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Why Performance-Support Matters

Supporting performance is a bottom-line necessity! Just as an individual must support his or her commitment with effective action, so too must a company. Performance support ensures your company’s capacity to deliver on its claims. It is integral to efficient process and promotes outstanding execution in the following ways:

  • Improves company responsiveness by helping employees to deliver better customer service.
  • Puts information at the hands of employees to help them to perform to their highest capabilities.
  • Gives employees more autonomy over their jobs, which is a reliable motivation booster.
  • Sustains employee competencies in a rapidly evolving business environment.
  • Reduces managerial load and improve support by systematizing activities.
  • Lowers voluntary turnover (improves talent retention) significantly, for those organizations with performance management tools[1] (of which performance support is a subset.)

What is a Performance Support Plan?

A common erroneous belief is that performance support promotes productivity; it does not. Those gains come from skills growth and from innovation (new technologies and/or new processes). What performance support does is sustain productivity. The truth, evident in all dimensions of life, is that bigger and stronger systems require stronger foundations. Any business that excels does so by aligning several important capabilities. One of those capabilities is efficient and reliable process. Success in that area rests on four general requirements:

  1. The company’s information must be up to date.
  2. The staff engaging the customer have the right skills and are able to perform them competently.
  3. The resources required to support the company’s commitments are readily accessible to those who need them, either internal or external customers.
  4. The company performs consistently and repeatedly, in all of the above dimensions.

Where to Start

Look to your customers for guidance. Wherever you touch them—website, call centre, self-service portal, face-to face sales—should be a focus for your performance support capabilities.

Recommended Approach

Despite its lack of glamour, performance support is critical to organizational success. However, too often, it suffers outright neglect, or becomes a set of mundane check marks. The beauty before you is that the performance plan is a sort of backstop to all other plans. What you define there you must support here, or vice-versa. That makes your performance support requirements an excellent ‘ground level approach’ to help you collect a myriad of important planning information. Explore all your customer touch points and what you should to do at each—from both customers’ and employees’ perspectives. Again, you may find yourself staring at a long list of needs that you cannot address fully, so remember to prioritize. See one of my Sigma-derived cheap and dirty methods here.

Tip: Think plumbing; stuff will break.

Consider Performance Support to be supportive plumbing counterpart to the broader vision and orchestration that takes place in Knowledge Support. Performance support is typically tactical in nature, and often requires a more hands-on approach to be effective.

■ Review of customer touch points and levels of support
■ Review of and support for post-training skills implementation
■ Review of and support for service delivery effectiveness
■ Assessment of technologies and utilization of tools for maximum application
■ Review of service delivery process