Adding performance support to the trainer’s toolbox

The way that people work in any organisation is influenced by several factors. When I conduct a performance analysis I look at factors such as expectations, capacity, incentives, feedback, tools and skills.

If you put a group of people in a room and ask them to describe a performance problem at work and then to classify these, you will find that about 15% are due to a lack of skills & knowledge. I’ve seen this on several occasions and my own experience with workplace performance analysis bears it out as well.

Training is an effective instrument to address a lack of skills and knowledge, but not any other performance factors. That means that at best, training helps with less than 1/5 of an organisation’s human performance issues. On the other hand, performance support tools can be used to address a lack of information resources. By just adding performance support (non-instructional interventions) to a training designer’s toolbox, you are likely doubling your value to your organisation or your clients.

My own performance toolbox is a start to learn more, and here are some basic reference books I’ve used over the years:

One Response to “Adding performance support to the trainer’s toolbox”

  1. Dave F.

    Another tool, very handy for lending out, is Mager’s What Every Manager Should Know About Training. It’s especially helpful for a client who knows that “training” isn’t the solution for everything, but isn’t sure what else there is.

    Mager talks about performance improvement without using any HPT jargon, fitting it into the context of results at work. The book’s still about $25 U.S., and most people can read it inside of two hours. At the end, they’re likely to have a more productive view of what training can and can’t do… and what opportunities lie beyond.


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