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How to Calculate the Potential to Improve Performance

Posted by Marsha Weisleder on 9/15/14 4:00 AM
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To train or not to train…that’s the question. Every year, we spend billions of dollars on training in corporate North America, with no change in performance back on the job. So why are we training people? Sometimes management asks for it. Or maybe it’s the new flavor of the month and everyone is doing it. Or possibly we have to spend our budget dollars or we’ll lose them next year. Although we hate to admit it, I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of conducting training for some of these WRONG reasons.


Of course, the goal is to identify performance gaps, offer training if necessary, and show the organization that the benefits of the training far outweighed the costs. Everyone talks about ROI (return on investment), but few are actually conducting it. Some argue they can’t get their hands on the data or the training doesn’t tie to a measurable benefit. Clients also complain it can be difficult to identify the monetary benefits of training, and therefore, impossible to project the return on investment. So, how do we justify a program when we can’t calculate the monetary benefits? How do we justify the training?


Great news! We have a technique that addresses performance gaps AND justifies the cost of the session, without ROI. In our Training Needs Analysis workshop, we discuss the Potential for Improving Performance (also known as P.I.P.). P.I.P. is a calculation that allows you to determine whether you will be able to improve job performance enough to justify the cost of a training program. Here’s how it works: we compare the performance of our star performer to that of the average. If we find a significant difference between our star and the average, training is advisable.


Specifically, we collect data on the task being performed by the group. Let’s say it is the number of calls being answered by operators. We identify the star performer, Alex, who takes 200 calls. Next we determine the average for the entire group is 123 calls. We then divide the star (200) by the average (123). If the final number is 1.5 or greater, training is recommended. The final number shows if everyone was performing at the star’s level, the organization would realize a performance improvement of one and a half times the current level.


Although it seems obvious, many managers don’t do this. They tend to assume the average is the standard and the star performer is the exception. Most believe the star has some unique talent, when it may not be the case. I’ve heard that good coaches use this technique all the time. They don’t spend time with their superstars—they work with the average players to bring them closer to the star!


P.I.P. is fast and simple. What do you think? Are you willing to give it a try? Come to our Training Needs Analysis workshop and learn other techniques to identify performance gaps, improve performance, and prove your value!


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Marsha has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She went on to attend Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced civil litigation for a few years. While working for a company as their in-house legal counsel, Marsha fell into a training position and never looked back! Each day, Marsha brings passion and excitement to her workshops, always encouraging her participants to find their own passion as well. Outside of the classroom, Marsha loves to spend time with her family, travel, and stay active. Of course her main obsession is Elvis! Some people might think she’s a little over-the-top about him, but doesn’t everyone have an Elvis shrine in their home? Maybe not…

Tags: needs analysis, job performance

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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