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How to Identify Training Needs For Your Organisation

Training needs in any company can not be overlooked. Business owners have once had the thought of training their employees weather they have the required budget or not.

You know that your organization is facing some difficulties – mistakes, inefficiencies, inconsistencies, revenue and customer losses and more, all indicate as much. The question is, what should you do to address them?

The first solution that springs to mind is almost always “training,” and that is a great start! But who needs to be trained? On what and to what level? In which format? These questions and their answers are all part of an effective, five-step training needs assessment.

Identifying the right training needs for your people can be a challenge. For starters, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And, unfortunately, guesswork and assumptions won’t cut it. 

For learners, badly designed training programs can be a huge source of frustration. It’s hard to sit through irrelevant, boring training — and even more so when it’s taking you away from doing your actual job. 

This article is to show you how to conduct an assessment that will help you identify your training needs

Training assessments can be conducted at any time but are often done after hiring, during performance reviews, when performance improvement is needed, for career development plans, for succession planning, or when changes in an organization also involve making necessary changes to employees' jobs. It is beneficial to perform these assessments periodically to determine the training needs of an organization, employees' knowledge and skills, and also training program effectiveness. Are you ready? Lets go!

1. Define your organizational objectives

All companies need to establish their goals and objectives before undertaking any training actions. These objectives range from improving support. Establishing the objective officially and adapting the training to achieve it’s crucial.

Clarifying your organization’s objectives will not only help you get a sense of where you are now and where you want to go, but it will also help you find out how your employees are performing. From there, you can determine what knowledge or skills they will need to acquire for the organization to grow.

2. Outline required skills and knowledge

Once you know your company’s objectives, you can begin to identify the skills or knowledge your employees need to achieve them. It’s necessary to recognize the natural evolution of the company’s needs, its internal processes, and which employees’ abilities or skills you need to face these changes. In this step, it’s essential to list these skills to focus the training program on them.

3. Evaluate current skills

Once you know what’s required, it’s time to figure out where you are. Compare job role requirements to current performance to find current skills levels.

Look at the state of your current training. What’s currently working well? What could do with improvement? And what needs to go?

Find out how people are actually doing their jobs. You’ll need to spend some time with your people, and gather a few different kinds of data around performance. Go out and observe people while they’re working — no amount of theorizing can replace seeing the real thing.

This is where you may find some glaring discrepancies between what management says they want, and what is actually happening in people’s day-to-day jobs. Just make it clear to employees that you’re purely gathering information to help improve and personalize training — not evaluating them, or conducting surveillance.

4. Locate performance gaps

Now you can see that there’s a gap between where you are, and where you need to be. This stage of the analysis process asks: Where does the gap come from?

The cause of the gap may well be clear: a lack of knowledge, skills, or abilities. Or it may turn out to be caused by something else altogether. 

The following factors that can therefore influence performance:

  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Previous training
  • Motivation
  • Incentives
  • Capacity
  • Management style
  • Tools, equipment, and software

5. Establish training needs

In the end, a properly executed TNA asks if training is truly the right tool for the job. Will training achieve the desired outcome? Or do you need a non-training solution? 

Only suggest a training solution if the gap is caused by a lack of knowledge and skills.

If a training solution is the answer, prioritise training by impact on strategic goals — in other words, the return on investment (ROI) of each kind of training.

  1. Look at the data you’ve analyzed in steps 2, 3 and 4. 
  2. Which skills would have the biggest impact on the big-picture goals? If you’re not sure how to measure this, try rating on a simple scale of 1-5.
  3. Where are the biggest average skills gaps?
  4. Combine the impact and skills gap ratings to come up with the most urgent skills across the company.

When it comes to making training recommendations, you can take a broad or a narrow focus. There is also a range of delivery methods available. Each approach suits a different kind of skills gap.

Get Targeted

For technical skills, make your training plan targeted. Weight your peoples’ responses more heavily, and try to respond directly to stated needs.

Ask: can this be taught internally? For instance, with skill-sharing workshops or collaborative learning?

If not: Look into a learning experience platform that can integrate with targeted short courses or micro-credentials, potentially delivered through flexible eLearning, aiming to teach a specific skill.

Get Tailored

For new ways of working (eg. Agile methodologies, consensus-based decision-making) or soft skills challenges (communication skills, leadership), the super-targeted solution may not work. That’s because you need to get everyone on board, learning the same general principles at the same time.

This learning approach is more likely to take the form of a larger blended learning program, and combine eLearning and on-site, face to face training.

What are some examples of training needs?

Technical staff members may require communication training for providing feedback to external stakeholders. Production workers may need regular safety training to meet industry standards. New managers may need leadership training and coaching to adapt to their new role.

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Continue reading Gains of Employee Training in the Transport and Logistics Industry.

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