In previous posts, we examined the beneficial role that feedback plays in individual, team and organizational development. To ensure that your training and development initiatives are effective you need to begin with an assessment. The needs assessment is critical in identifying any gaps between existing training and training that will be required in the future.
Conducting a training needs assessment is the first step in creating a targeted training and development program within your organization. In today’s post we will examine three kinds of assessments that you can perform to discover your organization’s training needs.
- Organizational assessment:
This type of assessment analyzes the effectiveness of the organization as a whole and identifies any discrepancies. It is used to uncover the competencies, knowledge and skills that are needed by the company to bridge any gaps. Organizational assessments also take into account external factors such as the economy, environmental policies, technological advances and changing workforce demographics. These assessments determine where training is needed, how it will be conducted and when. Organizational assessments answer two critical development planning questions:
- Where in the organization is training required?
- Will the training be effective if implemented (fill the gaps)?
- Task assessment:
The task assessment gathers information about a particular job function or occupational group. This analysis identifies the key tasks, competencies and skills required to perform the job at the most efficient level. Using job descriptions, skill analyses and job inventory questionnaires these assessments are used to discover specific training needs. This type of analysis is particularly useful if an organization is moving in a new direction or undergoing restructuring. Again, the assessment is used to determine if there are any gaps between existing competencies and those needed for improved performance. Task assessments answer the following planning question:
- What skills and/or behaviors must be acquired in this job function?
- Individual assessment:
The individual assessment focuses on a particular employee to discover how well they are performing. This type of assessment determines the individual’s existing skills and competencies, their learning style and capacity for new work. The individual analysis identifies who within the organization requires training and what kind of training is needed. 360 degree evaluations are useful as individual assessments as they identify the employee’s strengths and areas for improvement in regards to competencies, skills and behaviors. The individual assessment forms the basis for the creation of a customized training and development plan for the employee. These assessments answer the following key development questions:
- Does the employee have the necessary skills?
- What training is required for the employee to acquire the necessary skills?