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How to Integrate Learning and Performance Management for Driving Business Results

Learn how to integrate performance management and learning to align employee and organizational goals, drive business results, and stay competitive in your industry.

Lorelei Trisca
Written by Lorelei Trisca
May 16, 2024
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Whether you're establishing a new performance management system or upgrading an existing one to foster continuous learning, let's explore how to effectively integrate learning with performance management. By following these steps, you will unlock the full potential of your workforce and drive lasting success.

Align learning objectives with performance goals

Establishing clear performance expectations and goals lies at the heart of linking learning and performance management—employees must understand how their learning efforts contribute to their individual performance objectives and career advancement.

Goal overview on Deel Engage

The learning objectives shouldn't be arbitrary or cookie-cutter. They should apply to specific roles and contribute toward larger business objectives. In this context, managers play a critical role in providing feedback, coaching, and support to help employees translate their learning into tangible results on the job.

To get started, analyze each role's specific responsibilities. Look at the key tasks and deliverables. You can also use competency mapping to map out the necessary competencies for each role. For example, negotiation is a key competency for sales representatives who aim to close new deals. Moreover, sales reps have specific quotes for each quarter.

Use performance data to inform learning needs

Leverage performance appraisal data and feedback to identify learning needs and opportunities for growth.

Analyze performance metrics, such as performance ratings, goal achievement, and competency assessments, to pinpoint areas where additional training or skill development may be beneficial. 
You can also use a skills gap analysis or a skills matrix to identify areas where your employees lag behind.

Skills matrix on Deel Engage

Use this data when working with each employee to create personalized development plans. Tailor the plans to your workers’ unique strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations. Consider their current job role, future career aspirations, and areas for improvement when designing learning opportunities.

Returning to our sales representative example, if a skills gap analysis reveals that junior reps have lower conversion rates, tailor learning objectives to enhance their negotiation and persuasive communication skills.

Another example is a customer service team whose performance data reveals a pattern of missed opportunities in upselling products during support calls.

By analyzing performance ratings and competency assessments, you might discover that these team members excel in problem-solving but fall short in sales techniques. Use this insight to develop personalized development plans that enhance sales skills, like persuasive communication and product knowledge.

This data-driven approach ensures that learning initiatives are targeted and impactful, addressing specific performance gaps and potential for improvement, making the entire process more meaningful and effective for each employee.

Provide continuous (and diverse) learning opportunities

With learning objectives aligned, the next step is providing employees with the opportunities to meet their goals. 

Offer various learning opportunities that cater to different learner styles and preferences. Effective learning involves formal training and a holistic approach to on-the-job learning and development.

Provide employees with diverse options for acquiring new knowledge and skills, from traditional classroom training to e-learning courses, microlearning modules, and job shadowing experiences.

Encourage self-directed learning and empower employees to take ownership of their development journey by offering access to resources and learning platforms tailored to their needs (e.g., LinkedIn and Udemy courses).

Learning library on Deel Engage

Additionally, focus on fostering a culture of peer learning and knowledge sharing within the team. Encourage employees to collaborate on learning initiatives, share best practices, and support their colleagues in their learning journey. 

Peer-to-peer feedback and mentorship can enhance learning effectiveness, promote a sense of camaraderie among team members, and create a learning culture in your organization.

Offer guidance to assist employees in navigating learning opportunities and overcoming obstacles they may encounter.

Imagine a project manager struggling to adapt to new project management software, which is critical for their role's efficiency. Instead of leaving them to navigate the challenge on their own, organize a series of microlearning modules that break down the software's features into manageable lessons.

Also, pair them with a more experienced colleague who has successfully navigated the software transition for informal mentoring sessions. This peer mentor can offer real-time advice and share practical tips, turning a potential obstacle into a collaborative learning experience. 

Additionally, set up regular check-ins with their supervisor to monitor progress, set a feedback loop, address any concerns, and adjust the learning plan to ensure they stay on track and feel supported throughout their learning journey.

Integrate learning into performance conversations

Incorporate discussions about learning and development into regular performance conversations between managers and employees. 

Start by reinforcing the connection between learning and performance goals. Encourage employees to reflect on how their learning activities directly contribute to achieving their performance objectives and advancing their careers. 

Performance review form on Deel Engage

Take the case of a marketing analyst who aims to improve their data visualization skills to enhance their reports and presentations. During regular performance conversations, the manager can guide the employee to reflect on how mastering advanced data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI contributes to their current projects and long-term career goals. 

By linking these learning activities to specific performance metrics, such as the increased clarity and impact of their reports, the employee can see the immediate benefits of their efforts. This approach motivates them to continue their development and fosters a culture where learning is a key driver of personal and professional success.

Such ongoing dialogue reinforces the connection between learning and performance management and emphasizes the importance of continuous development.

Track progress and measure the impact of learning on performance

Establish clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the impact of learning initiatives on employee performance and business outcomes. 

Track indicators such as productivity gains, error reduction, customer satisfaction scores, and employee engagement levels to evaluate the effectiveness of learning programs. 

Performance hub overview on Deel Engage

Use this data to identify trends and gaps in learning outcomes, continually refine and improve learning strategies, and ensure alignment with organizational objectives.

For instance, after implementing a new customer service training program, track changes in customer satisfaction scores and employee engagement levels. 

If you notice an improvement in these metrics, use this success to highlight the program's effectiveness and inspire further learning. 

If the metrics plateau or decline, take this as an opportunity to reassess the program, seeking input from employees to understand what adjustments could make it more impactful. 

Tip: Don't focus on the employee's goal achievement exclusively. Foster a culture of continuous improvement by celebrating small victories and providing regular, constructive feedback.

Leverage technology and automation

It may seem daunting to institute a performance and learning management system that requires one-on-one collaboration and action plans for every employee. But there are two important things to keep in mind here:

  1. The benefit is that every employee becomes more capable of learning
  2. Tools and automation can help

A learning management system can streamline repetitive tasks and do most of the heavy lifting for you. With Deel Engage, you can automate task assignments, track learning progress, and customize learning paths for each employee. 

With training automation, human resources can assume more of an overseer role rather than starting from scratch with every employee. 

With a single template, you can customize it to match the specific circumstances of multiple workers.

Automate training assignments with Deel Engage

Evaluate and adjust learning programs based on feedback

Regular evaluation of employee learning programs is essential to ensure they remain relevant and effective. Use feedback from employees, managers, and performance data to assess the success of training initiatives. This feedback can highlight what's working and what needs refinement.

Implement regular feedback mechanisms, such as surveys or focus groups, to understand employee satisfaction with learning programs and identify areas for improvement.

Based on feedback, adjust the content, format, or delivery of learning programs better to meet the needs of employees and the organization. Enlist your L&D professionals to adjust based on these insights and introduce new methodologies or technologies to keep the training engaging and effective.

Consider a scenario where a series of leadership development workshops received mixed participant reviews. Some stakeholders found the content too theoretical, while others struggled with the virtual format. 

In response, the L&D team conducts a focused survey and organizes a focus group with participants to gather detailed feedback. Using these insights, they revise the workshops to include more interactive, real-world case studies and offer a hybrid format with in-person and online sessions. This adjustment improves participant engagement and better aligns with the practical needs of emerging leaders, demonstrating the program's adaptability and commitment to continuous improvement.

Incorporating this step ensures that your learning and performance management strategy is dynamic and responsive, adapting to changes in workforce needs and organizational goals.

Drive learning and performance with Deel Engage 

Deel Engage's mission is to help companies retain top talent and foster a culture of high performance.

The tools and training help any company grow from within, achieve success alongside its people, and build a positive workplace culture: 

  • A learning management system 
  • Performance review software
  • Career development
Investing in our employees and their development is critical for us. We use Deel Engage’s smart tech to give employees a transparent outlook on their career progression, run bi-yearly feedback reviews, and train people globally.

Barbara Imm, Director of People and Culture, roadsurfer

Schedule a demo today to learn more about Deel Engage.


How are learning and performance linked?

Knowledge is often the theoretical side of an employee's skills. At the same time, performance is the application of that knowledge. By continually learning and applying new knowledge and skills, individuals can improve their performance, contribute more effectively to organizational goals, and advance their careers.

What is the main difference between learning and performance?

The main difference between learning and performance is that learning refers to acquiring knowledge, skills, and competencies. In contrast, performance relates to applying those acquired abilities to accomplish tasks or achieve specific outcomes. Learning precedes performance, as individuals must first gain knowledge and skills through learning before they can effectively apply them in their roles.

What are the factors that influence performance and learning?

Several factors influence performance and learning, including individual capabilities, motivation, feedback, resources, organizational culture, leadership support, and the quality of learning and development initiatives. Environmental factors such as job design, workload, and work environment can also impact performance and learning outcomes.

Why is training so important for effective performance management?

Performance management is more than evaluating a worker’s performance. In this context, training is essential for an effective performance management process because it helps employees develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to perform their roles effectively. By investing in training initiatives tailored to employee needs and organizational objectives, organizations can improve employee retention, productivity, and performance, ultimately contributing to achieving business goals.

How does a performance management system connect with training and development?

A performance management system connects with training and development by identifying performance gaps, setting performance goals, and providing feedback to employees on their performance. Based on the insights gained from performance evaluations, organizations can design and implement targeted training and development initiatives to address specific skill or knowledge gaps and support employee growth and career development.



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