Saturday, January 9, 2016

Is Training the Solution (reblogged with permission)

Too often when an organization identifies a problem, they attempt to solve it by recommending training for all in the department or team. Training does not solve all issues. To determine if training is the appropriate resolution, a training professional should conduct a needs assessment, the first step in the instructional design process. This will help identify the gap and determine if this is due to lack of knowledge and skill, which training would resolve or if the issue is more motivation or a need to adjust workflow, which training would not address (Noe, 2013).  The organization can save money and resources by taking the time to complete the needs assessment prior to developing the training. The needs assessment can include the following:
On the job observation
Document analysis
SME interviews/Focus Groups
Questionnaires
Online technology
Historical data review
(Noe, 2013, p. 118)
No one method is more effective than another. A combination of techniques can provide the best overview of the problem.
            Typically a needs assessment involves analysis of the organization, personnel and tasks to be completed.
Organizational Analysis
Looks at the organization’s business strategy, its resources for training and support by managers and peers for training actions
Person Analysis
1.    Identifies if the deficiency is from lack of knowledge, skill or ability or is it lack of motivation or process issue
2.    Who is to take part in the training
3.    Are the employees ready (prior knowledge and readiness) for learning
Task Analysis
Pinpoints the tasks, knowledge, skills and behavior to be accomplished by the training
(Noe, 2013, p. 114)
            Let’s look at an example. Men’s Wearhouse “Founded in 1973, Men's Wearhouse is one of North America's largest specialty retailers of men's apparel with 1,758 stores” (Men's Warehouse, 2015). In reading through their site, customer service is a main focus of the organization. They also contribute to the community around them and the founder, George Zimmer makes it a priority to visit universities to discuss leadership, management style and organizational culture. (Men's Warehouse, 2015)For this organization, training and personal growth is part of the cultural makeup to continue being a successful business.

Organizational Analysis
Based on company literature on their website, the commitment to training and the resources to support training are clearly present and a priority in this organization. If the resolution to the issue is training, the dollars and managerial support will be provided by the members. The ID would want to look at prior data from the success and failures of prior training implemented in the organization to not only gauge the readiness of the stakeholders for the training but to plan for resistance.
Questions to ask:

Managers:
  • Do you foresee training as a tool to support and meet company goals?

Trainers:
  • In your experience, will you receive the necessary support to conduct training?

Employees:
  • In the past, has training provided to you impacted your personal growth in the organization and transform your ability to do your job?
(Noe, 2013)

Task Analysis
Men’s Wearhouse is focused on training for all levels of employees, from founder to novice. The stakeholders to analyze the need would be members of higher management to the newest employee in the particular department. A representative of each can contribute their perception of where the gap is causing the problem. Utilizing job observation, SME interviews and questionnaires could provide quality responses to identify the “pressure points” and determine if training will bring the desired outcome.
Questions to ask:

Managers:
  • Do the members to be trained have the prior knowledge and ability to perform the outcome the training is focused on?

Trainers:
  • Which type of activities will be utilized in the training to accomplish the objective and goals of the training?

Employees:
  • Are the identified goals provided by management realistic gaps in your department?
(Noe, 2013)

Person Analysis
Looking at the specified department identified for training, it is important to take it a step further and assess the skills and gaps within this smaller group of the organization. Are these gaps due to lack of knowledge and skill or does a business process need to be re-designed? Men’s Warehouse would need to use their stakeholders to gain the answers and how to proceed. With their commitment to providing customers with great service and wanting to be a core participant in the community, ensuring their employees are truly trained  and gaps are minimal would be supported by all levels of management.
Questions to ask:

Managers:
  • Which levels within the department need to be trained? Will all members, including managers need the training or core employees only?

Trainers:
  • How, as the trainer, will you identify the differentiation needs to have all members being trained be successful?

Employees:
  • Do you feel that the expectations for learning and performance are communicated clearly to you and are obtainable with the training provided to you?
  • Are you provided quality feedback to reflect on your personal growth?
(Noe, 2013)
           At the conclusion of the needs assessment, the ID will need to identify the best practices for achieving the goals outlined by the organization. What gap has been identified, are the resources being provided to design and conduct a true training, and are the identified employees to be trained ready and possess the prior knowledge to be successful in the training? Using the needs assessment analysis as the foundation to design appropriate training, the ID will combine this with the characteristics of adult learners (Stolovitch, 2011) to move forward and design training that transforms the trainee.

Resources

Men's Warehouse. (2015, July 9). Retrieved from investors: http://ir.menswearhouse.com/
Noe, R. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Stolovitch, H. &. (2011). Telling ain't training. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

3 comments:

  1. Reblogged from: http://idandtraining.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2015-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2016-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=5

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  2. Hi Rob,

    I appreciate your example of the Men's Warehouse and how ISD is applied to that example. I agree that before training is considered the appropriate solution that there should be a needs assessment performed prior. Let's say that management want to update their training to be online. When it comes to learning communities, how would you provide this same type of assessment to the online learning environment? Is there more that needs to be assessed than the typical needs assessment? If so, how will it provide you with the answer of whether the course is appropriate in an online environment?

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  3. Terri,

    The work n question is reblogged from a classmate's site. I posted on the subject of setting the stage for an online learning community in a previous post.

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