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Organisational Learning Method – Scaffolding and Fading

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Do your employees lack confidence in carrying out a task? Or are looking to groom an employee with potential to take on higher responsibilities? Scaffolding and fading is a good way to do that. This means providing adjustable, temporary support for the employee that can be removed when no longer required.

For example in a hair-dressing salon, you want the employee who only washes hair to learn to dye a customer’s hair. This may require other experienced employees to provide guidance and support e.g. help to verify customers’ hair types, select of appropriate dyes and explain their side effects. When the employee is confident, the support can be removed.

It is important to assess if the employee is ready and able to take more responsibility for the task.

  1. Identify employee who shows potential to assume higher responsibility.
  2. Conduct a one-to-one interview to assess employee’s willingness and readiness to assume higher responsibility.
  3. Assign a task with stretched goals for employee.
  4. Provide assurance of support to facilitate accomplishment of task.
  5. Agree on plan and schedule of task execution with employee.
  6. Inform relevant staff about employee’s assigned task so that they can provide support.
  7. Monitor employee’s progress and provide feedback and encouragement to ensure task execution is on the right track.
  8. Confirm with employee if he is able to complete the task on time with less/no further help.
  9. Acknowledge employee’s contribution and affirm his ability to take on higher responsibility.

  1. Organisation / management
    • Ensure new employees are paired up with experienced workers.
    • Provide enough support e.g. tools, resources, information for ‘workplace trainers’ where needed.
  2. Workplace ‘trainer’
    • Be a mentor/coach to the employee.
    • Spend quality time to check employee’s progress in the initial period and reduce it as employee demonstrates confidence.
    • Do not remove the support too early (learning process may collapse) or too late (employee becomes overly dependent on trainer).
  3. Workplace ‘learner’
    • Be clear about the task and expectations.
    • Take initiative to seek help and be open to feedback and suggestions from mentor.
    • Maintain a “can-do” attitude.