Post Replay: Performance Management vs. Human Performance Improvement

We are going to be rounding out our Human Performance Improvement (HPI) series, so we thought we would replay our existing posts so you can get caught up before we publish new content. Enjoy!


Today’s workplace involves more scrutiny in terms of performance, but when it comes to improving that performance what comes to mind? Performance management or (Human) Performance Improvement?

When managing performance, performance management and performance improvement can be two different things? How so you might ask.

Performance Management

Performance Management is usually referenced as the process of managing performance of an organization, department, or employee. Performance is typically measured by established goals and a rating scale, which determines how well those goals are being met. Feedback is ultimately provided to the employee to adjust the performance as necessary.

Most people are familiar with performance management with mid-year and annual reviews to determine how well they rated against their established goals.

Human Performance Improvement

Human Performance Improvement or Performance Improvement is a process that evaluates an output based on a process, procedure, or individual’s performance, while seeking to understand the root cause for the gap between current and desired performance. To address the root causes, appropriate interventions are identified and applied to support organizational goals and increase the output, efficiency, or effectiveness of the process or procedure.

Performance improvement follows a results-based, systematic process that focuses on accomplishments or outcomes before behavior. Whereas training usually follows a wants or needs-based approach, as it is something a client is stating they want or need. Performance improvement seeks to understand the performance gap and how to close understanding that training may not be required – it could simply mean a change in process or providing necessary resources to complete a job.

The Human Performance Improvement Model

The human performance improvement model is usually the same across references, but can vary author to author on the number of steps completed, as some authors combine steps.

However the model that I reference when speaking about human performance improvement is that presented by the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI):

The HPI process is not a process that can simply be learned overnight or is it a process where you just slap a band-aid on something and call it done – HPI requires knowledge, time, dedication, thought, and resources. This is ultimately why a lot of training departments or organizations have not moved to the HPI process. It is easier to say training is the way to go versus truly taking the time to understand the issue and identifying the correct interventions.

Have you ever wondered why in some situations why the training didn’t work to address the issue? It may have not been a training issue!

Since I am not an ignorance is bliss kind of person, I want to work to educate people on the human performance improvement model and how it can be beneficial for any organization. Therefore, over the next couple of weeks I will be presenting a series of posts that break down the HPI model and how it works.

So stayed tuned and get ready to learn!

If you are a current HPI user and want to write a post on a certain step in the model, feel free to contribute – submit your post to posts@performanceicreate.com


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