On the job observation
SME interviews/Focus Groups
Historical data review
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.
Looks at the organization’s business strategy, its resources for training and support by managers and peers for training actions
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
Pinpoints the tasks, knowledge, skills and behavior to be accomplished by the training
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.