Learning curve

How to Deal With Your Learning Curve in a New Role

How to Deal With Your Learning Curve in a New Role
Reading Time: 5 minutes

You made the choice. You’ve decided to start a new position, and probably this new role means a new career path for you. The change itself it’s nerve-wracking, of course, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There will be a lot of information and many people you’ll meet. Depending on the complexity of your functions and skills, dealing with your learning curve helps minimize the amount of stress you’re likely to face. 

But hold it right there, this article is not about stressing you out; it’s about giving tips and information you could use during your adaptation process. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when you’re about to start, the good thing is you’re not alone. For a start, always remember there is a learning curve that comes with any new position, so here are some ins and outs to walk you through it. 

What is a learning curve? 

Theoretically, a learning curve is a mathematical concept that graphically shows the change in production efficiency over time. When starting a new job or training, a learning curve reflects the relationship between time spent learning and the outcome of progress and performance shown at work.

The playbook indicates there will be an initial period in which you invest more than you receive, but after overcoming the learning stage, your returns will be higher than your investment. If you transfer this to training, getting used to new tasks will take time, and you’ll have to be resilient during this period. Nevertheless, once you surpass this high-cost and low-output stage, you’ll be sharp enough to perform your new functions faster and better. 

The four types of learning curves

After settling the learning curve definition, it’s time to speak about the different types. Though these theories are more math specific, you need to know them to understand the differences between each learning process. This means that depending on the complexity of your training, your progress could evolve in different ways. The easier the task, the simpler the learning curve will be.

Diminishing-Returns Learning Curve

This curve, also known as a steep learning curve because of its shape, shows a quick progression over a short period of time. It usually depicts easy tasks where learning is fast, as well as achieving maximum efficiency.

Increasing-Returns Learning Curve

In contrast to the previous one, this learning curve is shallow at the beginning and then rises up. This model is often used to display complex skills that take a long time to learn; this means you’ll need more practice to reach proficiency. 

Increasing-Decreasing Return Learning or S-Curve

Though the S-shape of this curve seems more complex than the previous ones, this one accurately describes a professional’s experience when trying a new job. The shallow bottom of the curve reflects the stage of slow progress when you’re gaining knowledge and mastering the skills required. The first half is followed by a rapid ascent and a plateau, which indicates the transition to becoming proficient and acquiring a sense of mastery. 

The Complex Learning Curve

As its name implies, this model includes different stages of the learning process. It’s often used to represent more complicated tasks. It begins with a shallow curve, followed by a plateau, and ends with a drop that might be steep or shallow. This shape depicts that even after learning the basics of the task, it takes a certain amount of knowledge and extra training to achieve the highest efficiency level. 

How to deal with your learning curve 

The theory is set. During your training, you should take time to address how to handle the learning curve of any new challenge or task and the stress that may come with it. Even though expectations may be at their peak and there is a lot to learn, you must stay resilient and patient. Adopt a growth mindset by acknowledging that every lack of understanding is an opportunity to improve.

Though giving an exact time of how long it takes to learn a new job is hard, the objective of analyzing your learning curve and its ups and downs is to get insight that allows you to improve your training strategy and enjoy all the stages of your learning process. Here are a few tips to help you improve your experience curve:

Ask for advice from others

Being doubtful and confused is normal while developing a new skill, but be careful about stagnant feelings. You’re not alone, others have transitioned this path, so don’t be afraid of seeking help outside your office. 

Reach out to colleagues or anyone you know that can give you valuable insight about your learning curve. It doesn’t matter if they’re not related to your career, you surely could use the advice from any others who’ve made a career change or started a new role; any tip or words of encouragement will be helpful when it comes to overcoming obstacles.

Be open to feedback

Being open to feedback will require you to be open-minded to others’ opinions. Remember that you’re building something for yourself, and it doesn’t need to be perfect from the beginning. 

Mistakes are part of your learning process and experience curve, so instead of seeing feedback as an accusation, approach it as an opportunity to be proactive. The same goes for any other advice or opinion you receive. Use anything you receive to improve your action plan.

Recognize your wins 

It doesn’t matter how big or small your achievements are, make sure to recognize and congratulate yourself for each of them. Imposter syndrome is a real threat, especially when you’re performing new functions, but the fact that you have to learn new skills doesn’t mean you’re not qualified to fill your new role.

There are stages of the learning curve where your progress will be slower than you want it to be, but focusing on the tasks you’re accomplishing, regardless of size, will help you stay resilient and motivated to improve your progress and keep up your momentum. Remember that every win is a confidence boost to keep striving for your goals. 

Maintain your attitude and efforts

Putting in your best effort means no regrets at the end of the day. It will also reflect a positive impression on the people around you. This tip is all about your attitude. Although it may be something often taken for granted, it’s important to remind yourself, especially during the hard times, that you have to go all in and truly commit to reaching the desired outcome -whatever it takes. 

Look for support in your company

Keep in mind that when you fill a new role, you’re joining a team who’s had more time in the game; this means your superiors and co-workers may have the solution to problems you’re struggling with. Instead of being intimidated by their experience, stay close to them and ask for their mentorship, especially if you aim to grow within the company. 

Knowing that a group of people backing you up will reduce the pressure on your shoulders, so make sure to become a team player and stay sharp on all the tricks you can learn. 

Regardless of your progress pace, pay attention to how your learning curve evolves and analyze any changes you can introduce to make reaching your goals more achievable. Use any insight to know yourself better, identify your process and time adapting, and gain confidence in your abilities. Take one step at a time and remember, everybody starts somewhere.

Contributed by Luis Arellano

The Key to Find Top Talent
Workforce Trends: Closing the Skills Gap
3 Facts on How COVID-19 Changed Recruitment

Subscribe to our blog


By clicking Send you agree to the gpac privacy policy and Terms of Service and you authorize gpac to contact you regarding gpac’s services at any phone number or email you provide, including via text message using an automated dialing system and/or artificial or prerecorded message.