Five tips to keep in mind when adopting a performance support strategy

A performance support strategy helps ensure that all employees are learning and progressing. This kind of focus can be a powerful tool in the right hands. That being said, the realities of today’s workplace — a multi-generational workforce accustomed to different learning pedagogies — can make it difficult to create a successful performance support strategy. The following five tips function as a checklist to make sure your company has all of the right elements to create a successful performance support strategy.

Build a Community of Practice

Encourage employees to learn together and practice new concepts. People are able to learn better when they can speak with others and see things from a different point of view. It’s expected that people will be stuck from time to time regarding new concepts, and encouraging a community of practice means that people won’t be scared to ask each other for help. While people may be accepting of communication in the beginning, it’s crucial to keep that energy alive and encourage people to keep talking to one another. Having this kind of active community can prove to be a very powerful tool for those that are trying to learn.

Link the Learning Process to the Information

Sometimes, people know what they are learning, but they don’t understand why they are learning it. When people don’t understand the purpose of the instruction, the learning can fall on deaf ears. It’s important to take a step back and explain why it’s important that employees master this new information. Let workers see the benefits of what they are doing and get them excited so that they want to do more. People retain information better when they are interested and engaged.

Choose the Right Performance Tools

There are too many companies that don’t take the necessary time to look at performance tools and see what the best fit is for them. Sure, the most common logic would be to get the tool that has the highest rating or lowest cost, but that doesn’t guarantee that the tool will be beneficial to your specific business. Many of the tools out there are designed with a particular industry or company size in mind, and people who aren’t in that audience won’t get as much out of it. The training leaders that sit down and look at the details of the performance tools can quickly discover that some tools offer more streamlined approaches geared toward their specific field. In fact, there is even a chance that a smaller, more tailored tool will be cheaper and have a bigger impact than one that was created for mainstream use.

Train Your Employees How to Use the Tool

Just because you pick a tool that is powerful and user-friendly, doesn’t mean that everyone on your team will know how to use it. Performance support strategy is meant to be used on the job, and that means that your employees need to know how to use the tools to get the information that they need. Few things are more frustrating than having a performance tool prevent you from getting the information you want. Be sure that employees are comfortable with the tool and that they know exactly where to go if they hit any snags during their learning process.

Track the Data

Lastly, track the data and see how everyone is doing. By looking at the facts and seeing where the sticking points are, a company is able to address them much earlier on. It’s too late to discover that employees were all unable to master a certain part of the training. Getting the right information and feedback ensures that everyone learns what they are expected and that no time is wasted in the following weeks trying to play catch up.

Jason Silberman is Marketing Director at WalkMe, an interactive online guidance system and engagement platform, which reduces training times and costs, while raising performance levels. He is the lead author and editor of Training Station, a blog devoted to news and ideas on training, learning and employee performance. He recently published a free eBook – "Express Train: How to Accelerate Employee Time to Competence"– with tips on overcoming some of the common challenges in employee training. Follow him at @tstationblog.