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As per the books, the cognitive skills definition signifies the ability for learning, analyzing, evaluating, decision making an applying them as per job roles. Cognitive skill is considered by many to be inborn, wherein they are unique and exclusive to each human. On the other hand, all people are expected to culture and practice for cognitive development to reach the full potential of their job front.
Decoding the importance of cognitive skills in the job front
Even the jobs with manual labor require the workers to think. It is understandable that the perception of human differs from person to person. The power of handling a critical situation and devising the best possible approach for its solution is what makes the employee skilled and different from others. Many people mix up the concepts of employee development and cognitive development of workspace together. Here is how we decode it for you:
A. Employee development
All organizations profit from skillful and well-trained employees who work dedicatedly. The growth can take place either from a formal training schedule or from face to face interaction with a superior on the job front that stays in the long run for taking better career decisions in alignment with professional and personal objectives. With the rise of more sought out competitors in the race to organizational glory, employee development gradually takes up the critical status for retaining top talents and making them dexterous.
B. Cognitive skill development
All the employees who have strong cognition can solve a given problem quickly. They are able to handle challenging business tasks and perform beyond the norms of production goals without much supervision. Just from childhood, the foundational cognitive skills start to develop within an individual. Individual abilities like reasoning, problem-solving, imagining and remembering set in people’s learning habits. Another phenomenon of the cognition is that they decrease with age in adults due to a variety of causes like:
- Hormonal changes
- Development disorders
- Depression and many more.
So, many employers carry out cognitive skills test on not only the new but also on many existing employees to measure their problem-solving skills. Each result helps the managers to assess employee potential and later on take a decision based on the figures or patterns.
Importance of cognitive skill for career advancement
A lot of employees with commendable skills seek career advancement in two ways, either with their current employer or new opportunities. It is the employee development that showcases how an individual of an organization is advancing in the skill developmental programs. At the point when an individual’s ability to deliver within the current employment hits stagnancy, he or she will be moving to a new environment and take up new challenges in the path to learn new ways of the new job.
Here are the 10 cognitive skills activities that are important for proficient learning at work:
- Visual memory: The skill in encoding and recalling visual-spatial data
- Verbal memory: The efficiency in decoding or recalling language based data
- Abstract reasoning: The capability to decode non-lingual or non-verbal data like shapes, patterns and numbers.
- Verbal reasoning: The ability to process lingual or verbal information
- Flexible thinking: Adaptability to take criticism and feedback
- Working memory: The ability to process and work with multiple information at work
- Attention: The sustainable ability to focus for tasks that are not interesting
- Processing speed: The promptness to absorb and respond to a new data
- Visual motor speed: That analyses the speed of hands and eyes working simultaneously
How to improve cognitive skills? Some examples to work it out:
We all have come across the ‘employee form’ that is provided to us before appearing for an interview. It is on this form, the employers are most likely to look for primary or the necessary cognitive capabilities of the applicant. Here we present a partial list of the conventional and practiced skill sets that are prevalent in every organization for your reference:
- Absorbing the reading material: This calls for reading, processing and memorizing a data and applying it to a different situation.
- Inferring from patterns: Refers to identifying and solving a recurring issue within the company that takes place in pattern. Providing solutions to these can actually mean beneficial for the employer.
- Analyzing problems and evaluating available options: Standard problems require standard solutions, but choosing the most crucial one from an array of issues and thinking about their solution reflects the cognitive capabilities of one.
- Thinking out multiple solutions: An efficient employee is one who devices out various options while solving an issue. Brainstorming today is a necessary skill which accompanies the much-revered qualities of team building and creativity.
- Attention stability: Focus is often undervalued in an individual and everybody does not have. There are certain people who focus on the job at a given time while others are multi-taskers. It is the undivided attention that is evaluated by a company to gauge the efficiency of an employee when a critical task comes up.
- Observance: While thinking about increasing productivity, an employee, many a time, fails to observe the challenge and then accomplishes it with risk. This creates a lousy impression with the employers who eye quality along with quantity. Observance is the key to doing a job perfectly without any fault or areas of question.
There’s always a conflict though…
Employees who are fast learners, climb up the success ladder faster. Many organizations have high performing individuals which the employers fail to put in proper channels, thereby diminishing their capabilities. Also, there are other employees who are average and are placed for a similar position. It is one of the primary functions of an organization to place a fair approach in distributing the job roles to the fast and slow learner. Even an employment development program based on a one-size-fits-all approach fails miserably in this case.
How can you assess the employee competency and cognitive skill?
With the changing environment and the rising competition, companies have to keep the data on employee efficiency for both new and old. The transition from old ways to new can be made smooth by specific cognitive skill tests to gauge the employee competencies.
Before we wrap up, here are a few ways of conducting the skill tests:
- Making employees sit for a test based on the challenges they had faced in their existing or previous employers.
- Ask them to evaluate themselves. Sometimes, self-assessment can give a more transparent window to an employee’s competency.
- Get feedback from team members and managers who know an employee the best. They can comment on the nature of the employee’s handling responsibilities which the machine can’t.
- Make the assessment digital. Making the tests digital and conducting them on an online platform will give them the positive impression of the organization’s zeal to make him or her count as necessary. This step will make them feel confident and dedicated about their stature in the firm.
- Ask the clients. They will give you a clear picture of the representative employee who had been handling their queries adeptly. Sometimes a client feedback turns crucial when all other assessment channels become ineffective.