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Seb Anthony

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Exercise to identify employee reading/writing skills?


I'm sure this is a problem many of you are familiar with.
We have problems with an employeee's reading & writing abilities. Which is unfortunate, as we are looking to develop him further. He has to write reports on technical breakdowns and recommendations. His practical skills are second to none; but he won't admit to having a problem, despite evidence to the contrary.

Anyone know of any exercises, evaluations or companies that could draw out the info, and help us to get him on the right road?
Nigel Richards

8 Responses

  1. Suggestion
    An educational psychologist can diagnose literacy problems including dyslexia. Universities and colleges frequently have dealings in this area and provide remedial help for adults as appropriate; it may be worth contacting the student study support unit at your local college or university. They will be able to talk you through the alternatives and refer you to a reliable source of testing and remedial help. Regarding his reluctance to acknowledge he has a problem, your insistence that he has a problem and you want to help will need to be greater than his insistence that he doesn’t have a problem and doesn’t want help. What does he say when shown examples of his technical reports which have errors?

  2. Agreement
    I agree with the previous advice that you will need to be more insistent with respect to the individual’s problem than he is. It is very embarassing for adults to face these needs and sometimes it’s necessary to give people a push.

    However, one thing you could do is contact your local LSC and see if they know someone who could do an organisational “skills for life” needs assessment, this would have the advantage of not being aimed at any specific individual and may draw out needs for other employees as well – and the good news is that the training support for those with identified needs is free of charge and can often be delivered in the workplace which can cut down on the embarassment factor.

    Hope that helps.

  3. the “will” or the “way”
    Hi Nigel
    Here I go playing “Devil’s Advocate” again…
    You say in your posting that “we are looking to develop him further.”
    What is HE looking for?
    Whilst I agree with every other comment made ASSUMING he wants development, it may be a case of remembering the old adage..
    “Never try to teach a pig to sing….it damages your credibility and upsets the pig”
    (no, I’m not suggesting he is a pig!)

  4. Referral
    I agree with all of the comments added to you’re question.
    I recently coached an individual for a number of months who had a mild form of Dyslexia. As Russell has asked does the individual want development/training/coaching? The individual I coached did in-deed want development, which was half the battle. First thing I asked him to do after realising his spelling, grammar and English was very poor, was to approach his GP about being tested for dyslexia, which he did, and it turned out he did have a form of dyslexia.
    His GP referred him to a free local group to help support him with his reading/writing etc.. this helped me enormously with his Coaching, and the work that we completed as part of his objectives. More importantly he also became much more confident and his literary skills developed.
    Just a suggestion, may be worthwhile asking you’re delegate/coachee to approach their GP in confidence.

    Good Luck
    (Please excuse my poor spelling/english, no joke intended)

  5. We can help
    Hi Nigel,

    Havun Training can provide an organisational “skills for life” needs assessment leading to ‘Individual Learning and Development plan. We have worked with number of small and large companies and signpost employees to appropriate learning resources and providers.

    Drop us a line [email protected]

  6. Give him direct feedback from someone senior then work on real s
    Dyslexia may be a red herring. Standards of literacy can be appalling even among graduates who should know better – eg poor punctuation, terrible sentence structure, sloppy spelling. When I coach people around this stuff, I find that lack of clarity about what you really want to convey is the most important deficit. The most common cause is that so many people have never had any input on what good writing actually is.
    The most powerful tool at your disposal is candid feedback from someone more senior about the career consequences of doing nothing. After that, my suggestion would be to find him a writing coach and then to work ‘live’ and in real detail on actual work-in-progress. That way he will be able to see immediate improvement.

  7. Try Workbase
    Back in the 1990s I used a company called Workbase to develop a range of numeracy, literacy and communications skill standards for a largely manual workforce. Individuals were assessed against the standard relevant to their job and if there were skills gaps, then training was arranged, either through Workbase itself or the local Adult Literacy Units. From memory, Workbase was based in North Londaon.


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