February 9, 2023

Performance Enablement: What Is It and Why Does It Work?

Melissa Malec

If you work in the People industry, chances are that you’re all too familiar with traditional performance management processes. 

But what about performance enablement? If it’s not in your People team’s vocab already, it definitely should be. 

Instead of reviewing and judging your people's performance, it's about equipping them with the tools to get better.

So what does performance enablement involve and why is it so effective? Great question.

In this article, we break down: 

💪How performance enablement empowers employees to contribute to business success. 

🏆Why it can be the difference between setting goals as an organization and achieving them. 

Wait, what is performance enablement exactly?

The performance enablement model is gaining traction in the People industry, and helps companies create processes and employee experiences that enable better: 

💪 Alignment. 

💪 Retention.

💪 Productivity. 

The reason why it’s so effective is that it aligns your people with key business results.  

The ultimate goal of performance enablement is to give employees the resources and tools they need to drive an organization forward—while maximizing their potential. 

This is why performance enablement is being embraced by more and more businesses. 

Companies recognize that when employees are equipped with what they need to maximize performance in their role, they’re more likely to execute with excellence and deliver against business priorities. 

Bottom line is they’ll have a bigger impact on the business and achieve more in their careers.

Performance enablement, development and management—what’s the difference? 

Although many people think of performance enablement, development and management as the same thing, they’re not. Here’s a quick look at how the three compare:

Performance management ensures that employees meet the strategic objectives of the organization.

This ongoing process focuses on clarifying and setting expectations, targets or goals—which may also be linked to the employee’s rewards, bonuses or career progression. 

On the other hand, performance development focuses on an employee’s career development, as well as setting and measuring specific outcomes and goals for the organization.

These processes are linked to establishing rewards, bonuses and opportunities for career progression.

Performance enablement is all about empowering your people with the skills and tools they need to maximize high performance in their roles and deliver against business priorities. 

With performance enablement, employees are able to upskill quickly and their professional development is strategically aligned with the goals of the business. 

This also means that your people can solve problems quickly and as they arise because they’ll have access to the resources they need—when they need them—to unblock progress in the flow of work.

What do you need to enable employee performance?

To enable performance, you need to give your people clarity, support, and the resources they need to perform at their best. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these in a bit more detail below. 

Clear goals 

Before you can start delivering against business priorities or maximizing employee engagement, your people need to know what they’re working towards. 

Not only does goal setting help establish clear expectations, but it can also show your people how their work fits into the bigger picture of your organization’s success. 

Many performance development systems allow you to host your company and team objectives and key results (OKRs) within the platform for everyone to access. 

This gives everyone visibility over the goals and targets they should work towards, and you’ll have a better idea of how you can align these outcomes with your people. 

This will also help you identify skill or knowledge gaps that may prevent your company from achieving its goals or reaching targets. 

From there, you can make more informed decisions about what resources your people will need to maximize their performance and meet these goals. 

Support and guidance 

Letting your people know what they need to achieve isn’t enough—they also need ongoing feedback, support and guidance to help them reach business goals. 

With pulse feedback platforms, you can give all of your people an opportunity to: 

💬 Express where they may need more help from their managers or team leads.  

💬 Communicate any issues that may be preventing them from making progress in their projects or roles. 

This feedback can also be used to have more effective conversations during one-to-ones.

For example, managers can use this information to discuss how they can better support their people’s performance and development.  

During performance reviews, managers can also use this data to offer guidance on where direct reports could develop their skills to meet business goals or targets. 

With better feedback and data at their fingertips, managers can help their people set tangible performance goals and advise on the steps they need to take to reach them. 


If you want to enable high performance amongst your people, then you need to give them the resources they need to do their jobs well. 

These resources fall into two main categories. One type of resource are tools and softwares that someone needs to do their job. For instance, your finance team will need accounting software to help them be more accurate and efficient. 

The other type of resource is learning resources ranging from courses to couches, books and beyond. These resources help your people get better at their jobs and fill the skills—or knowledge—gaps your business needs filled in order to stay competitive.

Not only would these resources help your business reach its targets faster, but it could also mean that your organization beats its competitors to market with a new innovative solution. 

For people to maximize their performance and contribute to business goals, they may also benefit from career frameworks that show them what good looks like in their role.

These resources give your people clarity over the core capabilities needed for every role—at every level—and what they need to do or achieve to progress within the business. 

Remember, when employees know what they’re working towards or need to achieve, they’ll have a better idea of what they need to do to contribute to team and business goals.

Some of the best resources are learning materials to upskill employees when there are gaps preventing them from reaching high performance or delivering against business goals.

Let’s say your engineering team wants to roll out a new product but many of them are unfamiliar with a new coding language that would help them build it. 

If they have the learning resources they need at their fingertips, they could quickly upskill to overcome uncertainty, unblock progress and finish their projects with ease. 

🔍 Digging deeper into the role of learning in performance enablement

There are many tools out there that can help us become better at the job we already know how to do. 

But what about the parts of our job, project or future roles that we don’t know how to do? 

To bridge these knowledge gaps, you need a performance enablement tool that’s powered by learning. 

Platforms like Learnerbly upskill your people quickly so that they’re equipped to achieve OKRs as a team and individuals. And they make sure you have the right resource to get the right results, across all teams. 

You’ll fill knowledge gaps by giving your people the tools and resources they need to:

💥 Unblock progress. 

💫 Become high performers.

📈 Contribute to the business’s success faster. 

Not only are your employees able to learn new skills, but your company is able to grow with them, reach its targets and boost its bottom line. 

Want to know more about the role of learning in enabling performance? What about the cost to your business if you don't use learning effectively. We talk all about it this ebook. You can download it here.

Why is performance enablement so good for business? 

When performance enablement is done well, it gives individuals and teams the tools they need to fill knowledge gaps and perform at their best. 

And if your people are performing well, your organization will reach its OKRs and targets faster. Let’s take a closer look at how performance enablement helps you get this right. 

It boosts productivity and targets are met

Your teams may start a new quarter knowing what they need to achieve, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have what they need to reach these goals. 

With the right performance enablement platform, you can help your employees improve and upskill in areas that are preventing progress

This means that your people have the resources they need to apply their new skills to the projects they’re working on right now. 

👀 A look at this in action 

At Learnerbly, our Curation team needed to adapt one of our UX platforms to scale with our growing company. 

Progress was being blocked due to limited resources and another team member having competing priorities. While they knew the process best, they couldn’t dedicate time to fix the problem. 

So it was up to a member of our Curation team to step up and learn quickly. MJ took an afternoon of Learning Leave to complete two No Code MBA courses that spoke directly to this problem. 

Not only were they extremely practical, but MJ could put the learnings into practice as she was experiencing them.  

This massively reduced the time it took for us to scale our UX platform and the Curation team was able to overcome this challenge to continue delivering a great service to our users. And now someone on that team has the skills to tackle future problems with the software.

Innovation increases 

When you use learning to improve performance in your company, you will gain an essential competitive edge. 

Through access to the latest industry-leading ideas, books, podcasts or courses, learning exposes employees to experts that help spark innovation and confirm best practices.

This allows your people to: 

✨ Discover new ways of doing things that can help push your business forward.

✨ Develop the skills they need to take on and overcome new challenges.

If you don’t believe us, just take a look at the numbers: 

🚀 Companies that strategically invest in learning are 92% more likely to innovate by developing new products and processes,

🚀 Organizations with established learning processes are 56% more likely to be first to market with these new developments.

🚀And they’re 52% more productive! 

Teams draw on collective knowledge 

Many businesses limit knowledge to a single team or even individuals. 

If the person doesn’t get the opportunity to transfer their skills to their coworkers, this knowledge can’t be used to benefit other projects across the business. 

When you have a learning enablement platform that facilitates knowledge sharing, people have a set process to follow and are encouraged to share their expertise and learnings with everyone.

This means that your people can draw on collective knowledge to drive results for the organization and improve their own skill sets. 

And one day, as much as we don’t want to think about it, talent will leave. When this happens you don’t want their knowledge to leave with them. By sharing knowledge across the team and the organization you’re future-proofing your business with critical skills and information.

It enables high performance, career growth and achievement

Your people’s learning needs and career goals should be tied to the company’s priorities and strategy. 

When your people feel like they’re directly contributing to business growth and their team’s success, they will feel more motivated—leading to better performance and morale. 

As a result, you’ll be able to:

🏆 Help your company retain its high performers. 

🏆 Cut down on hiring and onboarding costs.

🏆 Keep knowledge in your business to develop the next generation of leaders. 

Become Your Industry’s Market Leader 

Performance enablement through learning is the key to becoming a more effective, efficient, productive and agile organization. 

This is because it ensures your people are able to solve problems in the flow of work and reach business critical targets. 

If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into performance enablement and want to understand the risks of not harnessing it, download our cost of inaction ebook to find out more. 

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