The performance gap is the difference between current or actual performance, and the desired level of performance to be achieved. Form a human capital perspective, this performance gap is the different between an individuals current ability in a given role, and the performance you would like them to achieve in an ideal scenario.
All too often, this gap is identified and the immediate response to how to correct the gap is through a form of training. There is a range of available options that can be used to fill this gap, of which training is a very important one, but not the only, or necessarily ‘best’, solution.
Structured training fulfils a vitally important part of a workforce’s continued development. It provides the ability to individual to learn, pick up new knowledge and skills, and work towards increasing workplace performance. It may also lead to certification, which individuals can carry with them as they progress on their own career. A key element missing from the above is one which is much harder to train; attitude.
In many organisations, performance will be assessed using the KSA triangle; Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude. Depending on the type of performance gap that is found, training may not necessarily be the best solution for an individual’s future progression. Coaching or mentoring, including leadership development, may be much more suitable to address a particular attitudinal problem. Skills may be developed using on the job training, using a ‘buddy’ system to develop a particular skill regularly used but currently in deficit. Knowledge of certain areas could be developed through attending a conference, seminar, or workshop, or through additional reading.
Whilst it is unlikely to cause major headaches to be assigning training unnecessarily, it is worth organisations considering the performance gap they are aiming to address, and matching this up with the available options to cover this need. In a perfect world, this may even tie in to the individual employees own goals and motivations!
What is truly essential is that employers do a thorough job of analysing the performance gap. Assigning bulk training to hundreds, or even thousands, of end users, may help to tick certain regulatory requirements, or look good for your brands corporate social responsibility. You have to questions whether approaches like this really help to bridge the current learning gap your employees have. A detailed analysis will really help you to provide quality to your employees, ensuring you have a workforce who has the requisite Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes, to bring you success as an organisation.