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Human Performance Page

Why Human Performance?

Human Performance is both human behavior and the outputs of that behavior, which we call Job Accomplishments.


On the Lean Six Sigma Page, we advised that business processes were the most important focus after developing your business strategy. We stand by that. But if your new processes are in place, and performance is still lacking, the odds are that human performance is the root cause.  Neither Lean nor Six Sigma speak deeply enough to human performance and how to align it with the goals of the organization. Until you align behavior in your organization to your strategic goals, the best laid plans will fall astray. 

Human Performance most important for knowledge work

Lean Six Sigma was originally developed for repetitive, predictable production processes. But organizational success requires effectiveness at both routine and non-routine work, which we can call knowledge work. Only some of the elements of lean can be applied to knowledge work, and the methods neglect a number of aspects of human behavior. Human performance technology  fills in that gap. Examples of knowledge work include: 

  • Management or strategy formulation

  • Sales, Marketing, and negotiation

  • Software development

  • Product design 

  • Engineers and technicians

  • Service businesses (consulting, financial, legal, research, artistic, training, some customer service)

  • Any kind of non-routine problem solving or creativity. 


Knowledge workers are now estimated to outnumber all other sorts of workers by 4 to 1.


Enter the concepts and models of Human Performance Technology. All of the services that follow speak to how we change human behavior in organizations. 

Why Human Performance

Metrics & Feedback Design

Make your organization more responsive and adaptive

You want your organization to be data driven but you feel your current reporting is only giving you part of the picture. Where performance feedback is ineffective, you and your staff are forced to rely on expertise and past experience. But this sometimes means you fail to detect an event or a trend until it impacts your production, or your customers. 


You are not sure everyone knows how to use the reports they receive. This could be a training issue, should a good report not be clear enough, useful enough, that the user knows what it means and what actions it suggests, without extensive training?   

Performance feedback is how you, your staff, and your company get better in a complicated and ever changing environment. It allows performers at all levels to know how well they are doing, correct errors, and make important decisions. It is one of the most neglected aspects of human performance - "How am I doing?" 


What sorts of decisions should you be able to make with your reports? 

  • Sustaining - business as usual: the scheduling of work, the ordering of supplies, the evaluation of performance, etc. Good sustaining measures help achieve production goals through lean resource availability and motivation to job performers.

  • Corrective - the detection of errors as soon as possible after they occur (and before they affect your customer). Whether or not actions should be taken, and if so, what actions are indicated.

  • Innovative - specialized measures, such as process capability, line balance rate, process cycle efficiency, lean box scores, performance improvement potential, and other metrics used to 1) diagnose the overall health of a business process or human performance measure, 2) suggest what improvements might be required, and 3) track the improvements resulting from a project over time. 


Simple, repetitive decisions can be transferred to your software in the form of business rules, eliminating trivial tasks so your staff can concentrate on strategic issues.

Our Metrics and Feedback Design Service can solve issues in:  

  • Selecting the right metrics 

  • Measurement systems analysis 

  • Creating IT decision rules 

  • Report design and graphics

  • Mechanical feedback signals

  • Effective human performance feedback 

  • Decision making  ​​

"Performance measurement is the cornerstone of performance management. The maturity of your measurement system is a key part of your long term competitive advantage."  - Scott Ford

Metrics & Feedback Design

Incentive Solutions

Create a motivational environment for associates

Managers know employee motivation is important, but they don’t always know how to address it. Some managers assume motivation is present and leave it unconsidered. Some managers motivate through threat - do it or else. Some others may think of it as a complicated art, difficult to master. 


Let’s define motivation as employee discretionary effort.  It is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, beyond the minimum required. ALL jobs can benefit from motivation, but knowledge work generally has more opportunity for discretionary effort than repetitive work.


Examples of undesired behaviors that have a likely motivational component are employees that: 

  • do it their way, skip steps, or ignore the written standards

  • resist direction or create a negative environment

  • fail to adopt an implemented change in their own work 

  • unnecessarily compete with one another, hoarding information or expertise that could benefit the whole team and the organization

  • don’t maintain a customer focus 

  • achieve less in their work than their potential 

Incentive Solutions Deliverables

After consideration of process improvement, motivation countermeasures are good candidates for these sorts of problems. Incentive Solutions provides 2 main deliverables: 


Motivation Report

  • A precise description of the behaviors you want to change for an individual, job title, or work group.

  • An investigation of the environmental influences that conflict with the behavior you want or support the behavior you don’t want.

  • A recommended set of changes to the signals for desired behavior (clearer expectations, system prompts, priorities, and other signals to perform)

  • A recommended set of new or revised behavioral consequents for desired behavior (social and tangible reinforcers). 

Behavior Influence Plan

Now we need to put the learnings from the Motivation Report into action:

  • A precise description of the behavior goals, taken from the Motivation Report.

  • How you will track changes in the behavior you want to influence.

  • How progress towards the desired behavior will be rewarded.  

  • The schedule on which reinforcement will be delivered, by who, etc. 

  • The means to evaluate success in long lasting behavior change. 

Incentive Solutions

Performance-Based Training

Capture and transfer best practices to all associates

Your inexperienced or poor performers are probably lacking certain skills and knowledge that would help them be more effective in their jobs. The menu of training courses at your organization may be too generic to meet your needs. You could also send them to an industry conference, but this again is not job-specific. You would also like your new hires to reach the production, quality, or customer service skill levels of your experienced staff as quickly as possible. Maybe you’d like to cut this time in half, or perhaps even better. Best practices in jobs are discovered here and there, but they are not uniformly applied, and are often lost as staff leave, transfer, or are promoted.   

​​You have set your expectations for training too low

Performance-Based Training stands in stark contrast to what we call subject matter training. Subject matter training is much like a college course - general, conceptual information that is difficult to know exactly where and how to apply back on the job. Most training you will see - programs at industry conferences, vendor training, college courses, general corporate offerings, is subject matter training.  


In Performance-Based Training there is one and only one criteria for success: can the performer produce the job outputs to requirements, without supervision, by the end of the training? What would be the point of settling for less than this? Now, they may not be as fast as your best employees right after training, but that will come with experience, and they won't have to unlearn any bad habits. Good training creates mastery. Guided work experience provides fluency.  


Performance-Based Training deliverables

Training Charter

  • Validation of training as the appropriate solution to the performance gap.

  • Estimated economic return from performance-based training.

  • Training roles and commitments (decision maker, consultant, trainers, subject matter experts, materials developers). 

  • Means by which best practices will be determined.

Training Program Design

  • A clear definition of job outputs to be trained.  

  • What specific skills and knowledge are required to produce job outputs.

  • Training activities and sequence - job tasks to be trained, prep sessions, prerequisites, skill checks, etc.  

  • Based on exemplary performance, not average performance.

Job Performance Aids

  • Procedures that embody best practices, in an easy to follow format, that replace the need for memorization of complicated or infrequent tasks. Available to the performer while they are doing their job. They never forget, they never sleep, and they are always right.

  • Job aids can take many forms - display boards, paper procedures, references, decision tables, worksheets, online context-sensitive help systems, etc.

  • Because job aids capture the way work is done, their development often results in tactical process improvements as well as world-class training. 


Trainer's Guide & Instruction

  • Procedures for the trainer to follow before, during and after training (preparation, introduction, task demonstration, employee task practice, assessment, training administration).  

  • Trainers given hands on instruction in exemplary training techniques.

  • The means to track the development of training materials, and certification of trainees.

  • Tracking procedures.

Performance Based Training is the most efficient and effective way available to have new hires, or those making mistakes, performing like your best.

Performance Based Training
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