Performance Support Tools (PSTs)

One of the most important measures you can take to increase overall operational performance is to provide easily accessible Performance Support Tools. PST's come in a variety of formats and may include graphics, videos, and reference materials. The most popular and useful formats for PSTs is the visual job aid or Quick Reference Card. These QRC's present the step-by-step detailed description for each critical procedure included in the Work Instruction or Standard Operating Procedure.

While it is important to have well written SOPs and Work Instruction accompanied by well-designed training program, " ... you need to remember that most people will forget up to 70% of information within hours of indicating that they did "Read & Understand" the SOP. Therefore, the only way to guarantee an employee can consistently implement the SOP is to provide PSTs that give quick access to the right information, at the right time, in the right format. This is most effective when the information is targeted to the critical, dangerous, and/or costly tasks, thus reducing risk of error and audit citation.

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What Is Performance Support and Why Should You Use Performance Support Tools

Most trainers familiar with the "Forgetting Curve" ( Herman Ebbinghaus, a German Psychologist) know that we forget up to 80% of all information we learned within 30 days. If you couple that with the typical 70-20-10 rule for how people learn, which reflect 70% on-the-job experiences, 20% working with others, and 10% formal training programs, we quickly realize that training alone is insufficient to produce consistent quality production. The emphasis must be on providing the employee with the necessary content at the time of task execution to improve performance of a regular basis.

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What Are Performance Support Tools (PSTs) And How Can They Be Used?

Electronic Performance Support can be used in a number of ways.

  • Starting at the beginning of introducing a new process you should always take the time to write a well-structured SOP , including the purpose, scope, responsibilities, terms, references, and procedure.
  • Where applicable, a Work Instruction can help by identifying all procedures with step-action tables and detailed descriptions including images, tables, related PDF’s, and links to other important references.
  • Training needs to develop to ensure the proper understanding of the work task and provide training materials  for both group-based instruction and online individual learning.
  • To help with effective implementation of the processes and procedure, Quick Reference Cards, Checklist and Related Fact Sheet need to be readily available for performance support.
  • Task Qualification is the final component of a well-developed performance support plan. The supervisor needs to be able to observer the employee performing the essential tasks for a given process and record successful task qualifications in a written form. These Task Qualification reports will increase quality and reduce risk of audit citations and fines.

What are the key functions of Performance Support Tools (PSTs)

Performance Support Tools (PSTs) can support a number of key goals to help implement consistent and compliant production workflows, as part of a performance support system, including:

  • Performance: The main impact for using PSTs is to aid an employee before, during and after the job task. The actual form of the performance support can be tools, illustrative solution, software systems, job performance aids, procedure checklist and task assessments.
  • Learning and Training: The learning function can be dramatically improved with the use of Performance Support Tools when rolling out or continuing production with a new SOP. The learning and development team needs to focus on continuous learning, specific job-related training, and structure experiences using performance support materials.
  • Impact & Challenges: By using performance support tools in as easy to access multiple format aids, specific process challenges can be address in real time to make a fundamental impact on the implementation process. By identifying key factors and embedding access to the job aids in the complex tasks, the employees will perform better helping to reduce time on task and motivate higher quality results in job performance.

How Does the ExpressTrain Transformation Suite (with SOP Express) support PSTs

The ExpressTrain Transformation Suite is designed to provide performance support in a number of ways, Including:

  • Single-source Master: ExpressTrain helps the content author collect information into a single-source master document. This allows the subject matter expert to fully detail the Standard Operating Procedure into one location. Once the content is entered all subsequent forms of performance support outputs will be based on the approved content. Furthermore, ExpressTrain is designed to generate all the selected outputs in minutes.
  • Control Documents: ExpressTrain automatically generated the Control Document (SOP, Work Instruction, Policy, Process Map, or Protocol) into a company standard output template with appropriate associated Header/Footer, version, effective date, author, and revision history table so the company always has consistent, concurrent, and compliant reports.
  • Document Management: ExpressTrain comes with a SharePoint Connector to automatically publish the control document into a SharePoint Library. Using document types and associated meta-data the SOP can be published into the review & approval workflow in SharePoint which records all document history records.
  • Task Qualification: ExpressTrain automatically generates a Task Qualification Standards for each SOP. This report is used by the Supervisors to observe employee performance and record successful task qualification and save the result in the employee HR record. This improves quality and reduce risk that the company will be cited for errors during audits related to employee formal training qualifications.
  • User Guides: ExpressTrain automatically generates an employee user guide for each SOP. This Guide can be used for on-boarding new employees or cross training internal resources.
  • Job Aids: ExpressTrain automatically generates job aids in the form of procedure Checklists and Quick Reference Cards. These represent a critical component to the performance support system and can be made available via searchable outline indexing on the employee workstation for instant access.
  • Training: ExpressTrain automatically generates learning and formal training materials in the form of PowerPoint slides, Leader/Participant Guides, as well as online web-based tutorials with accompanying quizzes.
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