HPI Series: Performance & Gap Analyses

Last week, you learned about the Organizational/Business analysis in the Human Performance Improvement (HPI) model. To recap, the organizational or business analysis is the process of identifying and clarifying company vision, mission, goals, targets, and needs. This step in the process ultimately works to assist the performance consultant understand what the organization values the most. Additionally, the business analysis also serves as an opportunity to understand organizational goals – these goals usually exist at all levels of the organization.

Moving into the next steps of the HPI model, we explore the performance and gap analyses.

When completing a performance analysis, the performance improvement consultant is essentially evaluating current performance against desired performance. However, when completing the performance analysis, it is important to proceed along a macro to micro analysis approach. Beginning at the macro level allows one to see the organization in its current marketplace for which it operates – ultimately the organization’s customers, competitors, suppliers, etc.

With the HPI process as a whole, and the performance analysis, it is key to evaluate accomplishments versus behavior; furthermore, an eye should be kept on the employees of the organization since the HPI process seeks to address employee performance. Completing a performance analysis will typically include utilizing a number of tools to include relationship maps, process maps, or evaluation of driving and restraining forces based on established factors.

Once the performance analysis is complete, the gap analysis can begin to get underway so as to identify where the gap lies between current and desired performance. In completing the gap analysis, the problem being evaluated is converted into current behaviors and expected outcomes. This is because a gap can indicate performance levels that meet expectations, levels that are lower than expected, or levels that exceed expectations.

Analyzing performance gaps includes two areas of inquiry according to Martha Boyd in HPI Essentials (2002). The first area of inquiry is to identify gaps (Boyd, 2002, p. 45):

  • Who is the customer, or who is affected by the performance issue?
  • Whose performance is the problem?
  • Why does the customer think there is a problem?
  • What is the actual performance level?
  • What is the desired performance level?

The second area of inquiry serves to determine the priority of the gaps:

  • How important is the identified gap?
  • How often does the gap occur?
  • How costly will it be to resolve the gap?

Completing the performance and gap analyses can be a little daunting, especially when organizations can already have a solution in mind to resolve the issue. Therefore, I definitely recommend the performance improvement consultant to research these analyses and start small when beginning.

To start the learning process for the HPI process, a great resource is George Piskurich’s (2002) HPI Essentials.

Our next post in our HPI series will explore the cause analysis….stay tuned and happy learning!


Boyd, M. (2002). Gap analysis:  The path from today’s performance reality to tomorrow’s performance dreams. In G. M. Piskurich (Ed), HPI essentials (pp. 41-51). Alexandria, VA:  ASTD Press.

Piskurich, G. M. (Ed). (2002). HPI essentials. Alexandria, VA:  ASTD Press.


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