4 Steps to Improving Employee Performance

Digital transformation is changing how we work. It's time to change how we train employees too. Introducing the LITE framework.

Noah Hayes
October 10, 2021

Digital transformation has made employee training more difficult than ever. The more things change, the more people seem to fall behind. Today's managers are bombarded with new challenges... new software, new processes, and new employees with digital-skill gaps.

Unfortunately, work-from-home (WFH) hasn’t helped. Gone are the days of on-site workshops and post-training support where teams gather and learn skills via in-person instruction. It’s a one-two punch, and managers desperately need a new way to upskill their teams.

In this article, we’ll introduce the LITE framework which describes a 4 step method for improving employee performance in a digitally-transformed world.

What does LITE mean?

LITE is an acronym for “listen”, “improve”, “track”, and “empower”. The method was designed to help managers utilize constant improvement through 4 repeatable steps:

  1. Listen to your employees
  2. Improve your processes
  3. Track your changes
  4. Empower your team

While the method is new, the principles are time tested and can be used across a variety of teams such as sales, support, finance, and more.

How to use LITE

Organizations are always changing. Because of this, LITE was designed to be on-going and reactive. Managers are encouraged to regularly revisit LITE and keep their processes up-to-date.

While there’s no prescriptive way to use LITE, it’s recommended to follow each step sequentially.

1. Listen to your employees

Successful change always begins by listening. In the LITE framework, managers are asked to stop, listen, and learn from their team’s tribal knowledge.

Capture your tribal knowledge

Tribal knowledge is commonly referred to as knowledge that’s known within an organization, yet not documented or shared widely. It’s your team’s hive-mind that’s not written down.

Unfortunately, most tribal knowledge goes unused and is often a neglected resource for improving employee performance. There are a variety of reasons that tribal knowledge goes unused. Most notably, it’s an issue of time. Employees simply don’t have the time to methodically document their processes.

Fortunately, advances in screen capturing have made it practical to screenshot and share process steps. It’s not perfect, but simply jotting down a process, taking a screenshot, or recording a video will help an organization save hundreds of hours of training and can unlock hidden insights for everyone on a team.

Action items

  • Host a round-table conversation to discuss existing processes and uncover the hidden tricks and workflows your team is using to get their job done.
  • Identify your top-performing and most knowledgeable employees.
  • Ask your top employees to document and capture their processes in detail.
  • Identify common workflows between top performing employees.
  • Organize and share your team’s tribal knowledge as repeatable workflows that can be replicated by other employees.

Bonus tips

  • If possible, use screen capturing tools to avoid the need to write and transcribe process instructions.
  • Listening and learning shouldn’t stop with documenting tribal knowledge. Observe changes in morale and be open to suggestions to foster a more positive work environment.

2. Improve your processes

Possibly the most challenging step in the LITE framework, improvement should be focused on your processes, not your employees.

Rather than asking how your employees can be improved, instead ask how your processes can be improved. The improvement step is a critical opportunity to build on the existing strengths of your team and the tribal knowledge that you’ve uncovered from open conversations.

Simplify with automation

When possible, remove unnecessary steps from complex workflows. This can be achieved by optimizing tools and implementing automation strategies. While automating was historically out of reach for most organizations, there are emerging solutions that empower non-engineers to automate nearly anything.

Visualize your workflows

Workflows which primarily happen on the desktop and can’t be automated due to costs should be illustrated with visual instructions. In most cases, guiding a user through a complex workflow can be just as good as automating.

Action items

  • Openly discuss ways to simplify complex processes into fewer steps.
  • Substitute difficult workflows for the hidden, simplified workflows that are championed by your top performers.
  • When possible, use automation to convert tedious processes with multiple steps into single step clicks.
  • Avoid written documentation and always visualize complex workflows using annotated screenshots so that processes are easier to understand and quicker to digest.

Bonus tips

  • Look for ways to be consistent with processes between employees.
  • Understand that some things simply can’t be improved.

3. Track your changes

Peter Drucker, arguably the world’s greatest management consultant, is once quoted as saying:

“What gets measured gets managed.”

This timeless quote is even more true now in the age of digital transformation. Fortunately, digital adoption and the proliferation of software tools such as Salesforce, SAP, Workday, and ServiceNow have made it even easier to measure change.

While measuring change isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, most software platforms include quick ways to extract data that can be associated with your process improvements.

Identify metrics that matter

Ideally, you’re already tracking KPIs for existing processes. If you’re not tracking KPIs, identify the key metrics behind your existing processes. Successful change should always move the needle on KPIs.

If possible, roll-out small changes over time to key-in on which improvements have the most impact. Making too many changes at once can make it difficult to know which improvements are affecting your KPIs.

Action items

  • Identify KPIs within your organization that map to process changes.
  • Articulate what’s being measured so your team has clear expectations.

Bonus tips

  • Articulate what’s being measured so your team has clear expectations and can set their own goals.
  • Hold team members accountable to their goals but stay flexible with an understanding that process improvements and change isn’t a linear path.

4. Empower your team

Because digital tools are constantly changing, it’s important to consistently re-evaluate what’s working and what needs improvement. Empowering your team to feel comfortable sharing new ideas, workflows, and improvements is critical to keeping your organization in sync with digital change.

Action items

  • Provide an open forum and resources for employees to share new process-improvement over time.
  • Organize quarterly or monthly reviews to triage improvement ideas .
  • Reward employees that make suggestions for improvement.

Bonus tips

  • Build trust through transparency but understand that some employees prefer to make suggestions anonymously.
  • Build a culture of collaboration by rewarding suggestions and celebrating wins when improvements are successful.

Next Steps

LITE is an exciting new way to help employees reach their potential. If implemented correctly, LITE can be an on-going process that brings constant improvement to your employees, teams and organization at-large.

Get involved

Have ideas and suggestions to improve LITE Methodology? We’d love to hear how LITE could be improved and how your organization plans to implement the principles.  Email noah@warpdrive.co and let’s chat!

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