In enterprises that are implementing talent management and talent development strategies, including especially talent marketplace strategies, performance support offers several key advantages.

Are these important to you?

  • Reduced time to effective performance
  • Rapid response to change
  • Continuous improvement
  • Measureable business impact

Performance support’s value is that it accomplishes these benefits while reducing or eliminating the need to take people away from work for training, for updating, for coaching, and for responding to their questions.

In this article, I’m not going to dive into the details of how to build a performance support system. That is for another time and another place, and perhaps for another person within your organization. Instead, I’m going to outline, in as few words as possible, the business value of performance support that you, as an executive or decision-maker, should know about.

What performance support delivers

Performance support provides employees with the ability to work effectively every time, everywhere, including at the moment of change, by embedding the capability for adaptive response in the workflow. In ten seconds, with two clicks, employees can get information that they have been taught but have forgotten, or the guidance they need to cover situations they were never taught. Performance support excels at producing this accelerated learning.

Sustaining performance in a world of change

Performance support not only accelerates and reinforces learning, it sustains the performer in a world where change is constantly taking place. The most misunderstood moment of need is the moment of change, when the performer must immediately unlearn what was previously learned and immediately perform differently. That is a very difficult thing to do. The capability for adaptive response, embedded in the workflow, is the most critically needed resource in today’s world of continuous change. Performance support provides this resource.

Intentional orchestration

Organizations are flush with information, guidance, advice, assistance, lessons learned, and reference material, but it’s scattered everywhere. At the moment people need it, they don’t know where it is, or even that it’s there. They won’t or can’t take the time to find it. Instead, they may make their best guess or they may take someone else away from their work. Continuous improvement relies on the continuous availability on the job of accurate information and guidance.

Performance support intentionally orchestrates all those resources and delivers the right information at the moment of need, which may be any one of five cases:

  • When someone is learning how to do something new
  • When someone is expanding the breadth and depth of what they have learned
  • When someone needs to apply what they have learned (and perhaps forgotten)
  • When something goes wrong and someone has to solve a problem
  • When someone needs to change deeply ingrained skills or practices

What will your organization do?

Large organizations, those where employees perform judgment-based work as well as those that rely on adherence to detailed procedures, are incorporating performance support into their talent management and talent development. If you are concerned about ensuring excellent performance of employees when they encounter the five situations I’ve just outlined, and most especially the last one, the moment of change, look at performance support more closely for its measureable business impact.

(Editor’s Note: The eLearning Guild is hosting Performance Support Symposium 2015 in Austin, Texas June 10 – 12. The Performance Support Symposium offers you an opportunity to explore the strategies, practices, and technologies being used to deliver 21st-century performance support.)