The Quest for Performance | Reaching the 70%

Welcome to our third installment of The Quest for Performance! This week, you’re hearing from our co-founder and CEO, Larry Mohl! Let’s get started! 

So far in this series, we’ve learned that training alone doesn’t improve performance. No matter how many classes your offer or how many hours of training your employees complete, there’s no guarantee that training will improve the bottom line, enhance productivity, or generate any other positive results. What’s missing is a way to catalyze adoption, to convert learners into doers. This third piece of the quest for performance may just be the most important for that reason. 

Traditional, classroom-based training only motivates about 15 percent of learners. These are go-getters, eager to try new approaches in the hope of improving their performance. The bottom 15 percent is unlikely ever to apply the information from training modules to their work. They are unwilling to change and, at their worst, have toxic effects on productivity and morale. The middle 70 percent, however, can be persuaded to put new learnings to use. These are employees who see the value of a new approach, but may not be comfortable getting started.

Activating this middle, persuadable, group is vital. The top 25 percent of workers generate an extra $2,000 in productivity per year, per employee, for their companies, according to a Harvard University study. Another report, this time by Gallup, showed that earnings per share are 147 percent higher than for companies with an engaged:disengaged employee ratio of 9:1, compared to their competitors. There are indirect benefits, too. Engaged workers have 24 to 59 percent less turnover, and an average of 17 percent higher productivity, 70 percent fewer safety incidents, and 41 percent less absenteeism than disengaged workers.

A disengaged worker, in contract, can cost a company up to 34 percent of his or her salary and lower earnings two percent below those of competitors’, according to Gallup. The indirect costs may be even greater, leading to a workforce that accepts “business as usual” as “good enough.” When this happens, companies lose the drive to innovate.

Inspiring the 70 percent to put their training into practice, therefore, has notable benefits. Activating this group requires more than great content. It requires a well-conceived, targeted, accessible, learning strategy.

There are 6 keys to catalyzing adoption:

  1. Make learning a journey. Breaking the myth that improvement occurs as a result of events only is important.  Real change happens when employees get into a cycle of learning, application, reflection, and feedback coaching, over time.
  2. Make learning dynamic, engaging, and on-demand. Employees value on-demand access to information through micro-learnings, podcasts, blogs, and other pithy approaches that deliver needed tools and information wherever employees are – whether that’s in the parking lot outside a client’s office, on the train, or at their homes or offices.
  3. Engage managers. To get the most from training, learners need the active support of their managers. For managers, that means understanding the employee learning journey and working to develop plans that help them put that learning to use in their day-to-day jobs. Inspiration drives adoption. Inspired employees are eager to apply what they’ve just learned.
  4. Provide transparent comparative progress data.  As employees embark on their learning journey they like to know how they are doing.  Providing progress data is important to inspire on-going engagement and achievement.  When employees can see how they are progressing compared to others a sense of healthy competition can emerge that propels everyone forward.
  5. Engage a community. Real learning and change is rarely a solo act.  When a community of peers, mentors, and experts gets engaged, group improvement can be achieved.  Activating the community involves providing prompts to ask questions, review each other’s work, appreciate and encourage others, and share stories.
  6. Drive business and personal KPIs. When employees can see that their improvement is having a measureable impact on both company and personal goals, they become more determined to follow through and give their best effort.

Activating the middle 70 percent has a huge payoff for organizations.  To learn more about tools that inspire learning and increase adoption, schedule a time to talk with us! 

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