Workplace Training: Reinforcing Job Performance

Reinforcement is another important training strategy. As the person learns to do the task of a job successfully, ways to praise his or her good or improving performance can help the training process. For many people, feeling confident is a big part of learning to be successful worker.

To provide reinforcement, work place trainers will need to keep track of the new employee’s progress as he or she learns the job tasks. A task analysis can be used to gather information about progress. Is the person accomplishing one or more of the tasks? Are the tasks being done in the proper sequence or order? Reinforcement should only be given when the performance is improving or is meeting acceptable work standards.

Generally, reinforcement should be:

  • Provided as quickly as possible (sometimes immediately) when a person performs a task properly and on time.
  • Meaningful to the person’s actual performance. Do not give praise just to make the person feel better, especially if he or she is having difficulties with job tasks.

There are a number of ways to give effective reinforcement to a new employee. Reinforcement can be provided by:

  • Telling the person that he or she is doing a good job.
  • Providing rewards or benefits to the person such as increased work hours, more job responsibilities or recognition within the workplace.
  • Conducting a “performance review” with a supervisor or boss during which the person’s good work is noted.

Correcting mistakes in job performances is also an important part of training a new employee. Mistakes may occur in the performance of one or more tasks or in the order of which the tasks should be done. Mistakes may also occur in the way the person acts towards other co-workers or from failing to follow instructions about starting work on time, break time, etc.

Here a few suggestions in correcting mistakes in job tasks performance:

  • Watch the task performance carefully as part of the job process.
  • When a mistake is made, stop the person right away so that he or she knows exactly what the mistake was. When talking about the mistake, use a kind tone of voice so the person does not get upset. Also, make sure your body language does not show frustration or anger
  • Start at the beginning of the task sequence in which the mistake occurred so that the person can perform the task over.
  • Use the assistance strategies (such as verbal cues, gestures, demonstrations, etc.) that the person needs to do the task correctly.
  • Provide the person the chance to repeat the task – stopping him or her in the process if another mistake is made. The person may need the opportunity to repeat the task several times before learning to do it correctly.

Correcting mistakes about the way people act also requires respect and patience. Some individuals may have little or no prior work experience – so they will be learning about proper workplace conduct.

Another important training strategy is learning when to provide less assistance. As a new employee becomes more comfortable with his or her job, he or she should need less assistance. This means that workplace trainers need to learn to gradually reduce the amount of assistance given to the new employee. It will also mean letting the new employee learn to depend on cues that have been developed to complete tasks rather than upon the workplace trainer or a co-coworker.

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