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Thursday, August 20, 2009

What If We Turn Training Departments to Performance Management Department? Part 3

As promised i'm giving you the third part of a series on the subject matter. If you haven't seen part 1 and part 2, i suggest that you read them first.
Today, we're going to look at how more effectively a department in charge of training can design and implement a training plan if they are in charge of performance management first and foremost.

A department in charge of seeing to it that employees' performance improve, should have a gamut of strategies to capacitate people, formal classroom training will just be one of them. Unlike a training department in charge of training delivery, a performance management department will be accountable for seeing to it that training interventions lead to behavioral and hence performance change.

Let me now go into how I imagine a performance management department should go into addressing performance issues related to competency gaps.

First, they would look at a slew of tools and pick one or two that should address the competency gap most effectively and efficiently. They could choose from formal training, coaching by the superiors, mentoring, better work manuals or instructions, readings, etc. The limit is the performance manager's imagination.

If the solution is formal classroom training. The course design should take into consideration the behavioral attributes described in the competency profiles of the employees. It helps therefore, to have accurately and clearly described competency models for them to be useful in training design.

If training is outsourced, it would definitely help to show the training service providers the competencies being addressed and then require them to present an effective training strategy for closing the gaps.

Because the performance manager would be more interested in seeing training translate to performance, he should include in the program a reentry plan where training participants will engage in projects or activities that will require them to use and test their new-found skills.

In case you're asking what the employee's manager's role in all these, I'd say that if the company's performance management system is designed in such a way that the managers' performance reflect the collective performance of the team they manage, then they should play a huge role in all these. Everything that the performance management department does is aimed at helping the line managers manage their teams' performance better. None of it would matter if the line managers refuse to use any of them. Line managers and the performance management department must work in partnership to help employees achieve their full performance potentials.

Let me conclude this series by reiterating the point I've been trying to make. Companies mobilize and fund their training departments to run programs in the hope that it would lead to improved performance. Many training departments however have a myopic view of their responsibilities. They look at training and performance management as separate boxes. Sadly too, they see performance management as a box outside their own silo. So, is there really a need to change the name of training departments? Not really, but if that's what it would take to make it clear to everyone that without a solid connection between training and performance management, they are just trying to fill a leaking drum then, I'm all for it. That's my opinion.

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