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Performance in any organisation is a complex issue that needs on-going attention. After all, performance is a barometer of the value of your brand to the customer and how your employees are contributing to this.

Many organisations offer programmes to develop employees, especially since skills development is a necessary compliance activity for most organisations through the annual Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) submissions.  However, many WSPs are not focused on overall organisational results or adding value through sustainable performance.  To improve performance a systemic approach is needed; one which uses a proven methodology to identify performance gaps and misalignments.

The approach I use to identify the factors influencing poor performance

The annual training needs analysis should focus on total performance needs – with skill and knowledge development being a sub-component of the whole process.  An approach that focuses on developing sustainable performance should uncover the factors either enhancing or inhibiting performance. It is vital to de-code performance issues and structure solutions that will improve performance results.

The approach that I have found the most useful in this regard is the Performance Improvement methodology (see below). This approach empowers organisations to identify the factors influencing poor performance and demotivation in their workforce. It helps you pinpoint the root causes and ensure the correct interventions are implemented to address the identified gaps as well. In addition, it helps you identify any external factors that may also be impacting performance. The methodology is a rigorous one which follows both a systemic and a systematic approach.

The performance improvement focused methodology


In any performance landscape there is the need to continuously analyse and audit performance before implementing sometimes irrelevant and costly activities. I have found this model absolutely essential in my work as a Performance Improvement Consultant. “Performance architecture which comprises evidence-based designs, plans, models, and tools integrating and aligning the workplace, work and worker to improve performance are critical”(Addison et al, Performance Architecture, 2009, p 2).

Target your training

When you assess your annual WSP or analyse your training needs use these questions as guide to see if you are on track.  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you need to switch your focus:

  • Do you think only about training when performance levels drop? (Think)
  • Do employees know and understand what their performance objectives are?
  • Do you know whether poor performance is skill or knowledge issue or something else but you don’t know?
  • Do you know where the skills and performance gaps are in the organisation?
  • Do you do training to “cover up” other performance issues?
  • Do you know the reasons and causes of poor performance? (Do)
  • Is the strategy and organisational objectives clear to all employees?
  • Do you know which activities and interventions will solve poor performance? (Commit)
  • Can you measure the training results? (Change)
  • Do you know what the return is on your training and development programmes?
  • Do you know whether the training programmes address specific performance gaps?

Here is a model (see below) that will give you a systemic process to plan for improved performance:


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Alternatively, for more information about the performance improvement focused methodology and how to apply this methodology within your organisation visit my website: or contact me directly:

Belia Nel
Tel:  +27 082 458 5851

If you would like to know more about what we do, please visit our website or connect with Belia Nel on LinkedIn.


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