4 essentials to better workplace memory

By PE Admin | Posts

Apr 11

Are you struggling with team members who just don’t remember their training?

Do you find some of your teams are performing better than others?

In this article, I am going to show you the 4 essential steps better memory and retention to help make your training more memorable, so that training sticks and is used in the workplace.

Studies have shown that after a training or learning session most people will generally forget up to 80% of what they have been taught within 24 – 48 hours.

people will generally forget up to 80% of what they have been taught within 24 – 48 hours.

This is quite alarming because it means on average that only as little as 20% will be remembered.

But it gets more challenging because each employee will take away a different 20%.

Why is this happening?

There are many reasons why people forget. However, there are some simple rules to follow to help people remember.

Generally people are more likely to remember things based on how it benefits them and we can look at this in 3 areas:

  • We remember things that are relevant to both of our personal and work lives; like the password to a computer or our work schedule for the week.
  • We remember things that are useful like information that supports our view on the world or, is helpful. Like how to use the coffee machine at work. And
  • We also remember information that has an emotional connection such as information that helps us stay happy, safe and secure. Like when to avoid asking the boss for help when you notice they are in a bad mood.

The 4 steps to memory & retention

So next time you are training remember these 4 simple steps and your team will remember more and achieve more consistent results.

Step 1. The first step is to discuss the relevance of what they are learning. you can do this by linking it to the business needs

Like improving efficiency or decreasing complaints

The second part of relevance is to identify the benefit to the employee. By answering the question 'What's In It For Me' (WIIFM). How will the learning help make their job easier, more enjoyable or less stressful.

An example may be

Complaints handling training = more confidence + knowing what to do

The second stage is to Repeat the essential information that each employee must know or do throughout the training session. However, repeating information verbally is not enough.

When you repeat the information you need to use a variety of methods to help your learners by engaging a range of their senses. You can use

  • Visuals - posters, images, video
  • Audio – Group Discussion, and Q&A
  • Reading/ Writing – manuals and how to guides
  • Kinaesthetic – through practice, role plays or demonstrations

Step 3 is to reinforce their learning in the workplace as soon as possible. This enables employees to practice their learning on the job which helps to build their understanding of how it applies to them.

  • Knowledge can be reinforced through pop quizzes, discussions in team meetings or asking how they may apply their learning in a relevant workplace scenario
  • Practical Skills can be reinforced by doing the tasks daily as part of their job and by teaching others.
  • Attitude and behaviour can be reinforced through one on one coaching and by getting feedback from others.

The final step is to review the impact of the training and how the employees have used it in the workplace.

Here we look back to the relevance; We need to Look at the desired outcome of the training (have you achieved your business goals).

The second part of the review is to ask how employees how they have used their learning and what benefits have they seen. Asking these questions will demonstrate to them the value and importance of what they have learned.

Best of all because most of the learning is happening in the workplace it means that you can do each of the 4 steps as part of your daily routine.

So there we have it, although we can’t stop people from forgetting we can help them to remember. Next time you are training use the 4 essential steps to improving workplace memory.

Do you like what you have read?  if so leave a comment below and tell us what you think. 


About the Author

I have been involved in Learning & Development for over 15 years in Australia, and the UK. Having worked with a range of public and private business in both private and public sector. I have seen a lot of what works and also a lot of what doesn't. I believe that with the right tools, guidance and support anyone can train better on the job.