Social Performance Support: help your people help themselves

support-205187_640The recent trend in Performance Support has focused on L&D creating job aids and performance support resources for their people – frequently as a by-product of some online course or programme.

But what do people do when they encounter a performance problem in the workplace?

Well, most people EITHER Google their problem OR  ask a colleague or their online professional network for help in locating some online resource (e.g. a video or a written set of instructions) to help solve their problem.They then work through that resource AS they do their own task, after which they forget about it and simply get on with their job! In other words

  • They don’t need to take a test to find out if they know how to do it, they know they can do it because they complete their own task.
  • They don’t need to remember how to do the task, only where to find the resource again if they should need it. So they are likely to “bookmark” that resource, and also very likely to share it with someone else in their team (or wider network) if they have a similar problem.

What’s very clear is they don’t call on L&D for help with performance problems.  If they, do they will most likely be referred to an online course in the LMS or be booked on some future workshop. This is just not a timely or appropriate solution for their needs

But L&D can’t possibly create everything everyone will need to do their jobs – particular as very many performance problems are non-organisation specific. So how can they help their people support themselves and one another in solving performance problems. Here are 5 ways:

  1. They can help their people develop effective web search skills to find their own solutions quickly and easily. Power searching with Google is becoming an essential new skill – it’s not just about typing in a few words and clicking the resource that appears at the top of the list.
  2. They can help their people build a professional network of trusted internal and external colleagues who they can ask for help when they encounter problems.
  3. They can help their people validate the resources they find, and make judgements about their credibility and reliability  in the context of the problem they are trying to solve. In other words, it’s about helping them “quality control” what they  find; not doing it for them.
  4. They can help their people share what they find – in the most appropriate place where it can be quickly and easily located  in the flow of work (e.g. social intranet/social collaboration platform).
  5. They can help their people create their own job aids and share them too. After all many people jot down their own notes (ie simple text lists or screencasts) on how to carry out tasks and procedures, so if it’s useful for one person, it’s likely to be useful for many others. And by encouraging them to build on (ie develop and improve) each others resources they can build a useful knowledge base of team job aids and performance support resources.

In the new age of collaboration and knowledge sharing, it’s about helping people to become self-sufficient and support themselves – rather than just spoonfeeding them content. And this is best done by working more closely with work teams and groups to help them in the context of their own work – modelling the new skills and behaviours that they will need to thrive, not just mandating them.

So are you ready to help your people with social performance support?

If you’d like some help, then take a look at our consultancy services and range of online workshops which help to build these new skills in the networked workplace.

7 thoughts on “Social Performance Support: help your people help themselves

  1. Chet

    Great post Jane. I see L&D continuing to evolve towards enabling performance improvement, rather than simply providing formal training. A very positive step forward IMO.

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  3. Julian Staddon (@JulianStaddon)

    Hi Jane – Totally agree. A lot of the time it’s making sure that people can find those resources. So, refining search skills, creating sites that help people find things with some context too. L&D can do this and help provide some of the validation. I think the ‘getting people’ to share is one of the harder tasks here. But, hey that’s what makes it interesting to tackle.

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  5. tessello (@tessello)

    Fab article.

    There’s an interesting point of confluence with points 3 & 4. Validation and sharing can almost be figured as the same thing: it’s through the process of sharing with a community of peers – who can draw on a pool of experiences and practical insights – that solutions and resources can become validated for use and expansion/improvement.

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