Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
“I know we learned it, but I forgot” -S. Smith, new hire
“We ran out of time and the instructor said it was okay because that issue didn’t come up very often” -L. Johnson, new hire
“I was listening at the recent training session, but I didn’t think that part applied to me” -R. Kelly, employee at one year performance review
“You want me to learn new software? But I just got used to Windows XP.” -J. Dawson, veteran employee
At times, employee training can seem like mission impossible and yet the importance of company learning has never been greater. With fast-changing technologies, new necessary skill sets, and changing customer needs, having an engaged, knowledgeable and continuously learning workforce is more critical than ever to maximize performance and company success.
Learning managers are challenged with prioritizing training goals around the business needs of the enterprise, and ensuring that learning helps drive both individual and organizational productivity. This is an increasingly large responsibility as companies strive to meet increased global business challenges with greater focus on the bottom line. A recent study by learning solutions provider Skillsoft said that CEOs do see training as a necessity and not a luxury, but only if company training programs lead to faster, more effective results.
Performance support to the rescue
Whether onboarding new hires or training existing employees on new tasks and processes, the key questions that learning managers need to address are: How can they get workers “up to speed” and performing their duties quickly and successfully? How do we ensure continued success after the initial training ends? How do we best engage employees so that they remember the knowledge and skills learned during training sessions and are able to apply it once they are back at their desks?
This is truly where performance support systems come to the rescue.
Performance support in the classroom
Formal classroom training is still a vital part of most training programs, but now with a twist to improve effectiveness. Performance support systems supplement live training sessions by providing convenient, on-demand guidance. Using wizards to walk trainees through exercises, the instructor is able to “show” clear instructions faster. The performance support system also allows the learning to occur directly within the actual business application that the trainees will soon begin to use on the job, increasing familiarity and knowledge retention levels.
An additional benefit is the reduction in classroom time that is allowed by the performance support system and even the opportunity to cut out portions of training program altogether. Statistics show that performance support can dramatically reduce costs by shortening the amount of software training by up to 20%. When an employee lacks the know-how to accomplish a task, as can be the case when encountering a less frequent task or scenario not covered during the training sessions, they can easily access the information they need from the performance system. Solutions such as Leo Performance Support even take this one step further, in which case employees simply click a button and the task is automatically completed. In fact, Leo customers were able to reduce up to 50% of their on-board training programs by replacing infrequent topics with on-the-job, real-time Leo support.
Performance support on the job
The day after training ends is the day when employees put that knowledge to work. As mentioned in one of the scenarios above, the question is, “Do they remember it all?” The obvious and correct answer is no. People aren’t robots and simply can’t remember and/or understand 100 percent of everything that is learned even under the most ideal of circumstances. Undoubtedly, technology also has an enormous impact on today’s training, with ever-changing applications and processes requiring frequent new rollouts and thus frequent training sessions.
And so it is unsurprising that technology is also part of the solution. Performance support makes employees look like super employees as they navigate through complex applications and processes quickly, in real-time. Step-by-step guidance is provided through wizards without the need for expert level technical skills. The systems will even alert users when they have made an error and support them through the correct steps – or can even do it for them!