Harnessing SharePoint as a Performance Support Tool

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Harnessing SharePoint as a Performance Support Tool

With increased focus on ROI by Learning and Development teams and businesses seeking clear and demonstrable gains, the usage of performance support tools is finally gaining momentum. While not a replacement for formal training, PSTs are in fact a wonderful tool to boost employee performance. This blog will explain how SharePoint can be utilized as a performance support tool for maximum training impact.

What is a Performance Support Tool? 

First, let’s discuss what a performance support tool is not. PSTs are not meant to replace formal training but rather to complement it. To put it in perspective, formal training focuses on the learning required to do the work while a PST provides on-the-job support when it’s needed.

A performance support tool can be easily identified because,

1-     They are meant to provide support and guidance to employees when at work.

2-     They address a specific challenge

3-     They can be easily accessed by employees and are usually embedded directly into their workflow.

Typically an employee who must do a task that they are not familiar with will ask a fellow employee or manager. Or, view an online tutorial or go back to the original training to review again. This is a very tedious process. With a PST, that same info can be given via micro-learning while they’re on the job.

PSTs come in a variety of forms including interactive parallax based scrolling, mobile apps, complex branching scenarios, videos, interactive videos, whiteboard animation, kinetic text based animation, infographics, interactive PDFs, eBooks and flipbooks.

So, in review, here is how a PST differs from traditional training:

  • Learners usually require training when there is an identified gap of skills or knowledge that needs to be bridged or when something needs to be explained about a concept in detail. When it comes to Performance Support, learners need it on-the-job to make troubleshooting a snap and fix problems instantly.
  • Learners will be taking a fixed time off to take a formal training whereas with Performance Support, it’s more about getting access to the job aid whenever they need it while at work and there is no fixed time as such to go through a PST.
  • The goal of a formal training is to help learners acquire knowledge and new skills whereas PSTs are meant to help learners complete their tasks at hand.
  • With training, the learning is structured whereas learning happens incidentally with PSTs.

How to Harness SharePoint as a Performance Support Tool

Many businesses want to utilize PSTs in order to keep the momentum of a learning strategy going. It can be done – and, usually with the tools you already have. SharePoint is a prime example of a tool that you can use to develop performance support within a learning strategy. Whether it be new hire training or any other time when an employee needs to learn and apply a new concept on the job, SharePoint provides a lower cost way to do this.

To find the information they need, employees have for years been expected to search through endless articles in our knowledge repositories, wander through internal and external web sites, or dive down into an LMS to search through web-based courses. More and more organizations are realizing how this workflow is slowing down their businesses. With SharePoint, this can make the process easier.

Let’s take a look at two possible scenarios where SharePoint can be utilized as a PST.

Example #1 - Onboarding

Trying to get new employees acclimated into their new job and into your organization is always a challenge. How many times in your work career have you sat in hours of onboarding ‘training’ only to forget half of what you learned and can’t remember the important names of people that can help? It’s overwhelming to say the least. But, with the help of SharePoint, it doesn’t have to be.

If you have SharePoint, every employee has access to their own personal profile via active directory as well as a host of important documents and social tools.

Creating an HR portal for employees is a great first step for utilizing it as a PST so they can find what they need, when they need it. From the comfort of their computer, they can look up important new employee information.

In addition, crowd sourcing is a popular way to get the information you need as a new employee. Social tools available by SharePoint make it a natural fit. Communities in SharePoint provides the opportunity for employees to share their expertise and seek help from others. Community sites also contain a history of all posts and replies to make it easy for the learner to find the answer to a question.

Another great feature is badges. An employee can be given a badge for their profile that says “new hire buddy” or “peer mentor” to identify them as someone whom a new employee can go to for answers to their questions.

Peer mentoring is a natural way to make new employees feel connected during the onboarding process and SharePoint has a few ways to support peers teaching peers. Community badges are a good way to identify specific members of the team to show they are ‘experts.’ If there are questions, a new employee would easily be able to identify whom to go to.

New hires often don’t want to ask questions for fear of looking inadequate but with SharePoint portals, they can find everything they need right in one central place from policies and procedures to company news.

Example #2 – Learning on the job

With Office 365 and the ability to use SharePoint from mobile devices, employees can benefit from performance support tools. This works perfectly for teams that are out in the field, like sales.

Team sites are a great feature to utilize for specific on the job assistance. The sales team, can create a team site and upload all important information. For instance, if a team member needs a refresher on a particular product, they can easily go to the team site and lookup a product manual or short demo video.

Or, they can leave a message on the discussion board for their team and they can interact in real time to get their questions answered. There are numerous ways employees can use SharePoint Team sites as a PST tool from collaborating on files to creating task lists and communicating on discussion boards. 

SharePoint Performance Support Tools Benefit your Business 

Utilizing the software tools that you already have, like SharePoint, to support training initiatives can only be beneficial to your company.

Performance support tools,

  • Help learners learn and perform tasks independently, without them having to seek external help.
  • Help avoid wastage of time in terms of senior employees guiding lesser experienced employees.
  • Equip employees to complete their tasks in a shorter time and with the desired quality even if they don’t get access to formal training.
  • Simplify tasks for employees and help them understand complex tasks easily.
  • Familiarize learners to new systems or updates in their workflow/process.
  • They also have ample scope for integration of other innovative approaches such as gamification, social learning, story-based learning (storytorials), scenario-based learning, guided exploration, and so on.
Key Consideration:
SharePoint, Talent Development, Learning

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