In the conventional sense, Learning/Training and Performance Management were traditionally regarded as separate endeavors within a company. Learning/Training programs concentrated on developing the skills necessary for job roles, addressing compliance needs, and offering voluntary opportunities for employees to broaden their knowledge. On the other hand, Performance Management initiatives revolved around goal setting and formal evaluations of job task execution. A distinct division was drawn between these two areas, often with separate HR teams and occasionally even separate technology systems to support them.
However, there is a growing recognition that these initiatives are significantly more interrelated and have a profound impact on employee retention, advancement, and succession planning.
From the moment an individual is hired, their journey of assimilation and integration into their new company commences, often through training programs designed to familiarize them with their employer and the specific role they will be undertaking. Some organizations have found success in implementing company-wide onboarding experiences that offer a shared learning environment and content, irrespective of the employee’s role or seniority. These collective onboarding experiences play a crucial role in facilitating the integration of new hires into the company by fostering connections with other newcomers within the same cohort.
When focusing on individual new hires or employees who have been promoted, a valuable practice involves setting goals in the HR system, complete with 30, 60, 90-day milestones, and beyond. These goals help establish clear expectations for the employee’s first year in their new role. Many companies have a culture or requirement for managers to conduct formal check-ins with their new hires at the 30, 60, and 90-day marks. This approach’s success lies in its provision of regular touchpoints dedicated to the new hire’s progress. Leveraging the HR system for these formal check-ins creates a documented record of the employee’s onboarding journey.
Organizations are increasingly recognizing that these frequent touchpoints need not be limited to formal onboarding processes and can, when effectively utilized, accelerate employee performance improvement. Simultaneously, as the workforce landscape is dominated by Millennials seeking development and growth opportunities and Gen Z individuals entering the workforce, the traditional “no news is good news” approach, waiting until an annual formal performance review, is becoming obsolete. Conducting performance discussions only once a year can lead to performance gaps. By introducing more frequent or even on-the-go performance checkpoints, employees can receive real-time feedback.
Increased feedback opens up opportunities for more frequent interventions, including the recommendation of developmental activities to address performance gaps as soon as they arise. By aligning training opportunities with specific skills and competencies in the HR system, employees can be promptly assigned relevant training if performance conversations indicate skill or competency deficits. In some cases, HR systems can even make automatic training recommendations based on identified skill and competency gaps.
Regarding training methodologies, it’s important to acknowledge that we are in an era characterized by TikTok and Reels – where people are accustomed to receiving information in bite-sized snippets rather than lengthy articles and lectures. Short videos are instrumental in successful training initiatives. Consider taking an existing two-hour course and breaking it down into four or more modules, each accompanied by its own video, enabling learners to digest information in manageable segments.
Furthermore, we are in an age where individuals leverage search engines to curate their learning journeys. People are accustomed to having choices regarding where and how they learn, whether it’s through articles, videos, images, or other formats. The challenge in translating this concept to the workplace is that traditional Learning or Talent Management Suites often do not empower learners to take ownership of their learning experiences or offer the flexibility to learn at their preferred pace and style.
It’s essential to acknowledge that vendors are not indifferent to providing the flexibility and functionality outlined in this blog post. However, vendors typically develop products based on customer demand. While the trend of integrating learning and performance initiatives to manage talent is growing, it has not yet become the norm. As the demand for HR technology to support these integrated initiatives continues to rise, more vendors will likely develop and offer solutions to meet these evolving needs.