Despite the fact that there are several definitions of Human Performance Technology (HPT), all the definitions acknowledge that it helps in solving problems and realizing opportunities. Therefore, HPT may be simply defined as the methods and processes that help in solving problems or realizing opportunities associated with the performance of people and/or organizations. It is vital for performance improvement practitioners to ensure that they provide their clients with the all the details of the HPT process while ensuring that no step is omitted. The major steps of the HPT process include performance analysis, cause analysis, intervention selection, intervention implementation and change, and evaluation (Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger, 2012).
Analysis and planning are vital in the success of any performance improvement initiatives. Nonetheless, actual changes in the performance take place due to intervention implementation and change. Various stakeholders may respond to changes differently depending on their role in the intervention. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that there is stakeholder analysis and involved during the changes. Lack of involvement, support, and attention to the stakeholders’ needs to ensure their satisfaction would make the changes be partially successful or even fail completely. Management involvement and support is crucial in the throughout the process. In addition, an organization should ensure that there are effective communication channels at various levels of the organization. This would help in addressing any stakeholder issues that may arise in a timely and effective manner. HPT practitioners should also ensure that they use successful intervention implementation variables by analyzing the characteristics of the intervention, organization, and interpersonal processes.
This paper will analyze the case on St Luke Lutheran Church and school as detailed Van Tiem, Moseley, and Dessinger (2012) and the HPT model used by a kayak’s company registration process as detailed by Burkett (2009). Analysis of the two cases would help in reviewing common methods of intervention implementation and change. The paper will also evaluate how various stakeholders responded or adapted to the intervention. This paper will also critically analyze the role of the HPT practitioner in ensuring that interventions are planned or implemented in ways that ensure that the desired results are achieved. The role of the change manager and practitioner in the case study will also be analyzed. The paper will focus on how the practitioners used their competencies.
Therefore, the major objectives of this research paper are to analyze critically the common methods used by HPT practitioners, to determine key competencies, and determine how practitioners may help stakeholders to adapt to the proposed solutions.
HPT practitioners should ensure that they tackle variables related to organizations, groups, and individual stakeholders. This is a very challenging undertaking. It is vital for the practitioner to ensure that the above-mentioned parties are adapting to changes for the intervention to achieve desired results. Inconsistencies between the practitioner and clients increase the risk of failure of change efforts.
In the St. Luke Lutheran Church and School case, the pastors and principal had an initial meeting with the consultant. The questions raised by the consultant and the answers and discussions of the church leaders helped in narrowing down the scope of the project. The church leaders claim that there has been a significant reduction in school enrolment and membership to the congregation. The consultant analyzed the information to determine the gaps of the organization. The consultant thereafter broke down the top performance gaps to provide information on the actions that organization should take, the rationale for taking the actions, the steps that the organization should take to achieve the action, and how each step would address a certain performance gap. The consultant ensured that the organizational team was involved during the selection process. Ensuring that there is stakeholder involvement from the beginning of the intervention made them have a sense of trust. The consultant used RSVP to break down the major business issues that the organization faced, recognize the interconnectedness of various solutions, focus on interventions that would improve organizational value, and work in partnership with members of the organization to improve performance (Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger, 2012).
On the other hand, the consultants in the kayak case first determined relevant information on lost revenue. They used focused on three business issues to determine the information. These include, the misinformed customers, the dissatisfied customers and the guides that did not turn up for tours or lessons. The consultants used Tom Gilbert’s PROBE model to determine the performance gap of the kayak company. They analyzed the information provided to provide the kayak company with several options that would help in tackling the performance gaps. These included the use of pure information database that would be free and accessible to all employees wherever they may be, use of google docs that would provide editing capabilities to managers and certain critical employees while ensuring other employees can only access read-only copies, and the installation of a new transaction processing system.
The kayak company was experiencing a loss of more than $4,000 due to lack of communication, cancelation of tours, customers going to the wrong locations, and processing of refunds. Use of Google Docs for communication and scheduling of the kayak company’s activities would provide the company with a free tool to improve its business outlook. It would also provide customers with certain vital services. Google docs would also improve communication between the company and its employees, which would improve employee satisfaction. It would also improve the management oversight and workflow of the organization by removing the need to use a hard-copy reservation book. Use of traditional HPT process for performance analysis enabled the consultants to show the effectiveness of their plan.
Common Methods for Intervention Implementation and Change
It is vital to review the sustainability factor of a certain solution even though it may seem to have a fit for a certain organization. RSVP, capacity building, and implement for sustainability are some of the strategies that are used to review the sustainability factor. RSVP refers to the first four performance technology standards. The letters represent, Focus on Results, be Systematic, add Value, and Partner with others.
The performance improvement practitioner in the St. Luke case study used the RSVP during planning and intervention. For performance improvement practitioners to use this method, it is vital for the practitioners to ensure that they provide results in a driven strategy. They should also analyze the environment and anticipate any needs or opportunities of the organization. They should also determine the value that would be added to the client and organization. Finally, they should ensure that they collaborate with the client during the entire process (Tosti, 2010).
In the St. Luke’s case, the organizational team members identified and rated the organizational gaps. This helped in determining the needs and expectations of the organization. The consultants analyzed the needs and opportunities of the organization. They also determined the factors that would limit the performance of the organization. This enabled them to develop solutions while considering the process and results. The consultants interviewed the stakeholder groups to create multiple data points. It also enabled them to have a clearer view of the likely cause of performance gaps. This facilitated the formulation of possible solutions. Collecting data that enabled the consultants to determine performance gaps was the first step in adding value to the organization. The consultants informed the client the actions needed to close the gap upon which the clients claimed that they were overwhelmed by the number of issues that they needed to address. Therefore, they chose to do nothing instead. Providing a good explanation of the solutions enabled the consultants to improve the willingness of the organizational members to take action to close the performance gaps. The consultants in the case involved the clients from the beginning of the process, which enabled them to build a trusting relationship from the beginning of the intervention process. This helped in uncovering information that would have otherwise been impossible to know. Therefore, the consultant played a key role in the success of the process.
HPT focuses on performance, results, and outcomes. It also has a secondary focus on behaviors, activities, and efforts. HPT is also systematic. Finally, it is based on scientific theories and empirical evidence. In the case on the kayak company, the consultant first determined the performance gaps due to the company’s current work model. This enabled to determine the greatest needs of the company. However, it was vital for the consultants to ensure that the initiative needs are aligned with the organization to ensure sustainability.
Use of the Google Docs instead of a hard copy reservation book is the no cost option of the kayak company. It would enable managers to have access to an updated reservation system. Google Docs would also enable employees of the company to access updated schedules, which would eradicate schedule and conflicts that occurred due to lack of communication. Constant updates to the scheduling system would help in eliminating overbooking. The improvements would help in improving the reputation of the company, which would ultimately improve its profitability.
Building capacity in an organizational development plan may also help in performance improvement. Understanding organizational needs, formulating solutions based on the needs, and applying the solutions may seem like a simple undertaking. However, nothing is farther from the truth. Nguyen (2006) provides an example that highlights this fact. He uses the analogy of trying to repair the small screw on sunglasses using any other tool apart from the required precision screwdriver. As such, in an organizational context, not all tools may help in fixing a problem. Therefore, it is vital for the performance improvement practitioner to use the right solution for a certain organizational need.
It is a fact that the implementation of most interventions faces several challenges. Commitment from the performance improvement practitioner, management team, and major stakeholders is vital to the success of any intervention. The management should not only support the intervention, but it should also be involved in the process. Asking key questions on value addition to the stakeholders during the entire process and after the implementation of the solution plays a major role in the success of the interventions. It is also vital to define budget constraints, communication elements, and mechanisms that help in improving accountability.
The St. Luke case highlights a sustainability model that helps in successful implementation. Lack of a clear strategic plan made the members of the organization confused since they did not have a clear direction to guide them on their future (Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger, 2012). However, it was vital for the consultants first to establish stakeholder involvement and management support. After establishing this, the members of the organization looked forward to the updates from the consultants. The definition of objectives helped in reducing anxiety levels. Refocusing the organization to the established objectives enabled it to solve its needs.
The consultant faced several challenges from the beginning of the intervention. It is a fact that the members of the organization faced anxiety for a long period before they sought the services of the consultant. In addition, the consultant had to address several communication issues. The organization did not also have a clear strategic vision or mission. Implementation of collaborative solutions enabled the stakeholders to notice the significant changes in all areas of the organization. Certain problems facing the organization would have been tackled easily if it had a culture of strategic planning. This is because it would have made the organization to have an environment for future change (Baaki & Moseley, 2011).
Initially, the school principle seemed like an obstacle to the successful implementation of the intervention. The consultants solved this problem by building trust with the principle especially during the process of identifying the performance gaps of the organization. This played a key role in enabling the consultants to gain trust from other key stakeholders.
Sustainability was also one of the major issues in the kayak case. The company’s reservation and schedule were filled with many problems. Implementation of the intervention would help in improving communications among all stakeholders, which would improve employee morale. Failure to adopt the intervention would make the organization continue losing significant sums of money. The company would also lose future revenue as customers would leave the company due to poor quality services. This company would also lose revenue due to loss of repeat business.
The interventions would not be beneficial to the company if it does not continue using them after the initial implementation. The interventions may lead to culture change, which would make them face stiff resistance from relevant stakeholders. Therefore, it is vital for the organization to have a team of dedicated leaders who would ensure that there is a culture change to facilitate the continued use of the interventions (Covey & Gulledge, 1994).
It is vital for performance improvement practitioners to consider resistance to change regardless of whether it is passive or overt. According to Van Tiem, Moseley and Dessinger (2012), there are several groups of people who respond to changes differently. These include early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. The early adopters embrace change whereas early majority chose to watch and see the attitude of people to determine whether they should embrace or oppose the change. The late majority are skeptical to the changes despite the fact that they acknowledge the benefits of the changes. Finally, the laggards are the last people embrace the changes. They offer the most resistance to the change.
Satisfying what stakeholders perceive as valuable also plays a key role in the success of an intervention (Bryson, 2004). It is vital for performance improvement practitioners to provide stakeholders with honest information throughout the process regardless of whether they offer passive or overt resistance. According to Firoozmand (2014), people respond to changes using their individual transitional curve. People who lead the changes are much farther ahead in the emotional journey than the people who are being led.
Performance improvement practitioners and leaders of organizations should ensure that they structure strategies that tackle resistance to change according to the type of resistance. This would enable them to have optimal solutions. Use of a one size fits all approach would not lead to positive results (Kotter & Schlesinger, 2008).
Having the required conditions for readiness to change increases the likelihood of the interventions to have the desired results. It also helps stakeholders to adopt the changes created by the interventions. Aligning the changes with clear objectives, stakeholders’ commitment, resource availability, and spirit of innovation are some of the conditions for change readiness. Understanding stakeholders and their interests both individually and in relation to other stakeholders is vital in determining problems facing an organization. This ultimately helps in improving the likelihood of formulating practical solutions (Bryson, 2004).
Role of the HPT Practitioner, Change Manager, and Practitioner
Change managers should adhere to HTP guidelines and competencies for change initiatives to achieve the desired results. They should ensure that they focus on results, analyze, recommend, and implement interventions that strive to reduce the performance gaps of the organization. They should also use communication, leadership, and teamwork for the change initiatives to achieve desired results (Stolovitch, Keeps, & Rodrigue, 1999).
Using change management techniques may guide an organization and its stakeholders on how to implement various changes successfully. The change management techniques include partnering, communication, project management, and building alliances. Use of the techniques would help an organization during the planning, communicating, adapting, and evaluating the change. Use of various models, which include Four Stage Process Model, Sustainability Model, or Change Focused Implementation Model, would help change practitioners in the implementation of the recommended interventions. The models may also be used in combination to provide different approaches to the implementation of the interventions (Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger, 2012).
Where changes are episodic or continuous determines the role of change managers. Episodic changes have a short-term focus and are usually radical. The role of change managers in episodic changes is to act as prime movers who fashion the changes. On the other hand, continuous changes have a long-term focus. The role of change managers in continuous change is the redirection of organizational stakeholders.
The performance improvement practitioner in the St. Luke case used changes management techniques that focused on partnering and employee development. Use of Hale’s Sustainability Model would have enabled the organization to acknowledge and use proposed solutions for its long-term benefit.
Communication was the focus of the intervention in the kayak case. Despite the fact that this tool is effective, use of a combination of Four Stage Process Model and Change Focused Implementation Model would have greatly benefited the company. It would have enabled the company to put more emphasis on resources, strategic goals, and competencies in the formulation and implementation of a suitable intervention (Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger, 2012).
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