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Training vs performance support for your users

Blog: Professional advantage - BPM blog

In all of my work roles, for many years, I was a great believer in the maxim that ‘good training makes for good staff’. That’s not necessarily true. Good people make for good staff because they are mindful and committed, but even that is sometimes not enough. For many years in the hospitality trade, I thought I was right. I was always good with people, and hiring the right personalities was never a challenge for me. I took training seriously, and made sure we covered all the bases with our training schemes, and our practice scenarios.  We would roleplay situations and discuss what went well and what did not. What I didn’t realise was that in hospitality, performance support is there every moment of every shift; people coming and going, eating, drinking, causing problems. The skills we trained the team in were used every day, every shift, and the reinforcement that provided for the training we did was second to none.

This example speaks volumes to the differences between training, and performance support, and how sometimes they might seem interchangeable. Really, though, they are not and I want to share a couple of the reasons why.

Training  is what you or your team take time out from their day or work process to do. Your team sets aside 8 hours (maybe 16 or 24 if it is 2 or 3 days training), and attend a formal and structured training session. This is done in a class room or training room, with an instructor using generic training materials, likely to be supplied by the software vendor. It is suggested through research and testing that as much as 70% of this knowledge will be lost, forgotten, within 48 hours. If your team have lost 70% of their knowledge, that is affecting your productivity and your ROI. It is bad for users confidence and will certainly affect their ability to adopt your new system and work practices.

Performance Support  is used when you are applying a skill or talent you have been trained on or taught. The reality is this means that performance support is provided now, at your users moment of need, and it relates directly to the task or process that is being done. There is no searching for the answers in a knowledge base or some internal portal. The material is delivered to the user while they are at work, meaning they get the support they need within moments and are able to complete the task or process they are working within minutes. The skill they have practiced is reinforced for them, with a practical example from the environment they are working in. With this constant reinforcement provided to them at the moment they needed, rapid adoption of your new software system, and work practices. This is protecting your ROI, and ensuring you get the best out of your system, by providing the best support for your users.


You can read more about Professional Advantage and PerformancePlus here.

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