Training always comes first to mind as a solution to fix a problem. What executivMager analyzing performance problemses don’t realize is that training employees on “how to do something” is the last thing to do especially if there are more important problems to address first.

Furthermore, questions must be answered to determine if training is the best solution to improve employee performance or there are more cost effective solutions that will drive results.

In Robert Mager’s book Analyzing Performance Problems he first ask the questions:

  1. What is the performance discrepancy?
  2. Is it important?
  3. Is it a skill deficiency?

Too often we suggest training because we automatically assume there is a skill deficiency when we punish performance, reward non-peformance, or have certain obstacles that prevent our team from reaching the goal, all of which have nothing to do with improving employee skill sets or knowledge base.

If there is a skill deficiency because of a performance discrepancy the employee might simply need feedback on process or need to practice expected behaviors more often. Training experienced staff or salespeople who already knows what to do is simply a waste of time. Perhaps they need better feedback on the job or better process to arrive at the result faster.


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