Training needs assessment is an analysis and evaluation that is to effectively identify training needs of employees so that training programs of the business is planned, carried out to enable individual employees to develop to their full potential and contribute to the success of the organization. Studies show that the quality of employees and their development through training and education are major factors in determining long-term profitability of a business. Good and effective employee training strategy can help improve performance, improved quality and reduction in waste and errors and promote job satisfaction.
Training needs assessment is used to identify an organization’s training needs and determine the type and scope of resources needed to support a training program. The needs assessment is the first step in establishing an effective training program.
Training needs assessment is an essential requirement to the design of effective training. It is a vital premise for training. The purpose of training need analysis is to determine whether there is a gap between what is required for effective performance and present level of performance.
Training Needs Assessment Approach
There are three approaches to conducting the needs assessments. This approach identifies three levels of assessment: organization, operations and individual. In the past, many large organizations often asks employees to list or rank desired training courses. Such assessments have been used to quickly assess the training needs of large group of employees However, while employee morale may increase temporarily, improvement in on-the-job performance has been limited. One likely reason is that this approach is not performance-based and employees often identify training wants versus training needs.
Employee training needs through organization level. At this organization level, training needs assessment focus on the company’s strategic planning, business need and long-term goal. It based on the evaluation of internal environment of the organization such as, procedures, structures, policies, culture, strengths, and weaknesses and external environment such as opportunities and threats. Training and development programs can be initiated to improve the business weak area and enhance the strengths. The information and data gathered through organization level can also be help to identify where training could improve performance. The organizational analysis phase should also plan for changes in the workplace, such as future skill needs,worker demographics, and laws
Employee training needs assessment can be conducted on the operation level. Training Need analysis at operational level focuses on the work that is being assigned to the employees. The job analyst gathers the information on whether the job is clearly understood by an employee or not. Today, jobs are dynamic and keep changing over the time. Employees need to prepare for these changes. The job analyst also gathers information on the tasks needs to be done plus the tasks that will be required in the future. Any gap between the current level of skills and required skills need to be improved through the training program.
Employee training analysis can be conducted through individual level. Training needs analysis at this level focuses on each and every employee in the organization. At this level, training needs analysis often compare the present performance of employee with the standard of performance to find the disparity for the purpose of ensuring the training objects and contents. The work background, employee’s profession, age, character and ability are the main factors.
Training Needs Assessment Methods
There are basically three different methods used to gather relevant information and data: interview, questionnaire and observation.
Interview Method: This method gathers the needs information from the talking between a manager and the employees performing the job. Individuals within the organization are identified for interview to ascertain their training & development needs. Usually the interview method is used with senior managers or employees who have unique roles within the organization and who have also specific training & development needs unique to them.
Questionnaire Method: Questionnaires require the inquirers to answer a group of standard questions. It is a good alternative to prepare a good questionnaire when there are many employees who need training and when the time and cost of conducting interview is limited. Questionnaires can be produced for part or all of the organization. Sometimes they do not ask specific training & development questions but are usually targeted towards gathering information on how the respondents rate the importance and performance of specific aspects of their position.
Observation Method: The evaluator and training specialist observes employees performance to finding problems and collecting information. It involves a trained observer accompanying an individual during their working day and observing them. Usually 1-3 days over a period of time are taken and the observer can either monitor the person for short 2-3 hour periods and then make notes, or have a structured checklist in which they will make notes against agreed criteria.