Introducing On Target Work Skills

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Performance and training

Training that is on target aims to improve performance. Typically, there are three levels of performance.

Workforce performance is dependent on the performance of each workgroup. And workgroup performance is dependent on the performance of each individual.

Training that is on target shall develop each individual within the context of the workgroup and workforce performance needs.

Performance and targets

The workforce purpose, vision or mission are accomplished by performance of workgroups and individuals. Performance targets may be expressed as performance measures, key performance indicators (KPIs), work goals, growth or profit targets.

Performance and competency

Competency is the consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments This is the definition that is used by Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system.

Training that is on target shall develop competency that supports the consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required at work. Australia’s VET system gives an excellent platform for workforce development and training.

For some industry sectors it is essential to pay attention to .the VET system because of Industrial Awards governing wages and work conditions. This includes apprenticeships and traineeships.

Analysing performance problems

Performance targets may be missed for a variety of reasons. For example:

Expectations – does the individual or workgroup understand the performance targets?

Resources – does the individual or workgroup have sufficient resources and clarity about work prioritises?

Consequences – is the individual or workgroup rewarded for achieving performance targets?

Feedback – does the individual or workgroup know if they are achieving

Competence – does the individual have the knowledge and skills to achieve the performance targets?

Training is only required when an individual is lacking the knowledge and work skills to achieve the performance target. An analyses of performance problems may lead to two types of solutions:

  • Training solutions
  • Non-training solutions.

A training solution will not solve a performance problem unrelated to competency. Training is only a solution when the person lacks the knowledge or skills to perform the work.

Learning a new work skill requires the right attitude. The learner must want to learn it and must believe they can learn it. The development of workplace competency requires the learner to have commitment and confidence. As illustrated below, successful workplace learning is often 2/3 attitude and 1/3 knowledge and skills.

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Training that is on target recognises the need to help learners get the right attitude while developing the required knowledge and skills.

The On Target logo represents the need to deliver training that targets improved performance of the workforce, workgroup or individual.

Training can be a waste of time, effort and money if it hasn’t been aligned with performance needs, or if the performance problem is unrelated to a person’s knowledge or work skills.

Training that is on target shall only be delivered after the required knowledge and work skills have been identified. This is followed by training that targets the acquisition of knowledge and work skills, and coaching that targets the application of knowledge and work skills.

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Training – an activity that targets or facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and work skills. This may occur away from the workplace or at the workplace.

Coaching – an activity that targets or facilitates the application of knowledge and work skills in the workplace. This may include providing performance feedback, guidance, encouragement and motivation.

Assessing – an activity that determine if the person is consistently applying the knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required at work. This should involve gathering evidence to check if performance criteria or other workplace benchmarks are being meet.

Evaluation and training

Evaluation is the measurement of different aspects of training, for example:

  • Did they like it?
  • Did they learn it?
  • Do they use it?
  • Has performance improved?

Evaluating training shall ensure those involve are focus on the desired outcomes and performance targets.

Why invest in training?

Expenditure on training competes against all other expenditure items, and expenditure may be classed as essential or discretionary. All expenditure on training is discretionary except for compliance training.

Training that is on target shall justify a value for money proposition or a return on investment.

Who needs training?

New employees require induction and may require initial work skills training. Initial work skills training may be of short duration or may last for many years for apprentices and trainees.

Existing employees may require training when certain circumstances arise, for example:

  • Compliance
  • New technology
  • New plant and equipment
  • New policies and procedures
  • New roles and responsibilities
  • New work practices
  • Performance problems.

Do you need to improve performance in your workplace? Do you need assistance with your workforce development and training?

Contact now!

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Author: Alan Maguire

35+ years experience as a trainer, instructional designer, quality manager, project manager, program manager, RTO auditor, RTO manager and VET adviser.

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