time and you’ve been busy enough not to pay close attention to the small signs she has been trying to give you in the last year or two.
There’s also something else, Emma does a fantastic work, so you really wouldn’t want her to change role, not right now at least, in the midst of all this uncertainties.
That’s a great way to lose her forever.
This sort of situations happen on a daily basis in most companies and the actual cost in terms of money and time is huge.
When your employees feel they can no longer grow within the organization, they disengage. Which is technically even worse then leaving really, because you don’t even realise your company is slowly turning into zombieland.
Maybe even you felt the same way in the past, before you started to manage other people. Anyone really that is not allowed to grow and learn, will soon start to feel that they don’t matter. Even if they don’t quit on you immediately, they will mentally check out.
What are possible solutions? You must interiorize that everyone in your organization is on a learning curve, including you. This by the way means that we all have a specific time frame in which we can possibly stay at each stage. At the beginning you are introduced to a set of challenges and task you engage with enthusiasm, but as time goes by, you delevop experience and expertise so you gradually climb the learning curve until you reach mastery at your job.
Studies show that generally four years is the average in which professionals peak their mastery at a role and after that only a precipice of demotivation is awaiting them.
Ultimately, you simply cannot do the same task for too long before you start to feel flat.
Our brains literally crave learning new things, they are chemically hard-wired to do so, neuroscience shows that we even release feel-good hormones when we are actively engaged in learning.
In an ideal world, you would want your organization to have 15% of everyone at the beginning of the curve with people that might be starting, 75% at the sweespot where they are actively giving their best but still have some skills where they can improve at, and the last 10% at the high end in the mastery top part.
Try to bear this concept in mind so you can reduce valuable assets inside your company starting to look for new challenges outside of your organization. Simply discuss these matters more with your employees, have a one-on-one with them at least once a month and openly ask them how they feel about their growth and what they would like to learn.