The Other 20% – Why it Matters in Training

In business, knowledge is everything. When you have extensive knowledge of your client base, products and competitors, you have an edge that gives you power in your choices. Achieving this is relatively simple in theory, thus training is essential to ensure company outcomes are better. However, most companies settle for learning platforms (LMS, Micro-Learning, etc.) that allow for 80% of mastery which can leave a 20% lack of understanding. It’s imperative to understand why settling for “acceptable” assessment passing percentages may be failing your business. It is also key to understand how your team interacts not only with your chosen learning platform, but each other to ensure that you are making decisions around training that not only drive efficient learning processes, but also increase revenue. Where there is greater understanding, there will be greater the overall outcomes for your clients and your company.

Many companies employ 80% acceptable passing percentages within their learning platforms. This allows those achieving the 80% pass rate to be regarded as performing at an adequate standard and therefore are able to move forward in next steps with training or are exempt from extra training sessions around the topic or refresher courses. However, this approach tends to create a 20% knowledge gap for the employee to be successful, which then will affect the company’s performance. It also creates an issue that more challenging information is being missed, therefore being deemed internally that it is non-essential information, when in fact, it is actually critical messaging to be conveyed. For example, Information Security information that is essential to the security of the customers and employees may be overlooked or missed because an individual fails a single question within an online training program.

By dismissing the need for the “other 20%”, a tone is set within the corporate culture that “adequate” performance is acceptable and that all information is not critical for every employee to understand. When that happens, other team members and employees pick up the slack either in workload or in providing that extra knowledge to their co-workers. However, that is not a solid strategy, as the pace of business is ever-changing. With less time to interact and provide extra support to coworkers, not to mention doing the work that someone else was hired to do, employee dissatisfaction will increase, and employee retention will decrease. When that happens, not only do customers become dissatisfied, the business will also have to invest in recruiting new employees, both of which cost the business unnecessary money when it could have been prevented through higher training standards.

In addition to employee and customer retention, there is a stronger need for team members to strive for the 100% achievement in an online training program. Both industry and government compliance are imperative, and with laws and regulations ever-changing and varying state to state, there is an even less margin for error. By mandating 100% achievement during the training process, businesses can potentially save millions in fines, legal charges and employee time.

Businesses can easily solve for the 20% knowledge gap with the right data AND the right attention to the data. The first step is to select an online learning tool with the right analytics. It is imperative to be able to not only drill down to the question & answer level but also to the individual performer and what questions they have missed. By providing reporting to both the individual and their manager, it allows for a coaching session to occur. In addition, when you allow for aggregate analytics, it allows trainers and instructional designers to assess what team members are missing, as well as providing a better understanding as to why they are missing it. This allows for the training to either be recrafted or follow-up assessments to be created as part of a “100% Achievement” initiative.