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Training needs assessment Strategies

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The current working environment demands skilled employees to assist in carrying out sophisticated tasks in a cost-effective, efficient, and safe manner. Training an often performance improvement tool is required where employees are not meeting the expectations of their job positions performance standards. Such gaps in skillset levels can only be identified through comprehensive training needs exercise.

A training needs assessment is a procedure that allows organizational members or employees to know their employee’s inadequacies so they can handle their responsibilities effectively and safely while at the same time maintaining and advancing their careers. Training needs assessment helps to attain positive results for the organization and its individuals. The assessment results help to meet the training program and employee needs and help to ensure that employees get the most out of their training programs. In most cases, this is carried out where management has several performance reviews on new and existing recruits.

Training needs assessment is thus a continuous exercise given the dynamic work environment and the emerging challenges that require employees to keep familiarizing themselves with. This is a process that should be embraced by employees and organizations at large as it is not a form of witch-hunting but rather aims at improving them and providing opportunities for them to work better. For organizations that embrace technology, this is a crucial process in ensuring that employees can be able to use such technologies optimally as well as ensuring that the wasted time and costs spent on consultations with external partners is faced out.

Among the main components of training needs analysis include focus groups and surveys. Focus groups are a qualitative method used as a foundation for any training needs analysis. They offer organizations with perceptions and opinions regarding the learning or development needs of various employees. After carrying out exploratory research using focus groups, the organization will be better placed to ascertain if the training needs analysis to be undertaken shall need to be supported by real quantitative data. Where organizations undertake enough focus groups, they may be no need to base on other data for purposes of the training needs analysis. Nevertheless, where one relies on a few focus groups with a large training needs analysis scope, they will certainly need to supplement it with other data.

The advantages of focus groups include flexibility in questioning, fostering of dialogue, hypotheses generation, cheap and relatively faster approach as well as easily understandable findings. Disadvantages include the fact that this could be misused by researchers who are poorly trained, data interpretation is time-intensive and tedious, in some cases outcomes could be overgeneralized as well as the fact that some groups may considerably vary thus hard to assemble.

Surveys on the other hand help in collecting data to ascertain the training needs that organizations should develop as well as the individuals to accomplish the objective. Surveys look at the organization and employee skills, knowledge, and abilities to find out gaps. After identifying the training needs, then the objectives to be accomplished within the training follow. Basically, surveys reduce the gaps between skills required by job and employee skills. It could also be a foundation for ascertaining the effectiveness of the training program. Some advantages of surveys include the fact that they require less time, they target a bigger number of employees, and they easily collect qualitative and quantitative data and enable open and honest feedback. Disadvantages include difficulty in designing questionnaires or giving room for follow-up and clarify responses and they may not highlight the specific reasons behind employee character or actions.

Why training is needs assessment necessary

A training needs analysis is usually something that most organizations neglect. In some cases organizations presume that needs are obvious, however, with the investments that training consumes, it is good to have all the information upfront so as to create the most effective training program as possible.  In some cases, organizations could even be targeting problems where there are no actual problems.  For organizations training needs analysis helps in managing expectations beforehand, as trainers should not put themselves in situations where they will lose. The ultimate objective of a training needs analysis is to ascertain the current as well as desired performance. The variances or the gap between the present and desired performance is the learning which must occur and the foundation for proper training program design.

Among other reasons for carrying out a training needs analysis include ascertaining whether there is a training need, ascertaining the root foundations of bad performance, making sure that the training programs are linked to the needs of organizations, offer baseline data, creating a benchmark for desired performance, finding out what to measure and a framework to measure it, finding the scope and content of training and finally obtaining organizational support.

To justify training needs analysis so as to gain organizational-wide support, it is important to ensure that the process brings out real areas where the organization has been doing badly, this needs to be substantiated with statistical data over the years, where the organization proceeds to carry out training, it must be efficient enough to ensure that the organization reaps out benefits from the process. It will be easier for the top management of organizations to agree to fund training needs assessment where there have been benefits before or where there is a culture of such processes yielding real areas that the organization has skillset levels.

Furthermore, I will employ a five-point key to measure the effectiveness of the program. First is by looking at the financial justification for the training, by looking at the costs required for the training both direct and indirect costs and comparing them to the anticipated return on investment, it will be easier to gauge if the training will be a worthy investment that would lead to more benefits to the organization than harm. The training needs analysis will also be looked at from the perspective of the obstacles hindering its realization. Sometimes, it may take more time and costs to carry out a training needs analysis, and where obstacles are too many, it may only be necessary to just focus on other ways to fill in the skillset gaps such as recruiting people with the required skills.

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It is also important to simulate the expected outcomes with respect to meeting the currently identified gaps if the chances of the assessment fulfilling the identified gaps are narrow, then ideally there would be no need to proceed with the assessment.  Perhaps it is also necessary to look at it from the long term business perspective if the skills will be rendered useless within a few months or years, they may be no need to invest in assessments currently as the benefits may only be reaped for a short time, but if in the short term such skills have an impact on the market share, then doing it for the sake of the market share would supersede other concerns.

I would also look at the rate of employee turnover, some employees are known to quit just because they feel that they do not have the right skills or the skills that they have are important elsewhere and not in their current organizations. If this rate is high then definitely there is a problem that requires a needs analysis before appropriate actions can be taken. This process may have to vary depending on the environment and budgetary constraints.

Training needs assessment steps

The first step would be self-introduction which includes who I am and ascertaining the desired program outcomes by clarifying out the objectives of the training as well as the anticipated outcomes to the business. In this case, the objectives of the training must correspond to the objectives of the organization. The second step would be the selection of audience whereby I would try to link the expected outcomes with the character of employees by looking at their competencies which are connected to the expected outcomes. By gathering data and information from experts in the various areas to ascertain the competencies that are crucial to realizing the expected outcomes. This also includes the skills that employees need to realize their objectives as well as the character needed to handle the tasks. From the gathered data I would come up with a number of audiences that urgently require training in order to improve their performance and bridge the skills gap.

Third, is identifying the competencies that are trainable by evaluating the crucial competencies and ascertaining whether they are abilities that employees should have before being hired or those that can be learned within the job. This will be helpful in the formulation of questionnaires to aid me to know which employees require training on which areas. Fourth ascertaining the gaps in performance by looking at the current competencies and identifying the gaps between present and desired abilities. Tests, performance evaluations, interviews, surveys, customer feedback, and self-assessments would be useful tools in this process. The data from the questionnaires would be important in coming up with conclusive decisions.

Fifth, is prioritizing the needs for training by looking at the percentages of employees who require competency training. It is important to consider the contributions of the competencies to the objectives of the organization and from there create a priority table. Sixth is outlining how to carry out the training by considering the best practices and learning theories in training within the specific competencies. Training could be in the form of e-learning, mentoring, conferences or on the job training. This will also include the selection of appropriate venues which will help the organization reap the most benefits within a cheaper cost. The venue should also be ideal to ensure that the employees feel comfortable being trained in, at the same time it should not take more time to reach the venue as this will have an impact on productivity due to the time wasted while being out of work.

Seventh is carrying out a cost-benefit analysis by looking at the associated costs to each training needs analysis method, the degree to which training analysis shall identify proper gaps in performances as well as its impact on the organization. Some aspects to consider would be lost productivity, training time, travel, and accommodation costs among others. Lastly is planning for training needs analysis given that the process would only be effective if correct employees are identified as candidates for the training as well as the areas that employees need training on. It is necessary to also evaluate the process in entirety, this also comes in handy in designing future training needs analysis programs as it will become easier to know which areas were left out or employees that were not part of the audiences previously.

Program title: Training program to aid the Human resource department to improve employee skillset levels

Introduction

The rolling out of this training program will be for a set of eight employees in management level, front line supervisors as well as leadership positions. Each department will have a representative so as to spread the benefits. Furthermore, employees will be chosen to base on their skillset levels and the training gaps.

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Aim of the training program

This program shall be a 2-day training that will enable employees to develop some consistent and professional skills on organizational leadership, team development, managing change and diversity, conflict resolution, strategic and tactical planning, and decision making, and problem-solving. This training will improve ways in which these employees carry out their tasks exceeding expectations and realize the general understanding of organizational processes.

Scope

To conquer the above-mentioned challenges for the employees of the organization to improve their performances gaps in areas highlighted below:

  1. Conflict resolution strategy
  2. Supervisory principles and practices
  3. Team development
  4. Strategic and tactical planning
  5. Elements of organizational leadership
  6. Organizational decision making and problem-solving
  7. Managing of diversity
  8. Managing organizational change

This is intended to improve the skillset levels of the employees with the aim of having them perform their jobs efficiently and in the long run improve the productivity of the entire organization.

Training objective

After the end of the two-day training program, the trained employees will have

  • Developed a consistent and professional technique when supervising others
  • Gained skills applicable to managing diversity
  • Be able to handle various team activities and steer teams to success.
  • Be able to handle change management and prepare others for a change.
  • Be able to create logical and feasible strategies
  • Have some skills on how to manage various sectors of the organization
  • Be able to solve conflicts resolutely and with the big picture in mind
  • Be able to apply existing information to facilitate problem solving and decision making

Training costs

Number of training days: 2, Friday and Saturday

Number of training hours: 12 total, 6 per day

Number of trainees: 20

Training consultant: $1,440.00 ($120.00 hourly rate at 6 hours for two days)

Travelling and accommodation costs

Bus fare at $100.00 round trip: $800.00

Hotel accommodation at $80.00 per night for one 2 nights: $1,280.00

Course materials books and pens at $15 per trainee: $120

Miscellaneous expenses: $500.00

Total: $4140.00

Benchmarking

Dream movers logistics are doing very well and ideal in knowing how well a workforce could perform their jobs. For instance, this includes recognizing the diversities in team members and able to cultivate individual skillsets to improve the productivity of various teams. They are also a good example in promoting continuous training to help initiatives. Good initiatives include investing in seminars, conferences to help train their workforce.

There is also an element of fostering the right type of environment where they are able to create a conducive environment to accommodate all cultures as well as embracing and retaining talent. This includes an environment that employees from different cultures to prosper and work with their fellow employees.

Return on investment

From this competitive training program, the organization will be able to increase the productivity of the employees in several areas. The return on investment will be achieved through enhanced efficiency thus completion of more work under low cost and with reduced downtime. Eventually, this will be quantified in monetary terms, every element of benefit from the training will be converted to a monetary term to aid in the calculation of the overall organizational return on investment.

Competitive Edge

The employee training program will foster better employee skillset levels thus contributing to a competitive edge by which employees of the organization are better skilled than those of competitor organizations.

Training method

The entire training period will benefit the mentioned eight employees, after this, another batch of 8 employees will follow this experimental training framework using a more interactive training program.

Training Agenda

Day One (Friday)

Introduction

The trainers will introduce themselves followed by the trainees to the entire audience with name, experience, department, and what they hope to gain from the training.

Lecture (9am-10am) Supervisory principles and practices

Since managerial staff within organizations are in most cases responsible for achieving the goal of the organization as well as from the employee department, each leaders uses a personal style but then every manager must have certain specific competencies and principles on staff supervision. The aim of this lecture is to ensure that trainees become effective at supervising employees, since supervisors must be fair in their approaches. When handling issues relating to employees and making decisions managers must be able to look at all the information to ensure correct decision making which would benefit the various units under their supervision. This lecture should allow trainees understand the need to be flexible and allow for employee development by giving al supervisees opportunities for growth and attain full potential through interacting with each of them on personal levels.

The methodology would include speakers on basics of supervising and challenges in supervising, Sharing experiences in supervision looking at the importance of good supervision and employing case studies. The case studies will involve individual and group activities aimed at gauging the level of preparedness of every employee.

Lecture (10am-12pm)

Team development and organizational leadership

In the current competitive workplaces, synergy, teamwork and good communication are crucial skills for a successful organizational basis. This lecture aims at creating good leaders to will understand how to empower the members of their various teams as well as cultivate cohesion, confidence and cooperation among them. With skills in team building and leadership, employees will be able to come up with a customized team building experiences which would in the long run foster solidarity and promote motivation among the various organizational teams. This will also contribute to the overall success of the organization. The lecture will simply equip trainees with the tools and techniques that they require for optimal productivity and performance.

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The methodology of the lecture will be through videos on case studies from different organizations, lecture on elements of a good leader and how to build great teams as well as desirable team development activities.

Strategic and tactical planning (1pm-4pm)

In the current business world, strategic planning and management forms part of the thinking process necessary to effect change. Managers should be able to outline the desired objectives and justify why the organization should pursue such goals. This lecture aims at making the trainees thinkers who are able to determine why and what from a global perspective the organization will realize its vision. They should be able to formulate strategies or act with respect to attaining such goals. Furthermore, they should also be able to put in place specific actions to ensure the implementation of the various strategies. This lecture should equip them with the necessary tools that they can employ in various departments in a bid to realize common goals.

The methodology will be a lecture on various schools of thought to strategic management, strategic management frameworks, strategic planning tools and a motivational talk on good strategies and case studies from some organizations.

Day 2 (Saturday)

Lecture on conflict resolution strategies (9am-11am)

Disagreements are common at workplaces and as a result of this it is important for employees to be trained on conflict resolution strategies. Especially for those in leadership positions, they should be skilled in elements of conflict. Conflicts that are left unsolved could lead to huge negative impacts on teamwork and productivity. This session will be aimed at imparting conflict resolution strategies on trainees to aid them maintain a work environment that is healthy.

The methodology will include a lecture on the introduction to what is conflict and sources of conflict, the consequences of unsolved conflicts, ways of solving conflicts and finally practice on approaches to solving conflicts.

Managing organizational change (11am-12pm)

Change is indeed inevitable in organizations given the various influencing factors such as technology, regulations and economy. This session is aimed at equipping trainees with knowledge and skills on how to handle change as well as plan for it. This will potentially ensure that employees are informed and prepared early enough for change hence leading to less resistance during implementation. Leaders are at the forefront in ensuring correct implementation of change for the benefit of the organization and as such they should be equipped with the right skills to manage it.

The methodology will include a lecture on introduction to change, the importance for change in organizations, causes of resistance to change management and approaches to avoid resistance to change n organizations

Lunch (12pm-1pm)

Managing diversity (1pm-2pm)

With globalization, organizations are forced to recruit employees from all over the world and other demographics. Given such diversities in age, gender, race and culture, it may inhibit the abilities of employees to carry out their tasks. Employees especially those in management must understand such diversities and exploit them to create opportunities for competitive advantage rather than focusing on their disadvantages. This session will equip trainees with various elements of diversity so as to give them an opportunity to appreciate its existence in their workforce as well as ways to cultivate it for competitive edge.

The methodology will include a lecture on introduction to diversity, causes of diversity in organizations and how to handle diversity in workplaces.

Course Feedback (2pm-3:30pm)

Open Discussion

Comments on the training what should be changed and what should be retained

Refreshments

Survey to provide feedback of how the entire program was conducted.

Refreshments

Vote of thanks and ending the training (3:30pm -4:00pm)

Vote of thanks from one representative from the employees

Vote of thanks from a representative from the trainers

Payment of per diem

Closing prayer

Outcomes

The anticipated outcomes includes a workforce that is able to deal with emerging issues in management of organizations such as handling diversity and change, able to formulate realistic strategies and be tactical enough to implement them within the organization successfully. There are also other outcomes such as improved productivity as a result of improved efficiency brought about by a skilled human resource. There are also monetary benefits in the form of return on investments where the organization expects better profits and less expenses in employee errors.

Continuous improvement

After the program, the employees will be expected to implement what was learnt from the program when they report to work. After 3 months, the company’s finances and processes will be audited to determine the return on investment and any significant changes gained from the program. New areas that require new skills will keep coming up, as such training must be continuous to be able to consistently ensure that the organization has human resources skilled in all areas. To ensure continuity, trainings will be carried out when there is an impending change, when the workforce has lost touch with skills required of them to carry out their tasks and any other time as need be. With the aid of feedback from customers as well as business statistics, the human resource department should be able to know when to undertake training need analysis or even a training for its employees.

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