10 Tips to Train the Brain for High Performance
In 2008, a ground-breaking University of Michigan study, “Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memory,” proved that training could improve a person’s intelligence. This study threw light on the subject of brain training to increase mental ability. This increased intelligence would help employers to increase their employee’s performance.
To yield better productivity, it is important that the learner’s brain is capable of grasping, interpreting and recalling all essential work information. Here are some ways to train your employees’ brains.
Meditation: Push-Ups For the Brain
Endless pressure at work can hamper the brain’s performance. Meditation can relieve pent-up stress and cultivate attention and mindfulness. Organizations like Apple, Google, Nike and AOL provide meditation breaks to their employees.
What You Can Do: Fix specific times for professionals to practice meditation.
Neurobics: Brain Exercises
Asking employees to do things differently is considered a type of brain exercise. According to Lawrence C. Katz, a professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, neurobics can make the brain agile, flexible and more capable of storing information using different pathways.
What You Can Do: Ask employees to work in an unconventional way. Give them different work from time to time.
Take the Digital Way
MyBrainSolutions is an online program developed by Brain Resources Inc. It assigns specific games and tasks to improve the brain’s performance by assessing it in terms of strengths and weaknesses. These online games can be an effective way to help enhance employees’ brain health and productivity.
What You Can Do: Incorporate this program in your organization to improve productivity. Use it for a minimum of 60 days to see better results.
Take Short Breaks
Working continuously may cause improper brain functioning. Anders Ericsson, a Swedish psychologist, states that the brain can only have continuous clarity for 90 to 120 minutes at a time. Giving the brain a break can improve performance.
What You Can Do: Don’t pressure your employees to work without breaks. Set 10-minute breaks for them.
Map That Mind
Employees remember 65 percent of content from visual training but only 10 percent from listening. Encourage mind mapping for better memory. Ask them to link pictures, music or expressions with work. Tony Dottino, co-author of “The BrainSmart Leader,” used mind mapping with IBM employees during the company’s 1992 layoffs to increase productivity.
What You Can Do: Teach this technique to employees. Encourage them to use doodles or other tools to illustrate their work.
Food for the Brain
Tufts University researchers concluded that blueberries improve the brain’s memory power. Similarly, foods like broccoli, pumpkin seeds and walnuts enhance brain power and cognitive functions.
What You Can Do: Offer in your company’s cafeteria foods that increase brain performance and productivity. Encourage your employees to have a wholesome breakfast. Distribute a nutrition chart to provide guidance.
Train for Agility
Linda Graham, a well-known psychologist, comments that mental agility is “the ability to pause, step back, reflect, shift perspectives, create options and choose wisely.” Encourage employees to be adaptable and responsive to changes in the workplace. Challenge them with new work to encourage competitiveness and improve efficiency.
What You Can Do: Change learning programs and encourage group discussions and re-thinking activities to develop mental agility.
Balance Cognitive Load
John Sweller’s cognitive load theory can help you design a training program that balances employees’ mental effort.
What You Can Do: Know the expertise of each employee, and give them work and training content accordingly. Don’t overburden them; instead, give them small work focused on specific topics at regular intervals.
Take the Physical Way
Physical exercise is scientifically proven to increase cognitive function, memory and brain power. Remember that better health, both physical and mental, means better productivity from your employees.
What You Can Do: Establish an office gym and fitness programs to enhance employee health. Give them a way to burn off stress and anxiety by working out.
Encourage Healthy Relationships
People are social animals. Our brains tend to work better when we have healthy relationships.
What You Can Do: Encourage healthy relations among your employees so that their brains function more effectively. Ensure that they can trust each other to relieve stress and enjoy work, too. Work on strengthening team spirit by organizing programs that require employees to work together.
Incorporate these tips to train employee brains, and they will yield better productivity and higher profits.
Ankit Gupta heads one of India's leading B2B portals ExportersIndia.com and looks for interesting ways to enhance employee productivity. To know more about Ankit, follow him on Twitter and Google+.
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