Essay Sample Paper on Training and Development Need Assessment

Training and Development Need Assessment

Abstract

Many governments encourage employers to carry out extensive training activities because such activities are of much significance to the economy of a particular nation. In addition, human resource institutions promote training and development activities to nurture ambition among employers and increase the demand for various skills in line with the acceptable international standards (Barbazette, 2006). This study aims at scrutinizing the instruction and development needs assessment. Training and development initiatives provide personnel with the skills set and knowledge that they require to perform their duties impeccably (Cekada, 2010). This study will begin with defining training and development, as well as needs assessment. Moreover, it will examine the reason for conducting a needs assessment, its relevance to the company, and how the needs assessment will occur in line with the set principles. In addition, the research articulates the types of training needs and the indicators of these particular training needs.

Training and Development Need Analysis

1.0. Introduction      

Bratton and Gold (2012) stated that, training refers to a content –based activity conducted by a qualified practitioner to realize a desired transformation in the behaviors of all employees. The aspect of learning is critical to the scope of the study, and learning relates to a permanent transformation of an employee’s knowledge. Moreover, learning corresponds with a change in employee’s attitudes or behaviors because of a formal education, specified training, or informal experiences (Friedman, 2009). The development also comes into play, and it refers to embraces all the initiates through which employees learn. More intently, development initiatives evaluate an employee individually to establish a customized training program that will enhance their productivity.

According to Nielsen (2014), a needs assessment refers to the process of compiling information about an expressed or implied organizational need so that the formulation of appropriate training programs can occur to meet these particular needs. Training and development initiatives are inseparable, and the scope of the study concentrates on these initiatives.The identification of a gap in terms of knowledge, skills, or attitude among the employees requires immediate training and development interventions. Such interventions ensure that the company realizes its authoritative objectives in subsequent financial years (Rizov & Richard, 2009).

2.0. Reason for Conducting Training and Development Needs Analysis

            Barbazette (2006) argued that, when conducting a needs assessment the 4Ws and H framework comes into play. It is critical to answer the familiar questions linked to why, who, how, when, and what.

  1. Why conduct the training and development? – It is crucial to relate the performance deficiency to the respective business needs. Moreover, it is prudent to establish the benefits of conducting the training and development activities rather than just solving the problems caused by performance deficiencies (Bratton & Gold, 2012). To address the why question it is critical to execute two types of analysis, which are a needs versus wants analysis and a feasibility analysis.The needs versus wants analysis focuses on identifying the training and development needs related to an organization’s business. A feasibility analysis relates the scrutiny of the costs and benefits prior to conducting the training and development program (Cekada, 2010). It focuses on analyzing the costs of the training and development activities compared with the realizable benefits.
  2. Who participates in the training and development? – The involvement of qualified instructors has to be evident (Friedman, 2009). In addition, an analysis of the company’s employees occurs to determine the various areas of deficiency and the deficient employees. Moreover, the design of a customized training and development program that captures the interest of the personnel occurs.
  3. How will the fixing of the performance deficiency occur? – Training and development can fix performance deficiencies. However, if that is not the case, it is crucial to select appropriate remedial programs (Nielsen, 2014). A performance analysis has to occur, and this refers to analyzing an employee’s performance to ascertain if it is the desired performance or not. The performance analysis determines the skill deficiencies that undergo a fixing process via the training and development activities.
  4. What is the most appropriate way to execute the training and development activities? – It is crucial to choose the most appropriate way to conduct the training and development activities so that the best outcome is evident (Rizov & Richard, 2009). More intently, it is important to consider the job performance standards applicable to the company such as the standard operating procedures (SOPs). Moreover, the training and development has to occur in line with the set government regulations. A task analysis occurs, and this refers to the determining the best method to perform the training and development activities and the sequence of steps that will be applicable (Barbazette, 2006).
  5. When will the training and development activity take place? – It is critical to ascertain the best timing for conducting the activity. Business cycles and holidays may affect the training and development activities. A contextual analysis occurs, and this analysis addresses the aspects of logistics (Bratton & Gold, 2012). The contextual analysis compiles data from previous reviews, and it articulates how, where, and when the training and development activity will occur.

3.0. The Importance of Training and Development Needs Assessment

            Cekada (2010) stated that, when a company conducts training and development needs assessment it protects its assets, and it guarantees the conservation of resources set aside for training and development purposes. Moreover, the company ensures that such resources are applicable for training and development purposes and not in other business activities. More intently, a needs assessment assists in establishing whether training and development activities are the best remedies for the performance deficiencies among employees. If enhancing the employees’ knowledge and skillset does not solve the performance gaps then training and development may not be the best solution (Friedman, 2009). When a company conducts training and development activities without being sure of the training needs the outcome will couple with wastage of time and resources. The needs assessment activities enable the organization to utilize its time and resources appropriately.

4.0. Conducting Training and Development Needs Assessments

            According to Rizov and Richard (2009),training and development needs assessment occurs in three significant phases, and these are gathering information, scrutinizing the information, and formulating a training plan. First, the company has to gather information when engaging in a needs assessment exercise.

4.1. Gathering Information

Friedman (2009) argued that, gathering information refers to the process of compiling existent information or developing new information. Gathering information assists in making appropriate decisions concerning training and development activities. The process may be formal or informal depending on the company, and various sources of information may be applicable. Such sources include performance appraisal reports, feedback from immediate supervisors, and survey questionnaires issued to employees (Barbazette, 2006). Figure 1 depicts an example of a questionnaire offered to employees during an annual training and development needs assessment. The process of gathering information incorporates three stages, and they include gathering information about the organization, the employees, and the task.

Figure 1: Annual Review Questionaire (2010). Adapted from the American Management Association.

4.1.1. Gathering Information about the Organization

            Bratton and Gold (2012) argued that, the process involves establishing the appropriateness of the training and development initiatives by reviewing the characteristics of the company. When gathering information about the organization, it is necessary to scrutinize the company’s strategy, the resources available for training and development, and the management’s support for the training activities. The training and development needs of an organization will vary depending on the organization’s strategy (Cekada, 2010). The strategy of a corporation may embrace the growing or the shrinking of personnel. It is necessary to establish this information when conducting training and development needs assessment. In addition, it is crucial to determine if the organization serves an extensive market base or a narrow market segment. Companies that operate in a niche market need to conduct subsequent updates to their training and development programs (Friedman, 2009). Such updates enable the company to update its personnel on specialized techniques in the industry. More intently, when gathering information about the company, it is crucial to ascertain if the business can support the budget and if the organization can avail qualified experts to conduct the training and development activities.

4.1.2. Gathering Information about the Employees

            According to Nielsen (2014), when analyzing the workers it is necessary to establish each employee’s needs and their readiness for the training and development activities. First, it is important to ascertain the cause of the deficiency. Moreover,  the needs assessment has to establish if the defect originates from a lack of intellect, skillset, or abilities (Rizov & Richard, 2009). In addition, this process has to determine if training and development are the best solution and if it is not, recommend other viable solutions. Secondly, it is vital to establish who needs the training and the capacity of the employees to undergo the training and development program (Barbazette, 2006). For example, in a tech savvy company when a new technology comes into play all personnel will need training. However, when a needs assessment occurs because of performance deficiencies, training and development initiatives are not always the best remedy.

            Bratton and Gold (2012) argued that, it is critical to ascertain all the aspects that influence the performance of the employees. Such elements comprise of the workers’ skills and abilities, attitudes, and their levels of motivation. The input of the company is also important because it determines the performance of the employees. Factors relating to the companies input incorporate delivery of clear instructions by management, availing adequate resources for employees, and nurturing a conducive work environment (Cekada, 2010). More intently, the training and development programs are only capable of enhancing the skills and abilities of the employees. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that there is a performance deficiency before initiating a training and development program. Employee readiness is of extreme importance, the employees have to be eager about the training and development programs, and this will guarantee favorable results after the training process.

4.1.3. Gathering Information about the Task

            Friedman (2009) stated that, Task analysis incorporates identifying the customized content of the training and development programs. In addition, it involves establishing the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that the training initiatives will emphasize. To obtain an in-depth understanding of performance deficiencies, it is vital for the training instructor/manager to familiarize with the tasks, the work environment, and the company’s employees (Nielsen, 2014). To gather adequate information about the tasks, the HR practitioner ought to examine the prevalent conditions at the company. The aspects that relate to the working condition include the available equipment, the work surrounding, the time constraints such as deadlines, the safety requirements, and the performance levels. In addition, the instructor has to establish the vitality, frequency, and complexity of the tasks by interviewing the employees, the supervisors, and various experts.

4.2. Scrutinizing the Information

According to Rizov and Richard (2009), examining the information gathered is of extreme importance in training and development needs assessments. After the gathering information, the company ought to analyze it, interpret it and draw viable conclusions from this information. It is unwise for the group to delegate fully the process of gathering and analyzing information to a trainer (Barbazette, 2006). The company ought to participate in gathering and analyzing this information so that it can realize its desired results from the training and development activities. Scrutinizing the information gathered is a collaborative process that has to include all the involved stakeholders.

4.3. Creating a Training Plan

            Bratton and Gold (2012) argued that,after scrutinizing and interpreting the information collected and drawing viable conclusions, it is critical to formulate a training and development plan. The plan will eliminate the performance deficiencies in line with the accumulated findings.

Figure 2: Jean Barbazette (2006). Training Plan Template.

5.0.Types of Training and Development Needs

            According toCekada (2010), the types of training and development include knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Knowledge is of much significance, and the creation, management, and use of knowledge are critical to the success of all companies. Moreover, many companies are dependent on the knowledge base of their employees. It is crucial for human resource frameworks to update the knowledge structures among employees by nurturing an effective training and development needs assessment structure. Knowledge incorporates comprehension application, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis (Friedman, 2009). Skills also come into play because knowledge by itself is not sufficient to guarantee the utmost levels of performance.

Nielsen (2014) stated that, training and development needs analysis must examine the aspect of skills to ascertain if the employees’ output levels are in line with the performance criteria of the company. The aspects of attitude are also important, an attitude is a mental state of an employee, and it can be positive or negative. More importantly, the employees’ attitudes influence their levels of motivation, and this has a direct impact on the performance levels (Rizov & Richard, 2009). Training and development needs assessments must ensure that the employees nurture attitudinal commitment, and if some workers’ attitudes are negative prompt remedial action should be evident.

6.0. Indicators of Training Needs

  1. Output- If the output is below the required threshold there is an urgent need for a training and development program at the company (Barbazette, 2006). Factors that may cause poor output attribute to limited supervision, meager technical skills, lack of information sharing, and so forth.
  2. Different standards- In instances whereby the standards of performance vary significantly among similar groups of employees; it is likely that the company requires a training and development program (Bratton & Gold, 2012). More precisely, the determination of the cause of the differences must occur, and the remedial action executed.
  3. Deadline management- If employees encounter difficulties in meeting set deadlines it is crucial to initiate a training and development framework. Moreover, the training and development initiatives should train staff to nurture time management skills (Cekada, 2010).
  4. High levels of turnover and absenteeism- A high turnover and absenteeism indicates that the working conditions are poor. Moreover, they also indicate deficient managerial skills in particular departments (Friedman, 2009). In such cases, it is crucial for the concerned managers to undergo appropriate training and development programs.
  5. Excessive Delays- Increased delays indicate in operational procedures indicate a deficiency in knowledge and skills (Nielsen, 2014). In such a situation, it is imperative to formulate a training and development programs in a swift manner.
  6. Excessive Complaints- Complaints from several influential customers are a clear indication of the need for training and development programs (Bratton& Gold, 2012).

7.0. Conclusion

            Friedman (2009) stated that, training and development needs assessments occur to establish the type and scope of resources required to support a training program. The assessment of needs related to training and development is therefore the  initial step of creating an adequate training and development framework (Cekada, 2010). More intently, activities attributed to training and development of needs assessment enable managers to reach out to many employees in the company. Hence, in this process, the rejuvenation of the company drastically increases, and this guarantees the realization of the company’s authoritative objects.

References

Barbazette, J. (2006). Training needs assessment: Methods, tools, and techniques. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2012). Human resource management: Theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.

Cekada, T. L. (2010). Training Needs Assessment. Professional Safety, 55(3), 28-33.

Friedman, B. A. (2009). Human Resource Management Role Implications for Corporate Reputation. Corporate Reputation Review, 12(3), 229-244.

Nielsen, P. A. (2014). Performance Management, Managerial Authority, and Public Service Performance. Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, 24(2), 431-458.

Rizov, M., & Richard, C. (2009). Human resource management and performance in European firms. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 33(2), 253-272.