A few things set performance support apart from other training types: Accessible at the point/moment of need; embedded into the flow of work; and helps solve a specific problem
Training has come a long way, but there is always room for improvement. Many of the conversations with learning leaders of late have been focused not on courses or classrooms, but on performance. In other words, is the training actually helping the employee to deliver higher performance?
There is a niche within the learning world that is focused on tools and technology specifically designed to help people in this way—performance support. The methods and learning modalities can be intuitive and simple or highly complex, as these examples from Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence Awards program illustrate:
On one end of the spectrum, 7-Eleven uses binders with pictures and simple descriptions to help staff understand how to prepare fresh food the right way. At the other end of the spectrum, the tools can be highly complex and enabled by technology, such as the onboarding toolkits developed by Canadian Tire.
There are even extended enterprise applications. MTAB, an Indian manufacturing technology company, embeds QR codes in its products so users can scan the graphic to access electronic help manuals, videos, and resources at the point of need.
Sample Food Preparation Performance Support Video
Driving Performance for Employees and the Organization
Again, this discussion comes down to performance. Courses on ethics and company policies are necessary, but they are not set up to directly impact employee performance on the job. A few things set performance support apart from other training types:
- Accessible at the point/moment of need
- Embedded into the flow of work
- Helps solve a specific problem
If you’re wondering if your current learning can be counted as, or adapted into, performance support, I have a simple question for you: does it support improved performance? Maybe it’s overly simplistic, but considering the average company spends just 4% of its training budget on performance support (2015 Brandon Hall Group Training Study), I think it makes sense to stop and ask the question.
Here are how some companies are putting this into place and measuring the outcomes, courtesy of case studies from Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence Awards program:
- MetLife: average productivity and ticket size for business sold by sales associates supported by the company’s Global Partner Learning Solutions initiative are 20% higher than their historical, classroom-trained counterparts.
- KFC: the fast food chain has seen increased same-store sales and an average 10% higher customer satisfaction ratings after putting its new simplified performance support model into practice.
- MTAB: mentioned above for its QR code program, the company has been able to shorten billing times, reduce support costs, and improve productivity of service engineers by embedding the mobile-accessible codes into its product line.
As you can see, there is a profound impact to be had from this experience that is rarely used relative to other learning types (training in job skills, compliance, leadership development, etc.)
Does your company leverage performance support tools? If not, why?
—Ben Eubanks, HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group