How to Asses Training Needs

Needs assessment is an area of training management, on aim to reach the highest quality of training managers. Some reasons which make it becomes very important is a lack of understanding about what needs assessment is, the standards for doing it right, about the effects it has on those it touches, and how it consumes many dollars’ worth of analysis time and time spent by employees away from the job.

Beginning a training process is absolutely a complex starting point. A great training manager know that “want” to start a training process will be nothing if it is not followed by real step. The first step is a process named “needs assessment”. In this process, training manager is going to investigate and look for what is the real company-need. This process is also a process of designing training program which will be delivered to all employees.

In some cases, costumers think that they have understood their company-need and ask the training manager to work as fast as possible. In fact, a good training manager should realize that the practice is not as easy as the costumer wants. How can a training manager belittle the very first step and just rely on what costumer say? It cannot be like that, because needs assessment is a first important key to reach the best result of training.

Actually, needs assessment is just trying to find the bad things in the business system. Needs assessment will be success if successful getting company’s discrepancies. A list of discrepancies –about the optimum performance and actual performance– become a guide for making a plan and designing what kind of training process that company needed. Training manager should give a program to erase the company’s weakness on actual performance and to add new knowledge also skills for reaching optimum performance. So, this is the first key of getting success on training goals.

The better needs assessment is not just by looking on the employees’ work, because it is going to stop you to explore the real condition. Needs assessment also must pay attention the others aspect of business process. For example, by seeing on work-result, training manager will get more information about company actual performance because work-result affect the others organization. This step is called “crossing organization boundaries”. Widely investigation and research will deliver the training manager to get the best design of training program. Honestly, this is the most challenging step to test the managerial skill.

After doing well observation, choosing a methodology also takes a big part on training process. Each method of making training program has its own advantages and disadvantages. Training manager’s task is to conduct the fittest methodology for doing every-single-step on training successfully. The process of questionnaire, interview, analysis, and conducting review must be done carefully and seriously. The flexible method would be easily overcomes the entire hard and sudden problem; and on making it needs a creative skills and way of thinking.

For earning best training program, there are some general aspects which is should be concerned on.

  • Define the objectives.
  • Estimate resource expenditure during needs assessment.
  • Identify a measurement and evaluation specialist who can advise you.
  • Anticipate the benefits of needs assessment in terms of positive energy for change.
  • Identify which employee groups should receive—and give—feedback.
  • Use a variety of data-gathering methods, so that you get good numbers and honest
  • Start well in advance.
  • Be careful of the language using.

Needs assessment is not always easy, and in the contrary it is not always seems so hard. But, on its practice, sometimes consumer wants to training manager do it quickly. It is all about time. When training manager is not finished yet on observing needs assessment, it is better to rely on the principal of building training program: everything is for company advantage. The training manager should ensure the consumer to be more patient. Convincing the consumer –although it is not easy— is absolutely better than re-fixing company’s condition, due to the imperfect design of training. So, in this case, training manager should have a great plan and concept as fast as possible. The effectiveness of working is needed on this step.

Besides limited time, sometimes training manager will get the others limitation—such as, money and staffs. But, a creative and skilled training manager would have overcome it by making the creative, innovative, and flexible way. It will open a lot of ways and perspectives on doing training and facing entire limitation or disadvantages condition. Lastly, if training program still has a possibility on getting success in all (limited) condition, how is it running in the adequately resources and condition? Imagine how it will be perfectly done.

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