DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a new assistant who is a recent college graduate. She is eager to do a good job and has a positive attitude, but she is messing up big-time. I give her clear instructions for her tasks, yet she keeps missing important details. When I point out her mistakes, she says she hears me, but so far, she continues to make the same errors.
I understand that working is different from going to class and applying knowledge to take a test, but she is in the real world now. I have been careful to explain each step of our process for the work that we do so that she can understand how and why we do certain things. I have written down the steps as well, but she consistently misses key steps in our process, costing us time and money.
How can I teach her better so that she can catch on? She’s a smart young woman, but her attention to detail is lacking. -- Pay Attention
DEAR PAY ATTENTION: If possible, write down all steps to the system that you want to be followed -- in even more detail. Encourage your employee to check off each step as she goes along so that she can begin to notice the cadence and level of detail at which she is expected to get her work done. Invite her to check in with you when she believes she has completed tasks so that you can double-check her work. Let her know this isn’t a punishment; it is a natural part of the onboarding process.
I practice a simple yet profound way of completing my work: Check. Double-check. Be clear. Be crystal clear. Translation: Check your work four times in detail to ensure that you haven’t missed anything. Encourage her to do that for even the simplest task. It will help her to learn to pay attention to detail.