Virtual HR Department

Training and Development

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Performance gaps are not necessarily a result of a lack of skills or abilities and, in many cases, training is not the right solution to achieve the desired performance improvement. Performance issues can also be caused by such things as insufficient communication by a manager or supervisor of performance expectations, and obstacles or barriers that impact performance, such as the physical layout of the workplace, material-handling processes and the quality of equipment and materials.

If the employee is identified as not knowing how to correctly use equipment or as handling products or materials in a way that is creating quality or scrap problems, there may be an opportunity to improve performance via training.

If a new system or equipment is introduced, it can be assumed that employees will not have the necessary skills, abilities or knowledge to operate it – an obvious training need.

A needs assessment identifies performance gaps and whether training is an appropriate solution to fill the gaps. The primary reasons for conducting a needs assessment are to:

Training needs assessments can be relatively simple or highly complex. The larger the organization, the more complex that the needs assessment tends to be, as there are typically more employees, more departments and often a broader range or equipment and processes.  As with other areas of this website, needs-assessment-program ideas are being presented at a relatively simple and straightforward level in order to provide you with information that you can use without requiring significant time and resources to manage it.

There are two primary areas to look at in a needs assessment: the organization and individual employees.

Organizational Analysis

Organizational analysis reviews broad organizational issues and impacts in order to identify training needs at a macro level. Considerations of the organizational analysis should include:

Many sources can provide this information, including: strategic plans; mission statements; performance, productivity and quality metrics; plant and equipment budget plan; etc. In reviewing these types of elements, you will be able to identify areas that may require training projects that can range from a single or small number of employees up to the entire workforce.

Individual Analysis

Individual analysis involves the review of how well individual employees are performing their jobs, and will help identify employees that need training and what kind. Considerations of individual analysis should include:

It is likely that a comprehensive analysis of both organizational and individual elements will result in more than one training need being identified. The needs should then be prioritized, based on the potential impact of the training, the importance of addressing the performance gap, time requirements and deadlines for implementing training (in the case of new equipment or legal compliance issues) and the availability of budget/money to implement training programs.

Training plans can then be created based on the priorities and available budget, and then executed. It is recommended that you review the Calculating Return on Investment of Training section of this website for further information on measuring the success and impact of your training activities.