Human Performance Technology

         Human Performance Technology (HPT) uses a wide range of interventions that are drawn from many other disciplines including, behavioral psychology, instructional systems design, organizational development, and human resources management. It stresses a rigorous analysis of present and desired levels of performance, identifies the causes for the performance gap, offers a wide range of interventions with which to improve performance, guides the change management process, and evaluates the results.

Human Performance Technology Process.

The human performance technology process begins with a comparison of the present and the desired levels of individual and organizational performance to identify the performance gap. A cause analysis is then done to determine what impact the work environment (information, resources, and incentives) and the people (motives, individual capacity, and skills) are having on performance. Solution to performance problems can fail when they are selected to treat only visible symptoms rather than underlying causes. When the root causes of a problem are uncovered and eliminated, however, the likelihood of significantly reducing or eliminating problems is greatly enhanced.

Once the performance gap and the causes have been determined, the appropriate interventions are designed and developed. These may include measurement and feedback systems, new tools and equipment, compensation and reward systems, selection and placement of employees, and training and development. The interventions are then implemented and the change process managed.

Evaluation is done after each phase of the process. Initially, formative evaluation assesses the performance analysis, cause analysis, intervention selection, and design, and intervention and change phases. The evaluation focuses on the immediate response of employees and their ability and willingness to do the desired behaviors.

Next Page The final evaluations are centered on improvement of business outcomes (such as quality, productivity, sales, and customer retention, profitability, and market share) as well as determining the return on investment for the intervention.

1)Task performance standards.

One of the most powerful steps a company can take is to establish measurable, observable criteria whereby a competent individual can determine if a specific, critical task has been done correctly and completely. If individuals have no formal, structured means to evaluate their own performance, supervisors will have no structured, formal means to evaluate an individual performance and provide useful feedback.


Training can only address skill deficiencies, that is, the “can’t do” versus “won’t do” behaviors. Nonetheless, training can have a dramatic impact by increasing productivity, decreasing unplanned downtime, reducing the learning curve, and reducing trial-and-error learning.

3)Tools and References.

A deficiency that companies must often overcome is the lack of standard operating procedures (SOPs), job aids, and other visual tools that can be used to minimize or mitigate process variations introduced by people.

4)Feedback and Inputs.

The processes, systems, or methods whereby information is conveyed to job incumbents individually and as a group is integral to the total technology plan. Give the workforce early and frequent information. Give all ranks of employees plenty of advance information regarding the impending technological changes. Help them to understand – in clear and simple terms- project objectives. Educate them as to why these technological upgrades are necessary and how they present opportunities for changes in the way things are done. .

Let workers know that concurrent with your commitment to technology upgrades is an equal commitment to employee development.

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