Performance support is not instructor led or e-learning. Performance support is all about providing easy access to knowledge and information that people need to execute their roles. Performance support delivers information at the point of need. Performance support must support traditional learning but neither is a substitute for the other.
The case for performance support is being made globally. The competitive and environmental stressors facing organisations are varied and expanding in size and impacts. As most other competitive advantages decline and blur, people and teams are still primary to sustainable growth and success. If you understand the competitive advantages that learning and development can delivery then you will also understand increasing the pace and pertinence of shared knowledge in an organisation results in benefit flows within and outside the organisation.
Some key realised benefits in our clients who are in the process of a performance support implementation:
- faster response times to client help enquiries.
- higher productivity levels of all client facing teams.
- greater cross-team sharing of best practices.
- emergence of thought leaders within the organisation.
- less resources committed to instructor led training and issues with retention of information.
To further distinguish performance support there are three characteristics of performance support:
- Information is available within a ‘workflow’ and available with a minimum of navigation.
- The information is directly relevant by being contextual to the work being performed by the individual.
- The user accesses enough information to get the task done without too much information or opportunity for distraction.
Performance support may be digital or analog. There are plenty of examples of paper ‘ready reckoners’ or ‘quick start’ guides that qualify as performance support in an analog format. Paper based content tends to be less easily accessible and searched. The most common place you will find analog performance support material is pinned to a cubicle wall.
Digital performance support takes many different forms in different media across many different delivery channels. In many cases the content is accessed from a computer, tablet or mobile phone from a platform of some type; for example MicrosoftSharepoint, in application contextual support, Google sites, Salesforce Libraries, deep links to an LMS, OneDrive, Dropbox,Box, among many others. We have worked with all of these tools as well as some more social style channels includingHootsuite, Yammer, Lync etc.
Performance support needs a change program to be successful. A learning culture must not only exist in the organisation but a shift to adopt performance support changes the way information is shared and sourced. Performance support demands a self serve, self reliant mind set removes any anxiety around finding the right information and applying it quickly. There are always those that prefer asking a question to solve a problem over sourcing an answer via search.
There are some key planning measures that are critical to success, among these are:
- Understand the different ways people learn and catering for this diversity.
- Ensure the means of accessing information is simple.
- Choose simple, easy to use technology platforms.
- Use search technology.
- Your content must be fit for purpose; fast to read and easy to comprehend.
- Performance support requires ongoing commitment and administration.