POINT-of-WORK: Don’t Fear the Beast – Tame It!

PoW Monster

Point-of-Work represents ground zero in a Learning Performance Ecosystem and serves as an essential source for content creation to support continuous learning across the entire Learning Performance Continuum from Point-of-Entry to Point-of-Work. Are you addressing the entire continuum of just the Point-of-Entry? If you are not addressing the entire ecosystem you are enabling impact to run free and with Point-of-Entry training as the sole solution. Impact is indeed free to roam…and eat your lunch through errors, mistakes, liabilities, and other kinds of loss at Point-of-Work.  Don’t fear the beast…tame it by including Point-of-Work into every solution and optimize performance Impact!

Point-of-Work is the point of origin for any learning performance solution effort.

  • Point-of-Entry represents first time learning…however only delivers Potential
  • Point-of-Work represents competent performance…and when competency is achieved, delivers sustained business outcomes

Point-of-Work Business Impacts

Following is a list of tangible reasons for any organization to shift emphasis and focus to Point-of-Work. The list contains performance-oriented situations and circumstances that typically trigger solutions that are training-based despite those solutions being out of training’s scope. Out of scope due to occurrences manifesting in the post-training Point-of-Work where workforce deficiencies in the workflow and at moments of need create:

  • Business liability due to mistakes
  • Material waste
  • Lost productive time isolating the source of errors
  • Redundant work effort to correct errors
  • Lost sales and key client accounts due to mistakes and inefficient handling
  • Missed opportunities to up/cross sell
  • Customer dissatisfaction dur to inefficient or unresponsive handling
  • User frustration and job dissatisfaction leading to employee turnover
  • Productivity delays from information searches to overcome moments of need
  • Critical information resources are out-of-date and/or inaccurate
  • …and the list goes on…

Point-of-Work Training Impacts

Taming the Impact beast has implications for L&D that may well extend beyond legacy skills and capabilities that form the current training paradigm. Training needs assessments are sufficient if training is the sole solution. Rarely is that the case when addressing the entirety of the ecosystem. The context of the playing field has expanded into a new ground zero and designing an ecosystem-wide solution requires a more holistic methodology…and evolved assessment skills.

Many current L&D team have already adopted agile design and development methods. The Point-of-Work paradigm better informs how to best leverage those methods. The Emphasis here is on learning performance assessment and build a solution road map that encompasses both Point-of-Entry and Point-of-Work seamlessly, frictionlessly and ubiquitously.

Consider this critical context –  Point-of-Work is not simply a post-training destination.

In addition to that key context is another – Solutions designed for Point-of-Work application should not be limited to the post-training environment as job aids and checklists; but included as Training content intentionally designed to bring Point-of-Work scenarios and applications directly into training course work. In other words, converge Point-of-Work right into Point-of-Entry.

As best practice, those scenarios should be task-centric and role-specific…integrated with…and accessed through…the same technology…and in the same work conditions…expected in the post-training Point-of-Work. Again, the objective is to enable convergence of learning with work.

In the context of a Point-of-Work paradigm …Point-of-Work converged with Point-of-Entry yields several benefits:

  • Reduction of training time – enables instructors to become facilitators vs. SMEs
  • Reduce the burden of remembering everything taught during training and instead limiting the ability to recall when to go…where to go…and how to apply resources for moment of need assistance.
  • Provide learners real-world experiences with applications of the right performance support (PS) assets accessed through PS technology
  • Re-use of PS assets captured at Point-of-Work directly in formal training reducing development time
  • Single point of update for rapid content edits

Adopting a Point-of-Work paradigm serves as the bridge to enable convergence of learning with work delivered at moments of need with “just-enough- just-in-time-just for me” content. The objective for servicing Point-of-Work requires optimizing 7-Right Things:

  • The right access
  • To the right assets
  • By the right users
  • At the right time
  • In the right amount
  • In the right format
  • To/from the right device(s)

These 7-Right Things are informed by completion of a Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA). The PWA methodology is a repeatable process that can be used to:

  • Respond to a “Training Request” where training by itself is NOT the solution
  • Road map a Point-of-Work solution to align with a new systems integration
  • Assess workforce readiness for new product/service launches
  • Troubleshoot performance challenges and identify root causes
  • Use internally as best practice DIY assessments on future performance scenarios

 Point-of-Work L&D Skills Impacts

Given the nature of Point-of-Work being out of scope for training content solutions, it follows that it is also out of scope and/or capability of the L&D professionals who are primarily focused on designing, developing and delivering training solutions. Point-of-Work requires an evolution of skills appropriate for accomplishing discovery assessments targeting the functional attributes that restrain performance outcomes that only exist at Point-of-Work. Skill implications include:

  • Task-centric, role-specific, root cause performance attributes defined in the Point-of-Work Assessment include:
    • Environment – What is the nature of the work environment? Urgency? Risk? Cultural? Operational workflow challenges (upstream & downstream interdependencies)?
    • People/Capability – Who does the work? Who supports it? Who is the consumer or impacted by the outcomes? Is workforce equipped to be capable to do the work?
    • Workflow/Process – What is the work? Where does it break down? Why?
    • Content/Resources – What is used/accessed to accomplish the work? Is it accessible? Business-relevant? Effective at Point-of-Work and moment of need?
    • Systems/Technology – What systems/technology are used to accomplish the work? Collaboration? Mobile? Enterprise-wide, App-based?
    • Impact/Analytics – What metrics are used as KPIs? Are they appropriate? How are analytics used to track performance?
  • Are L&D staff business savvy enough and equipped with holistic assessment methodology to be effective at ops level with operational stakeholders?
  • Have Intentional Design practices evolved to integrate PS Point-of-Work assets into Point-of-Entry learning content?
  • Is content/asset design compatible with available technology…or actual PS technology?
  • Has PS technology been leveraged to capture PS assets for embedded multi-use?
  • Does collaboration exist with IT through distributed authoring to re-use transaction-level captures during system validation to minimize rework when build training content/simulations?

Summary Thoughts

Unleash the Impact beast, but not before the workforce has a firm grip on their own leash to control the Impact that yields sustained performance and positive business outcomes. We all know how IT spends countless dollars to optimize systems before launch and then more dollars and support to maintain those same systems to keep them optimized. Do we apply the same level of diligence across the ecosystem when it comes to optimizing and maintaining our workforce?

7-Right Things are fairly intuitive – no rocket science used – however no Training Needs Assessment is going to inform an holistic solution to cover anything beyond Point-of-Entry, and the ecosystem is way bigger than that. We must get to where the Impact Beast lives and operates to identify the attributes that restrain performance and the associated outcomes.

Let’s not maintain status quo and feed the Beast…let’s feed those with the right things necessary to keep the Beast on a leash!

Want more on the PWA methodology? I can help with that mission having confronted this Beast numerous times over the last 30 years or so. Plus, feel free to join the new LinkedIn Networking Group I launched a couple weeks ago – POINT-of-WORK Performance Support Solutions.

Thanks for reading and take good care!


Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Advocate, Coach, Speaker
(317) 437-2555
Web: Living In Learning