Ironically, the learning professional's favorite new learning solution is less about learning. While traditional training methods focus on workers learning new skills, Performance Support is much more about getting the job done by making work easier, less error-prone, more efficient, and of higher quality. The outcomes of which directly impact not only L&D, but also many other departments in the organization such as business operations, sales, and customer service.
This begs the question: If performance support benefits so many different areas of the organization…why isn’t every company using it?
The answer is simple – it's just not on their radar. Ask a business person (outside of L&D) about performance support and you will most likely encounter a blank stare or a shrug or best case scenario they will know that it is a tool used in training.
By now, all of us in learning and development understand the game-changing capabilities of performance support, but how do we get much better at communicating this?
Is performance support a great tool for training? Yes.
Is it an incredible learning solution? Yes.
Does it work wonders for onboarding? Yes.
Do stakeholders and business operations care about any of that? Well, quite frankly, no.
Business operations care about revenues, KPI's, and bottom line business results. Therein lies the challenge for L&D – to tailor and build the case for performance support so that it speaks their language. To help you get started, we have identified 4 effective ways to approach business leaders and stakeholders when making the case for performance support:
1. Show them the money
Nothing is more effective than identifying with the "all hail" of business KPI's - increased revenues AKA "Show me the money"! Begin by providing insights into a business problem that results from a performance gap. For example, if you are talking to a sales leader, you could point out that if an individual sales agent is expected to make 1 sale for every 5 calls, but in fact only sells once in 10 calls or if they have an average sale price which they are meant to close on every deal but only reach it 9 out of 10 calls - these are gaps in performance. At the individual level, these gaps not likely critical, however, when the whole sales team is performing below expectations, that gap would certainly be felt on the business bottom line.
Now that you have their full attention, you can articulate how performance support systems are designed to bridge the performance gap by providing just-in-time process guidance and task automation to ensure that employees are able to complete business processes efficiently and accurately. In short, helping employees get the job done and business achieve their KPI.
2. Show them the errors of their way
Let’s look at another KPI - the cost of errors. This time, let's say that you are trying to enlighten upper management in operations or customer care. In this event, you could mention how a single agent issuing a credit under the wrong circumstances can be dealt with ad-hoc. However, when this same error occurs consistently throughout the organization, it can become very costly in terms of refunds/replacements. Alternatively, they should consider a critical error such as an order entered with the wrong code resulting in shipping the wrong product to a customer. The affect of this on customer satisfaction would be significant.
Now ask them to imagine the same scenario with performance support in place. The system immediately identifies the error in real-time, based on pre-defined rules. It alerts the user and then guides them through the correct task completion, preventing costly errors.
3. Show them how to keep compliance
If your organization is in banking, health, insurance, etc., then you know how critical compliance can be. These industries have policies and regulations that require the agent to ask very specific questions or provide important information. The questions and requests for information are usually updated in the protocol/call scripts that the agent uses during the call, but not always called out in the application itself. As these regulations are constantly changing, agents struggle to remain up to date and enter the required information into the system. When an employee follows the correct work process or policy correctly, there’s no problem. However, when there is a deviation, results can be critical especially in regulated industries.
Performance support systems can monitor and validate the data entry in critical fields or checkboxes. For example, if the agent enters the wrong information or forgets to enter/select a value (e.g. forgot to check a checkbox), a warning message pops up alerting the agent to make the correction.
4. Show them return on investment
Underperforming employees come at a significant cost to companies that have just spent large budgets on change management investments that are supposed to boost productivity and ROI. With performance support systems in place, employees can navigate through complex applications and processes quickly and error-free. Furthermore, 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 skill or knowledge to accomplish a task, they can "pull" the required information from the performance support system. There are even solutions, such as Leo, that can automate this process.
At the end of the day, companies that pair their change management process with performance support solutions can feel confident that their workforce will perform at the level they expect in order to achieve their business goals.
Getting performance support accepted by the business requires L&D professionals to leave our comfort zone, look at the larger picture, and become advocates for achieving business outcomes. If we are going to be successful, we need get a lot more involved in how we present the business case for performance support and the reasons that will persuade our stakeholders to get on board.
Kryon Systems helps organizations around the world to improve their business results by shortening or eliminating training, reducing users’ mistakes, increasing productivity and facilitating compliance with corporate policies and procedures. Kryon’s flagship solution, Leo, provides performance support to organizations. When using Leo, business managers can rest assured that their workforce performs at the level they expect, from the first time, every time.