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Training Needs Assessment

Training is an expensive process not only in terms of the money spent on it but also the time and the other resources spent on the same. The most important question therefore is determining whether or not a need for training actually exists and whether the intervention will contribute to the achievement of organizational goal directly or indirectly? The answer to the above mentioned question lies in 'training needs analysis' which is the first step in the entire process of training and development.

A Training Needs Assessment is an analysis of the training, learning and development needs of the staff in an organization. It considers the skills, knowledge and behaviors of the people in the organization and how to develop them, both to deliver the organization's strategic objectives and support the individual's career progression.

The purpose of a training needs assessment is to identify performance requirements and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by a company's workforce to achieve the requirements. A needs assessment is the process of identifying the "gap" between performance required and current performance. When a difference exists, it explores the causes and reasons for the gap and methods for closing or eliminating the gap. A complete needs assessment also considers the consequences for ignoring the gaps.

Training needs analysis is a systematic process of understanding training requirements. It is conducted at three stages - at the level of organization, individual and the job (or the team), each of which is called as the organizational, individual and job analysis (or team analysis).

Case Study:
Want to know the training needs of a group of employees who have similar jobs?

Time Required:

Approximately 1-2 hours

Here's How:
1. The facilitator gathers all employees who have the same job in a conference room with a white board or flip charts and markers.
2. Ask each employee to write down their ten most important training needs. Emphasize that the employees should write specific needs. Communication or team building are such broad training needs, as an example, that you would need to do a second training needs assessment on each of these topics. How to give feedback to colleagues or how to resolve a conflict with a coworker are more specific training needs.
3. Then, ask each person to list their ten training needs. As they list the training needs, the facilitator captures the training needs on the white board or flip chart. Don't write down duplicates but do confirm by questioning that the training need that on the surface appears to be a duplicate, really is an exact duplicate.
4. When all training needs have been listed, use a weighted voting process to prioritize the training needs across the group. In a voting process, you vote on and prioritize the list of training needs. Tell needs assessment participants to vote on their priorities.
5. List the training needs in order of importance. Make sure you have notes (best taken by someone on their laptop while the process is underway) or the flip chart pages to maintain a record of the training needs assessment session.
6. Take time, or schedule another session, to brainstorm the needed outcomes or goals from the first 3-5 training sessions identified in the needs assessment process. This will help as you seek and schedule training to meet the employees' needs. You can schedule more brainstorming later, but we generally find that you need to redo the needs assessment process after the first few training sessions.
7. Note the number one or two needs of each employee, that may not have become the priorities for the group. Try to build that training opportunity into the employee's performance development plan.

Tips:
1. Training Needs Assessment can be, and often needs to be, much more complicated than this. But, this is a process for a simple training needs assessment.
2. Make sure you keep the commitments generated by the training needs assessment process. Employees will expect to receive their key identified training sessions with the brainstormed objectives met.
This training needs assessment works best in small to mid-sized organizations. It will give you a quick assessment of the training needs of an employee group.
This training needs assessment helps find common training programs for a group of employees.

MSTC could help your organization in designing effective training needs assessment.

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