TRAINING NEEDS ASSESSMENT
By Janice A. Miller, SPHR and Diana M. Osinski, SPHR February 1996 Reviewed July 2002
The training needs assessment is a critical activity for the training and development function. Whether you are a human resource generalist or a specialist, you should be adept at performing a training needs assessment. This paper will begin with an overview of the training and development function and how the needs assessment fits into this process, followed by an in-depth look at the core concepts and steps involved in conducting a training needs assessment.
Designing a training and development program involves a sequence of steps that can be ...view middle of the document...
Problem solving or productivity issues. The need to prepare for and respond to future changes in the organization or job duties.
The results of the needs assessment allows the training manager to set the training objectives by answering two very basic questions: who, if anyone, needs training and what training is needed. Sometimes training is not the solution. Some performance gaps can be reduced or eliminated through other management solutions such as communicating expectations, providing a supportive work environment, arranging consequences, removing obstacles and checking job fit. Once the needs assessment is completed and training objectives are clearly identified, the design phase of the training and development process is initiated:
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Select the internal or external person or resource to design and develop the training. Select and design the program content. Select the techniques used to facilitate learning (lecture, role play, simulation, etc.). Select the appropriate setting (on the job, classroom, etc.). Select the materials to be used in delivering the training (work books, videos, etc.). Identify and train instructors (if internal).
After completing the design phase, the training is ready for implementation:
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Schedule classes, facilities and participants. Schedule instructors to teach. Prepare materials and deliver them to scheduled locations. Conduct the training.
The final phase in the training and development program is evaluation of the program to determine whether the training objectives were met. The evaluation process includes determining participant reaction to the training program, how much participants learned and how well the participants transfer the training back on the job. The information gathered from the training evaluation is then included in the next cycle of training needs assessment. It is important to note that the training needs assessment, training objectives, design, implementation and evaluation process is a continual process for the organization.
There are three levels of needs assessment: organizational analysis, task analysis and individual analysis. Organizational analysis looks at the effectiveness of the organization and determines where training is needed and under what conditions it will be conducted.
The organizational analysis should identify:
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Environmental impacts (new laws such as ADA, FMLA, OSHA, etc.). State of the economy and the impact on operating costs. Changing work force demographics and the need to address cultural or language barriers. Changing technology and automation. Increasing global/world market places. Political trends such as sexual harassment and workplace violence. Organizational goals (how effective is the organization in meetings its goals), resources available (money, facilities; materials on hand and current, available expertise within the organization). Climate and support for...