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Employee retention perspectives: Cognitive approach to job training

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When teaching employees how to do their job it is important to remember that not everybody learns the same way. There two cognitive learning styles that must be considered when developing employee training programs.

First, there are people that will want to know all the steps, rules, restrictions, and resources up front. Others want to learn one aspect, process that aspect, then they are ready to learn another.

Literal and lateral thinking also complicates job training, as shown in this anecdote (click here).

At a third tier automotive supplier just outside of Detroit an employee was labeled as not being a team player. Like all management members he would sit at the weekly status meeting and hear the owner give out a list of successes from the prior week and receive a long to-do list for the coming week.

He easily remembered the first items on his list and accomplished them well.

But as the week progressed he would look at the task list and not remember what his hastily written notes meant. Too proud to go back to the owner, he would guess – often wrongly.

An employee assessment that measured 18 areas of his personality and his cognitive style revealed he was a strong team player. It also showed he had a cognitive style that preferred to receive new information followed by a brief period to process it.

Once the owner began providing instructions spread out across a greater time frame, the gentleman went from an individualist to one of the best tem players in a short time period.

Often an employee is missing some of the skill sets or knowledge to complete a task. They may simply need additional training to learn how to do the job. However it is possible they just need to be given the instructions on a more gradual timeline.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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