Why Should I Conduct a Training Needs Assessment?
Training these days can be challenging for you to deliver to your employees who are working in a hybrid or dispersed way (either because of the circumstances of our global pandemic or because of your business model). If you are going to compete and meet your goals for expansion, growth, or recovery, training will be necessary for your team. In order to determine when and where to start, you need to analyze your current situation and consider what you will be doing in the future. You can do this with a training needs assessment.
A training needs analysis is a review with a training expert to determine requirements for role development, organizational planning, or content provisioning. Training needs analysis requires input from around the organization: subject matter experts (people who are doing the job), managers and associated leaders, and a review of your organization’s perspective on that particular role. But you know whom you are training, right? And it’s based on some customer complaints, or some productivity losses so you know it’s important? Why do you need to do a training needs analysis?
Because you should train the real problem, not the symptom
It’s true that complaints about your personnel are never good. Complaints should always be addressed and examined to ensure that even if mistakes are made, that they are repaired and become a source of learning and not repeated errors.
Of course, if there have only been a few generalized complaints, or one or two complaints have made it to the ears of upper management, there can be a mistaken belief cultivated that there is a real problem amongst the population of employees when it may only be a symptom of a different problem.
A training needs analysis can look at the issues, errors, process, and information and make a recommendation of training that meets the real problem at its root and not some parts of it.
Because you should invest in materials that will stand the test of time and not depend on a single subject matter expert or facilitator
Many organizations, large and small, have key players, who are aware of all the processes, products, clients, and details. Sometimes these are experts in an operational area, sometimes they are trainers. Sometimes even the training for an area or an organization is delivered by that key person, and they have been doing it for a long time. What would happen if that person won the lottery? Would you lose all of your training and in-house expertise because not too much is documented?
Of course, others would be able to develop the training and you would be able to manage eventually. A training needs analysis before you run into such a crisis could help to avert it though. Instructional systems designers can gather and review your content, interview your key staff, subject matter experts, and present you with documented training, alternative deliveries if appropriate, and assessment documentation to ensure that your training objectives match your organization’s key performance indicators.
Because you need to spend money on things that will really change behaviors and not just ’tick the box’.
A lot of training that is repeated regularly or developed for a yearly compliance measure will ’tick the box' of your organization’s need to demonstrate investment in training but it rarely demonstrates that your employees really understand the concepts of what you are trying to distill. Change the behaviors you would like to influence, or add depth or breadth to their ability to influence your organization’s KPIs. This is because your training is a ’one-size-fits-all’ activity that doesn’t actually fit anyone.
A training needs assessment done by a trained and seasoned learning practitioner can help you to identify content and systems that are universal; and where they differentiate, suggest alternative ways to train or develop your people. Your organization will benefit from having measured and measurable training, you will develop reusable training that will benefit your people the way they need it, and you can link your training to your company’s key initiatives or drivers.
Don’t spend money on training if you don’t have a clear understanding of the root cause of your performance problems, you don’t have your training linked to real initiatives that will impact your organization and your customers and is sized to fit everyone and therefore benefit no one. A training needs assessment will save you money, capture and organize your content to be delivered when and where you need it, help you to prioritize your requirements, and suggest customization to help you achieve your goals.
Want to get started with a Training Needs Analysis, but not sure where to begin? Get our FREE download '5 Types Of Needs Assessment' - a helpful tool used internally by the TrainingFolks Team.