According to the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, there is much to be upbeat about when it comes to federal employment: Employees see their work as important, they're willing to commit extra effort where necessary, and their relationships with supervisors are generally positive. However, according to the survey's conclusion, "While this improvement is cause for celebration, additional work remains especially in the areas of performance management."

The need for improving performance management is not new. Recognizing this widespread need, the Association for Talent Development has developed a Master Performance Consultant Program to give learning and development professionals and performance practitioners the tools and skills to address performance gaps.

Offered by the ATD Government Solutions Team as part of ATD Enterprise Solutions and as a standalone product, the Master Performance Consultant Program involves in-person and online training as well as an elective and consulting project.

In an era of showing value rather than simply doing the training and checking a box, this program is designed to make real organizational change happen. As Chad Majiros, associate director of Client Services with the VHA Employee Education System, explained, "The value of using data to support assumptions, findings, and trends analysis" was a critical piece of learning he brought to his agency after the class.

Asking probing questions about the "what" around performance management is a key benefit realized by Keith Welsh, director of the Client Services Division at VHA Employee Education System. He now knows to ask clients who have training requests, "What outcome are you looking to change?"

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The Master Performance Consultant program, along with other Master programs—which include the Master Trainer, Master Instructional Designer, and the new Master Expert Coach—is one of the most popular and valued aspects of the ATD Enterprise offerings for government agencies. The "master" designation is globally recognized within the industry, said Welsh, adding that the program "emphasizes performance as the driver in what we're trying to do—outcomes versus just doing training."

Facilitator Karen McGraw explained that the program gives participants tools to "help organizations solve big performance problems." And in a day and age where individuals want to grow while making a difference in their organization, it gives participants the framework to continue to develop themselves.

As Majiros explained, "I found that the safe learning environment allowed me to explore the academic and application portions of the model at my own pace. Having time to digest and apply what I learned in a follow-on project was a good cadence for my learning."

Additional benefits of the Enterprise Solutions offering include training conducted in a private, on-site setting with respected facilitators; conference group rates for team members; a skills gap analysis; and a custom-content library on a select topic, such as evaluating learning impact, learning technologies, or performance improvement, which provides just-in-time learning from the comfort of one's own desk.