How to Really Nail Software Training to Performance

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A common scenario to paint the picture: Mark has just completed 3 days of training on operating the CRM software in the telecommunications company he started working at a week ago. Mark’s manager Carol expects him to hit the ground running and begin showing results quickly, but is also aware of the often-quoted statistic that on average, people remember only 20% of what they learned during training sessions (even if the knowledge retention statistic is exaggerated, all studies agree that only a small percentage of knowledge attained during the initial training period is retained). Furthermore, even if Mark absorbed 50% of the information, he’s still liable to make a series of mistakes, and repeatedly ask for assistance, in the early period following the completion of the training sessions. Carol is therefore restrained about Mark’s initial progress, and is looking forward to the day when he will be fully comfortable and familiar to operating the CRM software effectively. Shortening the Gap Between Training and Performance Proficiency A central challenge of employee development is mending the gap between the knowledge attained during the initial training sessions for new employees and the moment reached at which such employees can perform their required tasks independently and proficiently.  Although employees learn a lot during training, once the initial process ends, much of the knowledge is lost and full competence is still far from achieved. In other words, how do we ensure training leaves a lasting impact on performance? How can we make training “stick”? What are some quick tips to keep training and performance linked together? 1. Answer the “What’s in it For Me” Question Keep the training directly relevant to specific processes that employees will be required to perform. Information that is too abstract or big picture will often fall on deaf ears, or at least go in one ear and out the other. Relevance is important. Put an emphasis on the ‘How’. How to do it is the best way to help your employees find relevance and value. Try to make it as simple as possible, but also make sure that you are specific. Details will help your employees understand better. So will practical examples and demonstrations. 2. Insist on Immediate Use of New Knowledge Provide an avenue for your employees to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned immediately after the training is over. You may need to make arrangements for this even before the training commences. Immediate application will help employees to value the knowledge they have received, and it will also make that knowledge more difficult to forget. Thus, the new knowledge and skills acquired will stick faster and help them to quickly improve their performance at work. An added advantage of this approach is that it enables easier monitoring for managers, to assess where improvement is still needed.

3. Use Performance Support Aids

Performance support applications are invaluable. For example, online guidance tools enable users to receive just-in-time assistance at the moment of need, in order to perform complex online actions. Utilizing performance support aids within the flow of work will enable employees to quickly master the skills learned during the initial training session through continuous practice. Want to know more? Ahead of DevLearn2014, we are going to be presenting a free webinar on software training, which will look at some of the common challenges facing those responsible for training employees on business software. We will present how technology can help overcome these challenges, ensuring that training can both be effective and leave a direct and lasting impact on employee performance. Join us live for a FREE WEBINAR on Wednesday October 22nd – 1pm ET/ 10am PT and Discover:
  • How to Transform Employee Training into an Engaging, Empowering and Personalized Experience
  • How to Ensure Training Leaves a Lasting Impact on Productivity and Performance
  • How to Effectively Provide Necessary Process Support at Moment of Need, so That They Can Successfully Perform Any Process
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Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog