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Guest blog: How to Determine Training Needs

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Overview

While effective training, or professional development, is an important element of a successful business operation, training needs are rarely examined systematically while considering the required competencies for the jobs in the organization.

The keys to determining training needs include:

1. Know your present situation

2. Identify required competencies

3. Involve employees

4. Survey, discuss and analyze actual data

5. Prepare specific employee development plans

6. Implement the plans

While effective training, or professional development, is an important element of a successful business operation, training needs are rarely examined systematically while considering the required competencies for the jobs in the organization.

Systematic Approach

In a systematic process approach there are four types of analysis:

  1. The competencies analysis answers the question, “What are the competencies that an individual must have to perform this job?”
  2. The organization analysis answers the question, “Where is training needed in the organization?”
  3. The task analysis answers the question, “What must the employee learn in order to satisfy the required competencies?”
  4. The person or individual analysis answers the question, “Who needs this training and what specific training do they need?”

Conducting such an analysis is time consuming, but it is ultimately more cost effective. Since the major cost of training is the time and overhead of having people in a training session, the up-front analysis is an effective way to reduce the total cost of implementing an employee training and development process. This comprehensive process yields a thorough understanding of the development needs in the organization and pays dividends in the implementation phase.

The general approach for a training needs analysis consists of five phases:

  1. Understanding the required competencies by job function or position
  2. Researching the present training programs/process
  3. Involving employees in surveys/discussion groups on a representative basis for the organization
  4. Analyzing the results
  5. Preparing specific employee development plans.

This analysis is most effectively accomplished when a cross-functional team of 3-7 people is utilized. It is very difficult for the HR Manager or HR Assistant to accomplish such a comprehensive task. In many instances an outside resource can be effectively used to plan and facilitate the effort. Outside resources insure objectivity and a focus on results without the “baggage in relationships” that may be present within the organization. In any case it is vital to minimize disruptions to the organization’s work and to avoid creating false expectations among employees. Be realistic in planning each phase and allow time to do a complete job. Carefully document the process as you move through each phase.

While effective training, or professional development, is an important element of a successful business operation, training needs are rarely examined systematically while considering the required competencies for the jobs in the organization.

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Source by Davis Woodruff

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