Build Change Readiness and Sustained Adoption with Performance Based Training

Posted by Paula Alsher on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 @ 12:23 PM

Target Readiness is an important element of the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) change management modelDon Harrison, developer of this highly respected implementation framework, lists four requirements for Targets to get to sustained change adoption, whether the individual is a leader, or at the front lines. These include having: Performance Based Training is the Cornerstone to Building Readiness for Change

  1. Information“What does this change mean to me?" What’s changing, and what is staying the same?
  2. Motivation “What makes this change better for me personally, compared to staying in the present?” Application of Reinforcements is the key to motivating from the present, to the desired future.
  3. Ability – “Will I have the skills and knowledge to do my job in the new way?”
  4. Confidence – “Will I be able to do what I need to do and meet the expectations my manager has for me?” People will be reluctant to try out new skills unless they are confident that they will be successful.

Knowledge alone isn’t enough, because knowledge has to be applied and integrated into the job of each and every person impacted by the change. That’s why Performance Based Training is the foundation for a best practice change Readiness plan, and a new service we are providing to our clients.

The High Cost of Poor Training

In order for training to be considered “successful,” all learners must be able to use the knowledge and skills they learned to perform their jobs at the level of performance the organization needs on day one. But remember: possessing knowledge is not the same as being able to apply it back on the job. Effective training assesses learners’ ability to use newly acquired knowledge in the performance of job tasks, not to assess mastery of subject matter. In other words, training should equip people to be fully competent rather than minimally qualified  {Tweet This} .

This is why you shouldn’t assume all training is alike. When training is designed and conducted as an afterthought, or when it doesn’t follow best practices, your organization pays a cost:

  • Time and money are wasted when people are taken away from their jobs for training, but come back without being ready to perform
  • Additional time and money are spent on costly “re-work” caused by trial and error back on the job
  • Resistance increases as people feel unprepared and become frustrated
  • Adoption is un-sustained when people use work arounds, rather than working in the “new way"
  • Planned financial and non-financial benefits of the change aren’t realized

So how do you ensure people leave training both competent and confident to perform their jobs?

Performance Based Training is Far More Effective: 4 Critical Steps

Performance Based Training is designed based on the specific skills and knowledge learners need to do their jobs. It provides ample practice opportunities, immediately followed by feedback on performance of those skills, so learners have the confidence they need to do their jobs.

There are four critical steps for developing a Performance Based Training curriculum:

  1. Define Competent Job Performance
    The first step is to define exactly what competent performance is. This enables the training to be built around performance objectives that describe what the learner must be able to do, the conditions under which the performance will occur, and the criteria for competent performance.
  2. Identify What Training Should Include
    The first question for training designers should be, “What does someone need to be able to do?” rather than, “What does someone need to know?” Knowledge items should be described as actions or performances (for example, recall the types, or interpret a diagram) instead of as content (such as safety precautions, billing, welding, etc.). The training needs to provide the knowledge or skills to take the learners from where they are now, to the point where they can practice the tasks they need to do on the job.
  3. Practice in the Context of Job Tasks
    A common mistake in training design is to allocate hours, days, or even weeks providing knowledge, and then massing the practice at the end. Learners are not given the opportunity to do anything but take notes and discuss content for large blocks of time. This emphasis on content apart from application is not only inefficient, it also increases the likelihood that much of the newly-learned knowledge is forgotten before practice begins.
    A better approach is to integrate the knowledge content with the task performance by presenting information—factual knowledge, procedures, errors to watch for, etc.—needed to perform a single task or sub-task, immediately followed by practical application of that information. Practice should be designed to replicate or simulate exactly what the learner will be required to do on the job.
  4. Assessment
    Traditional written tests measure the acquisition of knowledge, but not the real-world application of that knowledge. The ultimate test is if the learner can perform as needed on the job. Therefore, the most useful and valid test is to ensure there is a match between the requirements stated in the performance objective, and the learner’s demonstrated competence. Each learner should be asked to demonstrate competence in the performance called for in the objective.

When you are planning for your next change project, re-think how you will train. Providing best practice, Performance Based Training can make a real difference in preparing people and building true Change Readiness.

Performance Based Training is an opportunity for potential improvement in many change projects---and now we are adding custom training and design to our service offerings in the U.S., with consultants who deliver the same level of quality you have come to expect from IMA.

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Topics: Change Readiness