3 Ways to Support Employee Performance and Drive Business Goals


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How do you help your employees succeed as you introduce new processes and new software? The answer to this question is radically different than it was 10, or even 5, years ago. Discover three new ways to power your workforce and meet your organization’s goals.

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3 Ways to Support Employee Performance and Drive Business Goals

  1. 1. www.ancile.com3 Ways to Support Employee Performanceand Drive Business GoalsA global workforce, a talent pool that is aging, and an increasingly knowledge-based economy are driving a focus on maximizing employee performanceand productivity. Success is no longer just measured in how many widgets areproduced. Optimizing employee performance and productivity is about easilyfinding corporate knowledge, collaborating to share knowledge, and aligningcorporate learning with business goals.Workforce productivity – the amount of goods and services produced in a givenamount of time – fell in the first part of 2012. Are companies approaching thelimit of what they can expect from their current staff? HR and the learning anddevelopment (L&D) team play a key role in enabling performance on the joband helping to maintain productivity. But employees are struggling to maintainperformance given cutbacks, the resulting hit to employee engagement, and theoverwhelming flow of information.What’s the key to helping your employees succeed as you introduce newprocesses and new software? How do you ensure that your investments inorganizational learning are helping to drive your business goals? The answerto these questions is radically different than it was 10, or even 5, years ago.Today, it’s not about scheduling classrooms, identifying instructors, and arrangingemployee travel for training events. Nor can all the answers be found in self-pacedelearning and course catalogs hosted in a learning management system. Let’s lookat three simple ways to power your workforce and meet your organization’s goals. page 1
  2. 2. #1 Deliver learning nuggets in a learning campaignIt’s no secret that corporate learning has moved beyond instructor-led training(ILT) and a focus on the number of ‘butts in seats’. ILT still has a place when youneed to build common skills or ensure shared understanding, but is not the answerfor emergent needs or dynamic environments. What tools are taking its place,and how can you use these new tools and techniques to accelerate learning andremain competitive?Microlearning – the combination of interface and Internet access to deliver smallknowledge chunks – brings learning to employees, whenever and wherever. Andin a manner that meets the drive to consume content in smaller chunks. Theconcept of chunking learning content isn’t new, but new technologies and devicesmake it much easier to develop content in small bites and deliver these bites totablets and smartphones that are ideally suited for viewing this type of content. Instead of automaticallyIn Brain Rules1, John Medina presents research on the 10-minute attention span, thinking about a course orpositing “You must do something emotionally relevant at each 10-minute mark toregain attention.” Why not create learning chunks to meet the 10-minute (or less) a collection of procedures,rule? consider developingInstead of automatically thinking about a course or a collection of procedures, learning at a ‘micro’ levelconsider developing learning at a ‘micro’ level that requires a small amount of time that requires a smallto digest and is available on multiple devices. Content that is mobile-enabled –optimized and chunked for consumption from a smartphone or a tablet – can be amount of time to digestdigested anywhere and anytime. For workers frequently out of the office or those and is available on multiplenot tied to a job with a traditional computer this is a key benefit. For example,imagine you are rolling out a significant new feature in one of your software devices.products. With small learning chunks you can share key information and news toyour dispersed sales team. And all of us spend time waiting. Help your employeesuse wait time productively by making learning content portable.YouTube, Yammer, Tumblr, and Posterous are tools that can be used to deliverlearning chunks. These provide advantages over email because they do abetter job of retaining historical information and delivering information to a wideaudience.As you identify the learning chunks needed for your learning initiative or businessprocess communication, take a cue from the change management playbook andconsider sequencing these chunks into a campaign. If you are introducing a newfeature in your product, you might have learning nuggets that:• State key concepts or goals, like the customer pain point addressed by the new featurepage 2
  3. 3. • Highlight the value proposition with a 3-minute video delivered by the product manager• List the steps to access more detailed information• Deliver a short quiz to validate comprehension CommunicateAs you develop your microlearning, consider how you will sequence delivery ofthese learning nuggets. What’s the best timing and cadence to align with youroverall project goals? And how can you end your campaign with confidence thatemployees are well prepared?Your campaign can include small learning chunks, calls-to-action, and mini- Validate Trainassessments. Your goal should be to provide information and learning contentover the life of the project, in a sequence that parallels the overall project timeline.The ability to quickly create and disseminate small learning chunks also allowsyou the flexibility to share ‘breaking news’ and updates as they happen.Learning nuggets are particularly relevant for cloud applications. For these Updateapplications, changes and updates are potentially ongoing. You don’t hit a go-liveand then stop training (or only train again during an upgrade). How do ongoingupdates from your cloud application provider affect employees? Delivery oflearning nuggets – quick and easy to create – is a key way to highlight importantchanges.#2 Become a content curator for your employeesMicrolearning is an example of one tool to bring to your HR toolbox. However,new skillsets are another good add to the toolbox. HR – and L&D in particular– should look beyond developing training content and evaluate how to bestenable employees on the job with existing content. A key aspect of this is helpingemployees find the information they need.“It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure,” Clay Shirky 2 stated. If, in fact, wehave a lack of filtering because we have easy and cheap access to publishing –and fewer ‘publishers’ acting as gatekeepers – what role does HR and L&D play inhelping employees navigate and find nuggets of wisdom? Content curation toolsare an answer.Curating information – distilling the mass of information and funneling only the richand worthwhile bits to your employees – is a valuable skillset. And one that can befacilitated by a variety of tools. Many curation tools do the hard work of crawlingthe web, based on a topic or keyword(s) you define, and then compile the resultsinto a one-stop-shop.page 3
  4. 4. Think about how you might curate content for your customer service or sales teamby creating a channel specifically devoted to what customers, the media, andcompetitors are saying and writing about your products or services. Or, for your Sample Curation Tools 3consulting team members, you could create a weekly curated digest of industry • Scoop.it (free) and anews and thought leadership. Scoop.it on curation • CurataAlso consider how you might ‘teach employees to fish’ by providing an orientation • Paper.li (free)on tools such as Google Alerts. Then, employees can create tags and keywords • A comparison matrix ofpertinent to their specific interests and have news delivered to their Inbox. content curation tools from SocialCompareYou can’t expect to meet all learning needs. But you can strive to provide startingpoints and the tools to help employees help themselves.#3 Integrate performance support with theemployee’s jobPerformance support – help content joined to the work environment andembedded in the task/application – is an absolute key. This can be anything froma 5-step procedure posted next to the forklift ignition to an online work instructionto help an employee complete an expense report in SAP.Learning and performing need to come together at an employee’s desk to achievemaximum retention and reduce time to competency. Performance support isespecially key for those tasks which are done infrequently – there’s no way anemployee will commit to memory without repetition. For these ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ tasks, help content must be just a click away. You can save frustrationand minimize requests to the help desk (or over the cubicle wall) by putting theanswer at the click of a Help link in the application. Extra points if you offer youremployees options on the type of help content available – some might prefer aprintable work instruction, while others will leverage a ‘stay-on-top’ quick referencefor a refresher within the task. Watching a simulation is yet another option.Finally, establish a mechanism for coworkers to connect to drive ongoinginnovation and provide another support option. An obvious application of thisis connecting novice to expert. But you may also find that the ability to simplyshare information will help to uncover better ways of doing a task and streamlineyour processes. Collaborating around a single theme, like a sales prospect or acustomer support request, helps document key information and bring togetherdispersed team members. Consider tools that allow your employees to identifyexperts, provide feedback on learning content, and discuss the best practices for atask or process.page 4
  5. 5. Share Your Success to Drive Further SuccessIf you try out one or more of these three techniques, you’ll probably summarizethe results to your senior management. Remember to also report back to youremployees. Use and adoption of new techniques and tools can be a struggle. Ifyou are able to share the wins and the positive results, you’re one step closerto gaining additional participants. Success breeds success – by sharing what’sworking amongst team members, you increase awareness and drive employees tocheck out your offerings.Some of the positive metrics you might share with the entire organization include:• Number of hits to your help website vs number of calls to your help desk• Reduction in number of overall errors• Comparison of pre- and post-campaign results, such as increase in awareness of goals, greater confidence with a new application, and quicker time to market. Consider surveying your audience before and after a learning campaign so you can measure a change in knowledge or performance as a result of your campaign.• Stories of success – nothing resonates quite like a story. Solicit employee feedback on what tools and techniques worked or didn’t work. About ANCILE ANCILE Solutions is a provider of best-in-class learning and performance software solutions. We are dedicated solely to improving our customers’ workforce performance and productivity across the enterprise. Our ANCILE uPerform™, ANCILE uPerform™ Express, ANCILE uLearn™, and ANCILE Info Pak™ products are used globally by Fortune 500 companies, including half of the elite Fortune 100. Find out more at www.ancile.com.1 http://brainrules.net/2 http://lifehacker.com/5052851/information-overload-is-filter-failure-says-shirky3 www.scoop.it, http://curation.masternewmedia.org/, http://www.curata.com/, http://paper.li, http://socialcompare.com/en/comparison/curation-platforms-amplify-knowledge-plaza-storifypage 5 © 2012, ANCILE Solutions, Inc.™ All rights reserved. All product and company namesCopyrightreferenced herein are the registered or unregistered trademarks of their respective owners. v1.0 - 8/2012