When productivity is down your first thought may be “we need
training.” Training may not be the solution. That’s why training needs
assessments are important. Here is a
quick guide to assessing your needs before implementing a training program.
1. Identify if you have a business need for training
Not all problems are solved by training. Before you invest
any time or money into implementing a training program, ask yourself the
- Is the training needed to fill a specific
requirement? For example, OSHA training.
- Are procedural mistakes causing defects or
- Is the company rolling out new machinery,
systems or software?
- Is there a high occurrence of customer service
- Is there a high occurrence of communication and
conflict issues between employees?
- Does management have a new mission that needs to
be understood before implementation?
- Does everyone need training? Are mistakes being
made by an individual or just a small group?
Once you determine the need for training, clarify your
expected outcomes. What do you want from the training? Examples include:
- To decrease the number of defects by 15%
- To meet state training requirements
- To improve employee morale
- To decrease the number of customer service
- To verify all employees can enter orders into a
new software product
2. Identify any performance gaps
Every job task has specific steps and a knowledge base that
is needed to perform efficiently.
Employers should already have an expected level of what jobs need to be
done and how long each task should take. Supervisors should be able to tell
you what jobs are actually being completed and the average length of time
employees are taking to complete the tasks. The difference between what is
expected and what is actually being done is called the performance gap.
3. Identify the true areas of weakness
Before you implement training you should always know what
the true performance gaps are. The
easiest way to pinpoint problem areas is by implementing a training
Types of assessments vary depending upon the problem area.
If the problem is in production, you may want to have an expert watch and
interview employees and observe strengths and weaknesses. For knowledge-based
deficiencies, you could provide online or paper-based questionnaires that score
your employees' skills and knowledge levels. If the problem is in customer service,
you may want to include customer feedback surveys.
4. Determine training needs and priorities
Once assessments are complete, use the provided data to
ensure training covers your specific needs. To do this, consider the following:
- What skills should all employees possess to
complete the job competently?
- What skills were lacking or needed improvement?
- What information is needed to understand the
tasks that need improvement?
- Was the entire group lacking in certain skills,
or only a few?
- Do the lacking skills affect your organization's
business objectives? Is it worth including in training efforts?
5. Define the type of training to perform
Training methods are situational, and there are many ways to
accomplish training needs. Simple solutions can involve an online training
course, watching a video or providing a printed job aid. More complicated
problems may involve bringing in a consultant to provide detailed on-the-job
training for months at a time. Getting results really depends upon your
business needs, the performance gap and what the organization's true
Selsius at Southwestern Illinois College can partner with
you to provide needs analysis, skills assessments, pre-hire testing,
consulting and other resources specific to your needs. For more information
about Selsius and the services we provide, contact us or visit our website.