Developing a Learning Culture

3 Ways Learner Mood Affects Your Entire Organization

No, you’re not reading the inside of a fortune cookie: We really believe that happiness makes all the difference in your work. And we’re not just talking about individual warm fuzzy feelings, but how mood can affect an entire workplace.

Happiness is a sometimes-forgotten barometer of organizational health. When crunching numbers, analyzing ROI, and analyzing employee efficiency, stopping to wonder, “Is my team happy?” comes as an afterthought–if it’s a thought at all.

But happiness doesn’t just make for a more pleasant working environment. It can improve communication between colleagues, increase capacity for learning, and permeate nearly every aspect of your company’s culture. If employees aren’t happy, they might not be meeting their full potential at work. Learn why happiness makes all the difference, and what it takes to get learners and employees to smile.

  1. Happy Learners are More Flexible and Creative

According to Art Markman, a cognitive scientist at the University Texas, learners who are happy are more likely to understand concepts that require flexibility and creativity. He cites a 2010 study where participants’ moods were manipulated using music and videos. Those who experienced positive media were better able to think objectively and classify items when compared to those who experience negative or neutral media.

It’s true that some types of learning might not be of the warm, sunny variety, but ensuring that learners are happy can increase creativity levels. And, when you rely on employees to solve problems and think outside the box, a happy mood can be a worthy investment.

  1. Happy Learners Communicate Better

A survey by Training Magazine found that when employees experience positive communication, productivity spikes 31 percent. What’s the deal?

Learners who experience a positive mood while learning and working are simply better communicators, and better communication results in better workers. Unfortunately, negative moods can prevail at work, which permeates the way employees interact and learn. Leaders play a huge role in this mindset: Positive leadership improves mood and communication, while negative leadership can cast a shadow on how employees connect.

  1. Happy Learners Store New Information Better

It’s no secret that new material is only as good as the priority level assigned to it by the learner. And, as it turns out, there could be a secret to ensuring that new information is high on learners’ priority lists. According to a paper by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an individual’s ability to acquire and store new information increases as his mood improves. Naturally, the study outlined the importance of sleep in affecting mood, but we’d go one step further: Work-life balance is the key.

If a positive mood makes learners more receptive to new information, it’s possible to increase those effects by focusing on improving work-life balance for all learners. It’s a matter of ensuring that learners are meeting personal goals as well as work-related ones in the name of improving employee performance. It’s a small price to pay for learners who are in the mood to accept and store new information while at work.

Happy learners are effective learners, but mood isn’t always a factor in making training decisions. By dusting off your mood ring and taking the pulse of learners’ attitudes toward leadership, training, and communication, you can double up on current efforts and make learning more powerful than ever.