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The Manager's Pocket Guide to Performance Management

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Every company wants and needs productive, skilled employees. Investing in a work force that can help your business keep pace with the competition may be the most important strategic decision you make. The Manager's Pocket Guide to Performance Management clearly spells out the specific steps a manager can take to ensure improved performance organization-wide. It presents a systems approach to performance enhancement and includes tools for determining current performance levels and establishing desired performance levels. Learn how to analyze performance, pinpoint gaps in performance and determine what's causing them, develop practical strategies for maximizing performance, and get the most for your training dollars.

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A Systems Approrach

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A Systems Approach

The diagram below illustrates a systems approach to identifying and evaluating employee development needs and performance enhancement strategies. Organization's Mission,Core Program Goals, and Operational Requirements, Analyze EmployeePerformance, Identify Causes of Performance, Gaps Select Nontraining/Training Strategies to Close GapsEvaluateTrainingOutcomes

This systematic approach to training and development will ensure that workers do not undertake training for the sake of training (training for activity), but rather engage in worthwhile and useful training (training for impact).

The following paragraphs present an overview of each phase of the process.Mission, Core Program Goals, and Operational RequirementsInitially, an organization’s mission, core program goals, and operational requirements are reviewed to identify overall performance requirements and current agency-wide training priorities. The following describes the process of relating mission requirements to training in greater detail.  

Fostering a Learning Organization

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Fostering a Learning Organization

Some organizations conduct business with an “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude, until the day they learn that they have to make major changes in their organization if they are to continue to compete.

A learning organization is one that continually expands its ability to shape its future. For a modern knowledge-based, servicefocused business to survive and be successful, learning must be linked to the strategic goals of the organization. The organization’s goal is to make continual learning a way of organizational life in order to improve the performance of the organization as a total system.

The Learning Organization :An OverviewAccording to Peter Senge, a leading expert in the field of organizational management, the core of learning organization work is based upon five learning disciplines or continuous programs of study and practice. These “learning disciplines” are shown in the illustration below.
Personal
Mastery
Systems
Thinking
LearningOrganization  

Analyzing Employee Performance

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Analyzing Employee Performance

Managers have to know how to deal with employees who do not perform up to standards. The purpose of this section is to provide information on how to analyze employee performance and identify any gaps between desired and actual performance.

Performance analysis is the first step: identify current or future performance requirements; determine if current performance levels meet the identified requirements; and identify any gaps between desired and actual performance. The gap between desired and actual performance might be a potential training need.

Performance Analysis: Three StepsThe basic objective of performance analysis is to close the gap between optimum work performance levels and actual work performance. To analyze performance, follow these steps:

Step 1: Establish desired performance levels.••Identify expectations.Review performance indicators.
Step 2: Determine current performance levels.••Select measurement techniques.Collect data.
Step 3: Identify performance gaps.  

Identifying Causes of Performance Gaps

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Identifying Causes of Performance Gaps

After you have collected and analyzed performance data and concluded that there is a performance gap, the next step is to determine the most likely causes of the gap. It is important to determine the causes of performance gaps because solutions fail if they are selected to treat only visible symptoms, rather than the underlying causes. When you identify root causes of a problem, you are much more likely to significantly reduce or eliminate the problem.

Once you have identified why the performance gap exists, you will be able to determine whether non training or training strategies for closing the gap are appropriate.

Gap Analysis: Two StepsTo identify the causes of performance gaps, follow these steps:
Step 1: Determine the extent of the problem.••Identify the magnitude.Identify trends.
Step 2: Pinpoint the reasons for the gap.••Identify possible reasons for gaps. Select most likely reasons. The following pages explain each of the steps used to identify the causes of performance gaps.  

Selecting Nontraining and Training Strategies

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Selecting Non training and Training Strategies

You now know that you have a performance gap that is worth addressing. You also have identified the likely causes of the performance gap. The following pages describe the various strategies you can use for selecting either a non training or training method for closing the performance gaps

.Selecting Non training and Training Strategies
There are two types of strategies for enhancing employee performance: non training strategies and training strategies. It is important to match the type of strategy used to the causes of the gap in performance.

•If your causes are due to environmental or motivational factors, then you should review the section on selecting non training strategies.

•If your causes are due to skill/knowledge deficiencies, then you should review the section on selecting training strategies.

Selecting Non training Strategies
Non training strategies should be chosen when performance gaps are caused by deficiencies in the environment, flawed incentives, or lack of motivation. Here are some of the most common non training strategies:  

Managing Training Resources

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Managing Training Resources

Step 1: Weigh Costs and Benefits.

Once you have selected a training strategy, you should weigh the potential costs and benefits to make sure that the strategy is costeffective and meets the business case requirements for investing organizational or unit training resources, if this is necessary. You should be able to answer questions such as:

“What will the organization gain as a result of the training?”

“How much will training cost to obtain that gain?”

IDENTIFY POTENTIAL COSTS.

Prior to making a commitment to provide training, it is important that you fully understand the potential costs. Listed below are potential costs of providing training:

✓ Training attendance costs (salary, travel/per diem, etc.)

✓ Cost of replacing the individual while in training

✓ Training/tuition and material costs

✓ Training development costs (if new training is being developed)

✓ Other training implementation and follow-up costs

IDENTIFY POTENTIAL BENEFITS.

Next, you should balance training costs with the potential benefits to be gained. The chart on the following page summarizes the types of potential benefits that may result from the training.

 

Promoting Training Transfer

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Promoting Training Transfer

In a learning-organization environment, training by itself will not make a difference. You, as a manager, have more influence than the trainers do on the trainees’ application of learning on the job.

Promoting Training TransferThe primary barrier for transfer of training to occur is the absence of reinforcement on the job. The real work begins after the training ends. You will need to coach and motivate trainees after a training event by reminding them of goals and benefits and by recognizing and rewarding their efforts to apply new skills. You will also need to commit the time to make whatever changes are needed to support newly learned skills and behaviors.You must give consideration to things that happen before, during, and after a training event that contribute to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes and to their application in your unit.The following pages describe what managers should do to help ensure training transfer.  

Evaluating Training Outcomes

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Evaluating Training Outcomes

Step 1: Determine the Value of Training.
Training that is linked to achieving specific performance-based objectives (as earlier identified) should help units within the organization achieve their operational objectives. Managers are under increasing pressure to demonstrate how the training investment related to the accomplishment of corporate goals and operational objectives. To do this, you must first assess if employees are using what they learned in training, and if they are, then measure how the training has affected individual and organizational performance.

MEASURE TRAINING TRANSFER.Measuring on-the-job application of training (training transfer) involves determining if employees are actually using what they learned and whether or not this is narrowing the performance gap.When measuring transfer, you are trying to determine if a person’s behavior has changed as a result of the training and if they are using the knowledge and skills from training on the job.  

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