By Shirley J. Caruso, Ed.D.
When you wish to improve organizational performance or resolve a problem that has been observed or brought to the attention of members of an organization, a performance analysis is warranted.
When a performance analysis is carried out, the long term approach should be taken to make certain that the performance enhancement initiative connects with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. This ties each need with a metric to ensure that it actually does what it is intended to do. This is best accomplished by linking performance analysis needs with Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluations (Phillips, 2002):
- Business Needs are linked to Results or Impact (level 4)
- Job Performance Needs are linked to Behavior (level 3)
- Training Needs are linked to learning (level 2)
- Individual Needs are linked to Reaction (level 1)
The problem or performance initiative is investigated to determine how it supports the organization’s mission, vision, and/or goals. Solving a problem or improving a process is equal to or better than ROI (return on investment). Focusing strictly on ROI cause many organizations to focus only on conserving costs which could lead to a reduction in or elimination of the mainstay of a business. Working to enhance a process or performance that sustains an organization’s mission, vision, and/or goals is a tactic that can improve productivity bringing about measurable ROI.
Job Performance Needs
When analyzing job performance, the job’s processes, environment, and actual performance verses masterful performance need to be reviewed.
Some tools that should help are:
- Performance Gaps
- Analysis Information
- Jobs and Tasks
- Analysis Templates (RTF file)
- Various Approaches to Needs Analysis
- Mobile Tool for Performance Analysis designed by Brad Minor
After business needs and job performance needs have been evaluated, the processes and performances that need to be enhanced should be evident. The next step is to examine the findings to determine what performance interventions, if any, are needed (training and development, performance support, coaching, mentoring, etc.).
In this part of the analysis, you need to think beyond training to determine what kind of performance intervention will actually close or significantly narrow the performance gap.
As performance is examined for any needed interventions, determine what the performer needs to know in order for the performance intervention to be successful and how learning requirements will be evaluated. In addition, determine how learning requirements will be evaluated.
The Individual Needs Analysis is the identification of the target population. Individual needs delve deeper than training needs. This step ensures that the performance intervention is consistent with individual requirements.
The initiative behind a performance analysis is to review the system, recognize a need, assemble an evaluation (measurement instrument) that identifies the objective, choose the intervention, and then develop content and context that will close or significantly narrow the gap between the need and the objective.
Phillips, J. & and Phillips, P. “Reasons Why Training & Development Fails…and What You Can Do About It.” Training Magazine, September 2002 (pp. 78-85).