Use Top Performers to Teach Best Practices

  | December 11, 2013

If you’ve ever studied business you’re probably familiar with the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the “law of the vital few,” or the 80-20 rule. This theory applies to many situations and suggests that only 20 percent of all causes produce 80 percent of all effects. Pareto observed this principle in 1906 when he discovered that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by only 20 percent of the Italian population. In the business realm this translates to mean that a mere 20 percent of the total number of employees are responsible for 80 percent of overall productivity.

While the other 80 percent of employees may very well be diligent workers interested in improving their skills and productivity, it is that top 20 percent who are producing the best results. These are top performers who exemplify the traits of a great employee, and these are the individuals who have acquired the best practices from their experiences on the job.

You might also notice that these employees demonstrate leadership qualities and influence those around them to perform at their best as well. Many organizations reach out to their top performers to help with training new employees and hope their good qualities “rub off” on new hires. Unfortunately, this has proven difficult since top performers are often busy. If you have found it exceptionally difficult using your top performers to pass on best practice traits to their fellow team members, then RolePlayPRO may be the right solution for you.

We are not by a long shot the first to notice this trend. You have probably experienced a number of instances where a top performing employee shared something they learned about how to do their job better or lead a meeting by teaching co-workers a new way to complete a task more efficiently. But more often than not, these instances result in improved productivity amongst their peers for a short period of time, followed by a sharp decline in productivity as they fall back into old habits. RolePlayPRO is a training tool specifically designed to give trainees an ongoing outlet for practicing and, with proper use, can significantly increase retention of good practices.

Video technology is continually changing the landscape of the workplace every day and here at InterviewStream, we continue to uncover innovative uses for our video products that will streamline processes and increase productivity. We take the facts and issues plaguing the traditional work place and think of ways video technology can improve these aspects and better business.

Here is a way you can use video technology to battle the Pareto theory:

Top performers are the people whose brains you would most like to “pick” on a weekly basis. RolePlayPRO makes it easy to send scenario-based questions out to your team, which they can answer on their own time, and then you can share the top answers to the rest of the team each week.

First, you’ll want to develop a few questions for the role-play that will get the desired response. Although very specific questions will eliminate superfluous details, it could also limit the useful information the trainee can respond with, so be sure to leave room for creativity. Also, be sure to give an appropriate amount of time for each response, you should be able to gauge how long it will take to answer a question based on its specificity.

Second, try to limit role-plays to the “best of the best” employees. I’m sure we have all encountered someone who used very little effort to produce excellent work, and some of the most gifted people can also be some of the laziest. Make sure the top performers you include in a role-play are held in high esteem, respected by co-workers and exemplify characteristics you wouldn’t mind rubbing off onto their team members. Remember, the goal is to encourage best practices in both work ethic and personality, because both qualities influence success in the workplace.

Third, be sure to brief your trainees prior to inviting them to complete a role-play.  Remind them to: make eye contact with the camera and not themselves on the screen, record in an area with little to no sound or distractions, remove all clutter within the camera frame, dress professionally, sit up straight and speak with confidence. Be mindful of how you want the video to be perceived by the other employees, as the video should not be lecture-like, demeaning or belittling but rather encouraging and informative.

Lastly, determine frequency. You will want to send these videos out often enough for their content to be retained, but not so often that they become a nuisance. As previously mentioned, similar efforts to pass on best practices from good employees are often done in vain, since not much is done to follow up on retention of these practices and employees typically resort to old poor habits after a while. We as humans have a tendency to only remember things that make some sort of emotional impact on us, and one such way to do this would be to create a “pressure to improve” atmosphere. This can easily be achieved by pushing out a new better practices videos at the beginning of every week with an excerpt from someone in management expressing the importance of making positive changes to improve productivity and increasing one’s value as an employee.

Innovative methods for training to keep your team on top of their game, like role-plays using RolePlayPRO, are what make the difference between a good business and a thriving one!

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