Using Performance Improvement to Drive Business Metrics

March 12, 2014

I recently attended Performance Development Group’s Performance Consulting Workshop, and found it full of valuable information. I work in a marketing role at PDG, but I thought the information I learned at this workshop would be helpful to our customers and others in the field. So here’s a taste of the insight I gained from the PDG performance consultants.

business_seminarmedDo businesses value “learning results?” No, businesses want business results. What’s the difference? Learning results show that the participant has learned the content. Business results demonstrate that the new knowledge actually impacts the business goals and objectives of the company. The goal of learning is not just to make people smarter; it’s to provide them with new skills and behaviors that drive success in the initiatives of the company. Using learning to improve business and help reach business goals is more important than ever before.

To gain “a seat at the table” and the ability to have input into developing business goals and decisions, Learning and Development departments need to show how their plans for workforce performance improvement impacts business goals. They need to identify metrics to assess changes in behavior, ways to link behaviors to measurable business outcomes.

Steps to Improve Performance

  1. Define the desired level of performance: use competency models, job descriptions, and metrics related to business goals.
  2. Determine the current level of performance: review data sources and personal experience of those on the job.
  3. Identify the factors impacting performance: analyze incentives, capabilities, motivation, and the availability of resources.
  4. Map the Gap. Identify the gap between the current state and the desired state, and analyze the causes of the performance gap.
  5. Architect a solution that will bridge the performance gap: learning does not exist in a vacuum; determine the methods that will address the specific performance gap you have identified. One size does not fit all!

Always start with the business metrics. Determine what the business is trying to achieve, identify the skills, behaviors and competencies that are likely to achieve those goals, and design learning interventions that address those skills, behaviors, and competencies. This approach allows you to create an evaluation strategy that demonstrates how learning initiatives drive business performance. When looking at improving performance it is necessary to focus on the business goals, objectives, and standards to determine the business need for the performance improvement.

This is a portion of what the workshop covered. The next steps are to go much deeper and look at the business goals and think through how you will get from the business goals to the performance goals. Check out our other blog articles on Performance Improvement. If you‘d like more information on running a Performance Consulting Workshop, contact us at info@performdev.com.


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Amanda Cushman Holm is the Sales and Marketing Specialist at Performance Development Group

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