Training vs Performance Issues

Training vs Performance Issues

When faced with a performance issue where an employee is not doing something correctly or efficiently, many organizations assume he or she needs more training.  However, often times sending the individual back for additional training is not the appropriate solution and could be more problematic. 

Although it may seem to be the easy fix, it can have significant cost associated with it such as time away from production area and possible decreased in confidence and motivation of the employee.  Moreover, it probably does not fix the problem.


Training is one option for Performance Solutions

Training issues are only one small part of the larger performance issues.  Training solutions primarily address an employee’s lack of knowledge and skills.  If the individual is not lacking either of those, then it is more likely another performance issue.  Performance issues also include motivation, self-confidence, attitude, resources, and ineffective processes.  Some of those are resolved via coaching and mentoring, while others may need leadership to change processes or add resources. 


If it is not a training issue, then training will not solve the performance problem, no matter how good or extensive the training solution may be.  By forcing training as a solution, training will appear ineffective as a whole, and leadership may not select training for future issues when training would be a perfect solution.  

Performance Need Analysis

The thought that training can solve any and all behavioral or productivity issues can lead an organization’s failure.  Organizations should take the time to conduct a Performance Needs Analysis and not just assume training is the solution.  A Performance Need Analysis will determine what the root cause is and how to best address that cause.  It opens the possible solutions to include changing work processes, rewarding employees, or buying new equipment. 

Since performance is dynamic with vast amounts of competing factors, the number of issues, contributing factors, and causes of performance issues can be significant.  An effective Performance Need Analysis conducted early on in the process can identify a possible solution and correct the problem quicker. 


Training vs Performance Issues


Possible Solution

They are doing part of the task incorrectly

Coaching and feedback

They forget some of the steps in the process

Provide a Job aid

The process is too complicated or cumbersome

Simplify the process

They are not motivated to accomplish the task


They don’t understand why they have to do it

Explain the reasons and benefits

They perform the task slowly

Coaching and feedback

The equipment does not work effectively

Purchase or fix equipment

They are resistant to change

Coaching and change management

They do not have the correct resources

Provide resources




By taking the time to identify the real root cause of performance issues, you will be focusing on the best solution to correct the problem.  The organization will save time and energy, and end up with the most effective solution.  Additionally, when used properly, the training department and its programs will develop a reputation for being an effective resource for improving employee performance where there is a lack of knowledge or skill. 


Additional Links

Developing a Training Program

Performance Needs Analysis versus Training Needs Analysis

Autonomy Improves Performance

Performance Management Cycle

Employee Performance Goals


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