Five Ways to Assess a Business's Training Needs

assess training needsIf you've been tasked with conducting a training and development program, it's important to look at the issue from all angles. This involves taking a deeper look at the role that each individual plays in the organization, and where there are gaps in the current employee training program. Here are five areas to focus on as you examine the organization's training needs.

1. Analyze the organizational goals

One of the primary ways to identify a business's training needs is by looking at the organization's goals and strategies. An organizational assessment takes a deeper look at what these goals and objectives area, and how effective the team currently is at the moment. You can also look at the history of employee training and if it made any measurable changes in the organization's performance. The purpose of this type of assessment is to help you see the bigger picture, forecasting where training would be required and how effective it would be.

2. Conduct a work or task assessment

Another type of assessment involves looking at a specific task or job. There are a number of ways to go about this. For example, you can observe high performing employees as they complete these tasks, ranking tasks in order of importance. Compare the tasks being performed with what is listed in the job's description, to determine whether a given position involves additional tasks and the need for training. Some tasks involve processes which could potentially be improved with employee training. It's helpful to compare the performance of both experts and novices in a given task, to maximize training.

3. Identify and prioritize areas of weakness

A key component of devising a customized training program for an organization is determining where the company's areas of weakness lie. To do this, you'll need to be able to measure and monitor performance, getting feedback from business partners or customers when applicable. It's also helpful to speak directly to employees to see if there are any areas where they feel training would be particularly beneficial. Gather a variety of viewpoints to determine where improvement is most needed.

4. Assess the individual

After conducting assessments at the organizational and task levels, it's also possible to look at each individual employee. An individual assessment looks at an employee's existing skills, experience, strengths, potential, and learning style. This allows you to tailor a customized training program to best benefit each employee's development, using the latest training and assessment techniques. Be sure to look at any training that an employee has already undergone as part of this assessment.

5. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis

Finally, you can look at the situation from a strictly financial perspective. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine what the return on investment of training and development would be. In many cases, an effective training program leads to a high return for an organization, but it may need to be scaled back or rolled out in stages for a maximum ROI.

Training and assessment is an important aspect of helping foster organizational and individual development, yet every business has different needs. Looking at it from many different angles can help ensure that training is tailored to be as effective as possible.

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