Methods for Conducting Training Need Analysis – Part 5

Methods for Conducting Training Need Analysis - Part 5

In this beginner’s series, we’ve discussed what training needs analysis is, its benefits, levels, and the steps to conduct Training Needs Analysis. When you consider any training program for your organization, the first step you need to take is Training Needs Analysis. So far we’ve understood that Training Needs Analysis helps identify performance needs, which can be addressed by training to meet organizational goals. Ultimately, this results in improving the productivity, profits, and service quality of an organization.

Identifying training needs is a process of information gathering. Data collection is instrumental in understanding how each employee’s knowledge, skills, and abilities can formulate varied performances.

This part of the series details four methods for conducting Training Needs Analysis. It explains the benefits and limitations of each. My next blog will cover 6 more methods.

1. Surveys

You can conduct surveys or polls with a sample pool or all the employees of your organization. Surveys help find out performance deficiencies in specific areas. To conduct a survey, you can prepare a questionnaire and circulate among your employees. The questions in the survey should focus on the specific tasks and needs of the employees and organization. You can use different question formats such as open-ended, closed ended, projective, and priority ranking. Allowing employees to answer anonymously will increase the credibility and you will get genuine answers.

Pros and Cons of Surveys
Pros Cons
Reach a large number of employees in less time May not go deep into the reasons behind the persistent issues
Inexpensive Need enough time to develop an effective and detailed questionnaire
In case of anonymity, responses are given without fear and hesitation Free responses might not be forthcoming
Easy to analyze, summarize, and report  
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 2. Observations

Training managers watch the work of employees in regular working situations. This observation, in turn, provides enough information on performance gaps. You need to consider technical, functional, and behavioral aspects while observing. This gives qualitative and quantitative feedback on the existing performance.

Pros and Cons of Observations
Pros Cons
Less interruption to regular work flow Feedback can be unstructured; more anecdotal
Helps generate real-life data Need an impartial, expert observer with process and domain knowledge
  Data collection possible only in work settings
  Employees may feel “spied on”
  Sometimes results may deviate when observation is ON

 3. Interviews

Interviews allow you to collect data on performance gaps while talking with each employee or a group of employees. It can be formal or informal. You can conduct interviews in person or by phone, at work locations, or anywhere. Sometimes, you can interview the representative of the work group.

Pros and Cons of Interviews
Pros Cons
Easy to identify performance issues and explore possible solutions Usually time-consuming
Immediate feedback is possible Difficult to analyze and quantify results
  Need an experienced interviewer to generate data without making the interviewee self-conscious

4. Customer Feedback

You will come to know performance deficiencies with customers’ feedback. They specifically indicate improvement areas. However, you need to formulate each question in the feedback form so that it is directed toward a specific service or performance.

Pros and Cons of Customer Feedback
Pros Cons
Can make improvements with constructive feedback Low response rates
Get valuable insights about your target audience May not give enough time for feedback

When you analyze training needs through these methods, you can decide which particular knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) are required to improve workforce performance.

Six more methods for conducting Training Needs Analysis in my next blog.

Till then, try these methods and do let us know your views.

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