- Process of Conducting Training Needs Assessment
- The purpose of conducting a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) is to determine whether certain needs exist in the organization, and the training needed to fill any existing gaps.
- TNA seeks to identify precisely the levels of the existing situation in the organization based on the target surveys, interview, observation, and secondary data
- The existing gap between the current situation and the desired situation may signify the presence of problems that can be transformed into training needs (Barbazette, 2005).
Steps of Training Needs Assessment
- Identify existing problem and needs
- Determine whether the sales force require training
- Identify Organization Setting, such as policies, goals, and responsibilities
- Determine the framework of needs assessment
- Identify the persons that require training
- Identify the interviewees
- Identify the survey methods
- Establish the training schedule
- Data Collection
- Review records on the current training
- Conduct survey including interviews and work monitoring
- Data Analysis
- Conduct quantitative and qualitative assessment
- Submit findings/ conclusions/recommendations
- Submit Report
- Submit a concise report to the organization’s management
- Identify the next steps needed for training the sales force
- Possible Impediments
a) The training professionals may lack the needed business insight, expertise and knowledge to precisely evaluate the training needs (McConnell, 2003).
b) Lack of the right resources, tools and time to efficiently evaluate training needs
The organization should engage training professionals that possess business insight, especially those capable of communicating using the business language. This is very important in training the sales forces about the training needs required to address the genuine issues affecting the welfare of the organization. The training department may also include coaching as a role of the needs assessment to know the challenges that the employees face on a daily basis. This may help trainers acquire business acumen and establish relationships with the management to enhance cooperation and teamwork. In simple terms, the training professionals should know how to carry out the needs assessment. Irrespective of whether the training department teams up with the HR team to evaluate the welfare of the employees, the trainer should know the needs of the organization and the approach required to address the issues identified. Furthermore, the organization should also ensure that the training is equipped with the necessary resources and tools needed to conduct the training (Vaishali & Mohit, 2004).
- The feasibility of TNA approach
Besides conducting the needs assessment and providing training to the sales forces based on the identified gaps, it is important to determine the feasibility of the Training Needs Assessment. The purpose of conducting the feasibility study in this case is to determine whether the benefits of training outweigh the costs incurred. The training costs may take into account the expenses involved in assessing the training needs, the cost of designing the training and the cost of acquiring the instructor materials. It is the responsibility of the trainer to determine whether the costs involved are worth the expected benefits. Therefore, the feasibility study of the training needs assessment starts by first identifying whether the sales force or rather the trainees possess the product knowledge. In other words, this type of assessment is known as the personal assessment (Iglicki, 2012).
The trainer should assess the communication skills that the trainees possess. It is important to determine whether the trainees can communicate with the customers using the business language. Another type of feasibility study that the trainer should conduct is the assessment of the organization. The organization needs assessment focuses on two major sections. The first section is the essential skills assessment which looks at the skills gaps that impact the performance of the organization. The trainer should ascertain that the gaps identified during the needs assessment have been sufficiently addressed. The second section of the organization needs assessment is the evaluation of the result chart. The result chart helps in identifying the fundamental skills required by the sales force. The essence of training the sales force is to eliminate the existing gap by equipping the trainees with relevant knowledge and skills and empowering them to establish and improve their abilities (Vaishali & Mohit, 2004).
- Needs assessment is critical to the development of the training program
A training needs assessment is the best approach that the organization can use to affirm and authenticate the need, objective, extent and target persons for the training program. Therefore, TNA can either be proactive or reactive. In either of the cases, the objective of the TNA is to discover the performance issues that require immediate attention by either implementing or reinforcing a specific and measurable set of skills and knowledge. As such, a needs assessment helps to develop a strategic analysis of future needs of the organization that will need new abilities and competencies (Vaishali & Mohit, 2004). Irrespective of whether the TNA is proactive or reactive, it helps in determining the following:
a) The organization has identified and verified the existence of a performance issue that is remediable through training
b) The issue is critical enough and requires proper analysis and subsequent solution
c) The organization has already identified the suitable target persons to solve the issue
Barbazette, J. (2005).The Trainer’s Journey to Competence: Tools, Assessments and Models, San Francisco: Pfeiffer
Iglicki, D. (2012). Hurdles To Accurate Assessment Of Training Needs Within Organizations: The Evolution. Retrieved from: https://evolllution.com/opinions/hurdles-to-accurate- assessment-of- training-needs-within-organizations/
McConnell, J.H. (2003). “How to Identify Your Organization’s Training Needs: A Practical Guide to Needs Analysis”. New York: AMACOM
Vaishali, D.K.K., Mohit, P., (2004). “Competency Mapping Based Training Need Assessment: An Empirical Investigation”, Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective, 8 (1) pp. 69- 80.