There are several factors that ensure that employees do their best in the workplace. Some of them like internal drive, come from the individual employees. Others, like availability of opportunities for growth through trainings, come from the organisation.
Trainings help employees increase their skill level, learn new skills and become more competent at their jobs. However, it is advisable for organisations to carry out a training needs analysis before embarking on any training.
It is conducted to ensure that the training an organisation plans to undertake suits the needs of the employees and ultimately, the needs of the organisation.
This analysis can be done for individuals, a department or an entire organisation.
A few things to take into consideration before the needs analysis
Take a good look at your organisation’s goals and vision. Why do you do what you do and what do you envision as the future of the company? This is very important if you are out sourcing the training exercise. The person carrying out the needs analysis and the eventual training should have this information.
An effective needs analysis will involve observing the current situation at your organisation and comparing that with your goals and vision. In short, what do you want to be getting out of your employees, and what are you actually getting. You can observe workers on the job, get feedback from supervisors, employees and where possible, from your customers.
Take a look at your existing training methods and materials. Some organisations have tried and tested methods that they have employed in trainings for years. As you carry out a needs analysis, it’s a good idea to evaluate these too. Do they still work or could they use an update?
There are several worthwhile reasons to carry out a training needs analysis. Let’s discuss a few.
Is training actually the solution
The first thing a training needs analysis will do is reveal if the solution to your problem is to invest in training. There are several reasons an organisation might be performing below its desired standard. If it lacks a technological edge or its marketing efforts are lacking, training might not be the best solution.
If it is a skills or knowledge gap however, your company will be making the right decision in carrying out a training.
What training is needed for whom?
A training needs analysis will help you avoid the ‘one size fits all’ method of training where you give all the employees the same training. This non targeted training will have a hit and miss outcome with only some employees receiving the training they need and others being left totally ignored.
Training is meant to improve employees. Instead, it will end up frustrating some when you spend time teaching them things they have already mastered. They might feel like they are taking a step back instead of forward in their development.
It improves learning
Because the training is customised, there is improved learning and engagement. Employees will be interested to learn how they can do their specific jobs better. This is more exciting than a mass training where one and all are gaining knowledge that might not be relevant to their roles.
The trainer will also have a chance to be more flexible and use methods and models that appeal to a specific group.
It helps to reveal training gaps before they become critical
In business, it is better to be proactive than reactive. A training needs analysis helps companies reveal where their problems are and affords them a chance to deal with them before they get out of hand.
If your sales team is miscommunicating about a specific part of your product, it would be better to figure that out and correct it before your customers move on to another provider.
In the information gathering stage of the analysis, training needs that you might not have considered can also be revealed. You might have gone in with a mind to improve marketing but realise that your company needs training in a whole other area. You can then plan for a training in that area or include that in the current training cycle.
It allows employees to have input
Sometimes, the best way to find out what your employees need from a training, is to ask them. Done right, surveys to get information from employees and their managers can be very helpful. This might extend to personal interviews, group interviews or anonymous forms.
At the end of the exercise, you will know the needs of the team and take them into account when designing the training. Employees will feel valued and embrace the training as opposed to feeling like it is a mandated exercise that is removed from their needs.
Listening to and incorporating their feedback is a good way to motivate employees and can increase employee desire to participate in the training.
In addition to giving you valuable insights on your organisation, this information will help you deliver a training program that is targeted.
It saves money and time
Companies that forego a training needs analysis sometimes do so in a bid to save time and money. In the long run though, that decision can be more costly when organisations incur higher costs in re-training.
A training needs analysis will help you target not just the right people, but target the right people with the right information.
It also helps you choose the right training program for the most urgent outcome in mind. If you find that customer satisfaction is what is critical that year, you will be able to prioritise it and perhaps postpone other trainings. This way, you will be closer to getting a better return on your investment.
It is always a good decision to train staff and organisations that do so reap high rewards. However, to get the best value for money, target the right people and learn crucial information about your organisation, trainings should be well planned out and preceded by a training needs analysis.