5 ways to boost performance through learning

by | Jun 19, 2017 | Articles, Featured

This year’s Learning Benchmark Report, Unlocking Potential, presents our research around five key outcomes that both learning leaders and business leaders are looking to deliver. These outcomes are improving efficiency, fine-tuning processes, boosting performance, cultivating agility and influencing culture.

We have taken this approach in order to provide practical and pragmatic advice on how to positively influence each outcome. In our previous article, we looked at how to fine-tune business processes through learning.

This week, we look at how learning leaders can boost performance, using technology.

Why boosting performance is a key outcome for L&D

Performance improvement is both a key driver for L&D teams and an outcome that resonates for stakeholders and business leaders.

Our data confirms that learning leaders who benchmark are seeing performance improvement as a critical outcome of their work:

  • 96% want to improve organisational performance
  • 96% want to increase self-directed learning
  • 95% want to increase on the job productivity
  • 95% want to reduce time to competence
  • 91% want to improve external customer satisfaction
  • 78% want to facilitate new ways of working

There’s good reason to want these outcomes. Top Deck organisations (those in the top 10% on the Towards Maturity Index), report the following results:

  • Reduced time to competence by up to 15%
  • Increased productivity by 14%
  • Improved organisational revenue by 10%

However, achieving these performance-related outcomes remains a challenge. Whilst 62% of Top Deck learning leaders say they are hitting their goals related to productivity and performance outcomes, only 26% of the rest are achieving targets in this area.

In order to help organisations achieve the performance outcomes they are looking for, we share five high-level tactics used by the L&D teams achieving their goals when it comes to boosting performance.

1. Integrate learning and work

This year’s benchmark sees a 13% increase in the number of organisations seeking  to integrate learning into the flow of work (up from 80% in 2015 to 93% in 2016-17). Clearly, learning leaders understand that L&D is now so much more than simply course delivery. However, on average, only 50% agree that their approach to learning and development is shaped by models that support learning directly in the flow of work.

Organisations delivering improved performance are shaping their approach using models such as 70:20:10 (69% of achievers vs 46% of non-achievers).

If boosting performance is a priority, ensure you focus on integrating learning and work.

2. Ensure stakeholders recognise L&D alignment with wider organisational goals

There is a simple message here: show how your learning interventions will impact performance and your stakeholders will back you.

We know that L&D receives support and resources from business leaders when they see the ways that learning can impact their wider business performance goals. That’s what 80% of achievers do, versus 56% of non-achievers.

3. Building performance support at the point of need

Integrating learning and work requires us to be responsive, providing support when and where it is required.

That’s why performance achievers are almost twice as likely to report that learning initiatives are delivered in time to meet the needs of the business (71% vs 43% non-achievers) and half of them ensure staff have access to job aids online or via mobile devices (vs just 20% non-achievers).

4. Ensure digitally-enabled programme design supports learning transfer

We all know that knowledge and skills need to be applied on the job or they risk being forgotten. But not all of us are designing programmes to ensure knowledge transfer and application. That’s where we are missing a trick.

Achievers are including activities that help individuals to practice the desired outcomes, leading to improved performance (66% vs 41% non-achievers) whilst 39% use highly interactive methods, such as games and simulations, in their learning solutions (vs 18% non-achievers).

5. Evaluate progress and performance against business metrics

Finally, our performance achievers reveal that workplace performance is boosted when business leaders and learning leaders work together to improve common performance metrics, with 53% identifying specific business metrics/KPIs they want to improve through learning in partnership with senior management (vs 26% non-achievers).

As well as these great insights from top performing organisations it is also worth remembering that your learners are also motivated to do a better job and want to improve their own performance. Our research into learner preferences shows:

  • 69% are motivated by wanting to do their job better or faster
  • 57% are motivated by wanting to increase their productivity
  • 90% are clear how their job is helping the organisation to achieve its objectives
  • 83% are seeking out the opportunity to gain new skills in the workplace

By borrowing tips from top performing organisations and tapping into the motivations of your learners, you can deliver improved performance. When you break down performance goals you can start to see that small shifts in approach can have significant results.

Discover your keys to success by benchmarking

If you want to see how your L&D strategy compares and find out what actions you should be prioritising at the moment, benchmarking is the best place to start.

The Towards Maturity Benchmark reveals where you can make quick wins and gives you the data you need to make a solid business case for the future, with personalised feedback and scores on 19 areas of effective practice. Identify the tactics that will deliver greater impact for your organisation at: www.towardsmaturity.org/benchmark.

Compare your L&D strategy with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check

Compare your L&D strategy

Review your L&D strategy to discover your strengths and opportunities for improvement with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check.

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