Your employees don’t need new skills. They need to become skilful, writes Michael Gullan.
Most business leaders and HR professionals agree that business success depends on employee performance. It makes sense that developing your employees should be a strategic imperative. However, a shift from employee development to performance may be what your business––and your people need––to make it possible to reach your goals.
Michael Gullan, CEO of G&G Advocacy, an eLearning consultancy that partners with medium to large corporates, recommends focusing on the employee’s performance (in their workflow) as a key pillar of your development strategy. “The traditional development model that provides courses you think employees need is no longer relevant,” explains Gullan. “For adults to learn effectively in the workplace, they need more than knowledge acquisition. They need to apply their knowledge and enhance their performance. Only then will you get an ROI on your L&D and drive your business towards its goals.”
Gullan suggests this shift in focus to transform employees into the dream team business leaders need to survive and thrive:
1. Start differently
Traditional Most development programs start by asking key questions: What skills do my employees have, and what new skills do they need? Doing this may result in course and assessment completions which may infer that some knowledge was acquired.
New Start with understanding what your employees need to be able to do (perform) and then define what information is required to support their performance enhancements.
2. Focus on application
Traditional Address two types of learning: Upskilling (more knowledge) and Reskilling (new knowledge), and test how well employees complete and pass their assessments.
New A performance-first approach looks for when new knowledge will be applied, and these moments of application inform what new or more information is needed to support mastery.
3. Only crucial information
Traditional Can be lengthy, time-consuming, and costly, with very little focus on the moments of application.
New Only essential material that supports performance needs is included. This also supports adult learners who are distracted, busy, and under pressure to perform.
4. Enable learning while at work
Traditional Information is available at work to reskill and upskill employees.
New Enables real application within the workflow, which is the best time to apply new knowledge and fuel engagement. The workflow is where experiential learning thrives, knowledge is integrated, and success is immediately validated.
5. Ongoing performance measurement
Traditional Employee development is measured by course completion and assessment results.
New Performance-based eLearning can be measured with greater precision, such as:
- Increased employee adoption
- Increased performer confidence
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increased performance and time to successful performance
- Use of mission-critical assets or procedures
- Optimised workflow and productivity
- Decreased gap between low and star performers
There is much scientific evidence to prove that performance-based learning is effective beyond traditional fact-and-skill learning. “L&D teams and their eLearning partners need to get out of their own way and make the shift,” concluded Gullan. “Organisations need skilful employees, more than they need reskilled or upskilled people. Only skilful employees can move corporates toward their goals.”