Learning, development and training are not always the solution to performance improvement issues. A helpful rhyme for discovering if training is appropriate is Skill, Hill or Will.

If it is a matter of skills, knowledge, or abilities that the person lacks to perform at their best- then training or other development is appropriate. You can measure the deficit in knowledge or skill and provide ways for the person to get those skills and practice.

Are there external barriers in terms of information, resources, or incentives that are preventing a capable person from doing their job?

  • Information
    – Have you provided meaningful performance plans (EPAP’s) that set goals and expectations? EPAP Guide
    – Are you providing good feedback on performance in a timely manner?
  • Resources
    – Do they have space, time, and right equipment that is set up properly?
    – Is there an accommodation you need to provide?
  • Incentives-Are you encouraging good work or bad?
    – Are you nominating employees for NPS awards?
    – Does your award program match the needs and wants of the people you manage?
    – Bad performance can be rewarded through systems and culture. Address those issues not the person.
    – Are you encouraging processes or outcomes?- Explore the ROWE Model– Results Only Work Environment.

If the ability exists, but the desire is gone, then no amount of development will address the performance. This is a motivation issue. Dan Pink argues in this TED Talk that industrial age models of extrinsic motivation are not appropriate for the knowledge age. What does motivate us is Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

Additional Resources

Measure how well you develop others in this short online quiz that will help ensure you develop people effectively.

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