PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS AND LEARNER OUTREACH MANAGER POSITION

Overview

Training and instructional design professionals often use disparate, individual processes to design performance solutions. While the processes are likely very similar, those designing the performance solutions are unable to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of their peers or from current trends, best practices, and processes that are well-documented in the workplace performance and learning realm. Developing and implementing performance solutions in this environment often results in performance improvement professionals· skipping steps of the design process. Many times designers jump straight into developing training ² and give no or decision matrix is all that is needed), but it is often the most expensive one. Using training as a band aid for problems without properly assessing the client·s needs and documenting the performance gap to be addressed can be a costly mistake and will likely result in little to no performance improvement. Another benefit of following the design process is that it requires that the business goal and the performance solution objectives ² as well as how they will be evaluated ² be explicitly stated in the beginning. Having a plan to measure a program·s success is critical to adapting the performance solution to learners· needs, feedback, and evaluation results. Being able to prove return on investment is also key to justifying the existence of the performance solution to business managers whose budgets are funding the work.
Steps in Performance Improvement Design

Assess Design Develop Implement Evaluate

regard to evaluation. Many times, training isn·t the best solution to the problem (sometimes a simple job aid

Recommendation: Performance Solutions and Learner Outreach Manager

Large contracts where there are (or there is potential for) many performance solution developers (trainers, instructional designers) should have a dedicated professional who understands the design process, the organizational realities, government and company resources, and the available intervention options. This individual must be in regular communication with the program or project manager, the client, the trainers/instructional designers, and other key players on the project and across the client·s organization. In this role, the individual would:

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Maintain awareness of the client·s potential need for performance solutions early in the planning process (as opposed to suddenly realizing the populace needs to be trained after the product is deployed) and assign instructional designers to work with client to analyze need and develop, implement, and evaluate the solution.

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Streamline the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation processes. Maintain a means of collaboration (community of interest) for designers to share thoughts/ideas/best practices.

y

Attend client community of interest gatherings (if available) to learn and share knowledge with others on team. Provide career path and development suggestions to others on the team.

y

Publish a knowledge bank for those assigned to the project, as well as for others within the company to draw from.

y

Make recommendations for types of specialties to hire onto the contract to meet client·s needs as well as how those specialists will be structured/utilized (instructional designers, trainers, graphic artists, developers, etc.).

y

Make selection recommendations for those hired to perform as part of the performance improvement team.

Benefits to the Client Planning for performance improvement support will ensure that the contractor company is able to ensure customers at all levels are aware of and able to successfully perform in the organization and/or use the new products or services developed (or currently in place). Designating a Performance Solutions and Learner Outreach Manager for the contract will benefit the client by:

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Allowing for efficient use of resources ² Instructional designers, trainers, graphic artists, developers should be interchangeable among projects on the contract. Managing their workloads and taking advantage of individuals· desire to expand their scope (trainers who want to develop online learning, etc.) will ensure the right people are in the right place at the right time. This will also ensure job satisfaction among team members.

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Serving as a ´reachbackµ to best practices and company assets (e.g. graphic artists or developers who are not specifically on the contract) which might benefit the client.

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Ensuring that potential performance improvement initiatives are identified early among the gamut of projects/programs under the contract and that if there is an issue pertaining to any of the programs requiring performance solutions, that it is identified early and planned for.

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Monitoring progress and evaluating effectiveness and return on investment of performance solutions. Collecting this data can also help program managers identify trends and potential growth areas for the contract.

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Providing consistent support. Having a readily available knowledge database and streamlined processes will ensure that products developed are professional, consistent, and effective. Providing consistent support will ´sellµ the company·s performance solutions model as designed.

Summary

Designating a Performance Solutions and Learner Outreach Manager position will ensure that on-site performance solutions developers are thriving in their work environment and are producing consistent, effective performance solutions. It will also provide tangible metrics to prove return on investment and will showcase the company·s performance solutions as a benchmark for others to emulate.

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