09 October 2008

Training Needs Analysis

Dear readers, I haven't blogged for a while and I'm sorry about that! I've been super busy doing exciting projects in the OD arena, plus working on a second business venture at the moment. For the curious followers of my blog, by popular demand I've finally decided to offer my paintings for sale, something I've resisted with my heart in the past.

Here is another topic dear to my heart and mind, related to my current consulting assignment: Training Needs Analysis. Tell me how many organisations especially here in the UAE budget for a Training and Development System and find out that it is simply failing to improve overall employee job performance. Now I've always believed that failures are opportunities for real success, but most organisations do not act on this principle. Instead of getting to the root of low job performance, many Companies act impulsively and "hire and fire" their people, hoping they will get the right person at the right competence level for the right job.

I have news for you. There is a more scientific way to ensure this happens, without relying on chance or luck! It's called a Training Needs Analysis, and it will tell you what critical knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors required on the job are missing in your employees. This enables the organisation to take sustained action toward the development of their employees and maximize their potential and performance. Here's how I would do a Training Needs Analysis. These are broad steps only, so please contact me for specific step-by-step details if you are interested to learn more! The story starts with what the organisation as a whole needs, desires, and has.

1. Conduct an Organisational Analysis that will examine system-wide components of the organisation that may affect the design and effectiveness of a Training and Development System. This would include the following activities:
- Specifying organisational goals
- Determining the organisational training climate
- Identifying external constraints
- Assessing organisational resources available for training

2. Conduct a Requirements Analysis based on results of the Organisational Analysis. This will determine the specific scope of the TNA based on organisational goals in terms of identifying and selecting the following:
- Priority job groups and target jobs in all departments
- Existing documentation and data on priority jobs
- High-performing and high-potential employees
- Participants and subject-matter experts (SMEs) for the Job Analysis phase
- Appropriate method and protocol to be used for the Job Analysis phase
- Points of contact that will assist in administrative support as a liaison team
- Challenges that could hinder subsequent phases of the project

3. Conduct Job Analyses for priority and target job groups. The Job Analyses will examine job content in terms of the following:
- Work activities performed on the job
- How frequently tasks are performed
- How critical are the tasks to job performance
- How easy/difficult it is to learn critical work activities
- What knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors are essential for each task

4. Conduct a Person Analysis with subject-matter experts (SMEs). This phase assesses gaps between high-performance indicators and current employee performance in terms of knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors that are essential for success on the job. The following are intended results:
- Developing performance indicators for target jobs
- Determining gaps in knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors (KSAs) in your employees
- Creating approaches to resolve the KSA gaps

The Training Needs Analysis is just one component of a successful Training and Development System in an organisation. Once you know what your employees need in terms of training, training programs need to be designed to meet those needs. This is again a very meticulous process as it needs to take into account learning theory and instructional methods. Post training, programs need to be evaluated for how effective they have been in helping employees meet their performance objectives. So the story does not finish with a Training Needs Analysis! But I've given you a start, and here are just some of the reasons why this first and foremost step is so important:

- A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) helps an organisation examine whether its current training system is developing relevant competencies needed to perform a job, and focusing on skills that are hard to learn on the job.

- Designing job-relevant, accurate, and reliable post-training assessment instruments would be more valid if it they are based on the results of a Training Needs Analysis (TNA). The information obtained from a TNA provides input into designing performance-appraisal instruments to test trainees at the end of training.

- Results from a job and task analysis, which is part of the Training Needs Analysis (TNA) process, will provide significant value in designing employee selection tests such as Assessment Centers. It is important for an organisation’s employee selection process to identify and hire employees with competencies required to perform the specific job, and this in turn affects how training programs are designed based on what knowledge, skills, and abilities hired employees already have.

- A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) gives input on whether the organisation has the resources at its disposal, and the necessary climate and environment for making a training program as effective as possible so that the trainee applies what is learned.

- Data from a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) directly impacts how training programs are designed, what instructional method is used, and why different learning methods may be required for diverse employees.

So before you hire and fire, consider what you as an organisation might be able to provide that your employees are missing.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home