October 2017
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How to Teach Employees Skills They Don't Know They Lack

Friday, September 29, 2017

U.S. companies spend billions of dollars a year on corporate learning, and many of these organizations assume that’s enough to ensure their employees have the knowledge and skills needed to be successful. Employees probably assume they are prepared, too. However, according to data from academia, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, retail, sports, and business service industries, workers are actually “unconsciously incompetent” in 20 to 40 percent of areas critical to their performance. This means employees don’t know they don’t know skills and information crucial to their success. Obviously, this poses some significant complications. How is a manager supposed to correct a competency gap no one is aware of? The first step is to get unconscious incompetence on the training docket. Organizations should prioritize training programs that empower learners to first admit what they don’t know. Too many training programs rely on static content, which many employees assume they already know. The one-size-fits-all approach of passing on information is ineffective at best and does not take into account the different skills, experiences, background, and abilities learners bring to the table. The best learning models are adaptive and evolve to fit each trainee’s individual needs with content that draws out and then addresses their particular struggles.

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