Friday, November 05, 2004

Tips to reduce ramp-up time

These tips for reducing the learning curve for new hires come from the Center for Effective Performance, based on the Criterion-Referenced Instruction (CRI) approach:

"1. Clarify the explicit expectations for performance for the position. What does a performer need to do, and how well is he expected to do it in terms of accuracy, speed, etc. These expectations often remain in managers’ heads and can vary from one executive to the next.

2. Identify the detailed best practices for performing each job task. At the same time, consider what barriers the new employee might confront in performing the task -- are there motivational or operational obstacles that might get in the way of desired performance?

3. Make certain training maps directly to desired job performance. New hires should spend approximately 75% of training time actually practicing all the critical tasks they will be asked to perform, and be able to demonstrate the ability to meet all performance criteria before training ends.

4. Have new employees practice the job tasks in the most likely situations they will face on the job. For example, a new call center employee would practice customer calls with an abrupt or unfriendly customer. A new sales person would practice negotiating with a difficult customer. In each case, the new employee receives immediate feedback and coaching until he or she can meet required performance levels during training."

The CRI approach is recommended by Dr. Seth Leibler, the CEO of CEP, because it's based on behavioral science and the way people learn, think, and remember. It also takes into account three factors needed for performance: "skills, motivation, and operational supports like tools, systems, and information."

CEP says that research shows skills alone aren't enough and for performance requirements to be met, all three components must be in place.

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