Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Identifying training requirements

Training is an expensive process not only in terms of the money spent on it but also the time and
the other resources spent on the same. The most important question therefore is determining
whether or not a need for training actually exists and whether the intervention will contribute to
the achievement of organisational goal directly or indirectly? The answer to the above mentioned
question lies in ‘training needs analysis’ which is the first step in the entire process of training and
development.

Training requirement or need analysis is a systematic process of understanding training
requirements. It is conducted at three stages – at the level of organisation, individual and the
job, each of which is called as the organisational, individual and job analysis. Once these
analyses are over, the results are collated to arrive upon the objectives of the training program.

Another view of the training need is that, it is the discrepancy between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’. Taking cues from this the world bank conducted a needs analysis and arrived upon the conclusion that many of its units in eastern regions of Europe required transformation from state owned business to self-sustaining organisations. A number of universities were then contacted to develop the necessary modules and conduct the training upon the same.

Although each step in the entire training process is unique in its own, needs analysis is special in
that it lays the foundation for the kind of training required. The assessment gives insight into what
kind of intervention is required, knowledge or skill or both. In certain cases where both of these
are present and the performance is still missing then the problem may be motivational in nature. It thus highlights the need and the appropriate intervention which is essential to make the training
effective.

Any company delving into training and development of its workforce should first learn how to properly
identify and assess training needs. This is the single most important thing that helps executives to
address the gaps between the existing training and training which will be required in the future. Here’sa brief overview of three different needs managers should look at and three assessment methods for identifying key training needs at any organization.

Industry-related needs

Those are quite simple, but it can still be challenging to narrow them down when formulating your training program. There surely exists certain pieces of industry knowledge that employees should have. This need essentially derives from how the organization fits into the industry.

For example, a manufacturing group which creates parts for high-tech appliances may require the
knowledge about where those parts go, what kind of appliances they structure, and how the
manufacturing of those appliances coordinated by other companies affects the industry as a whole.
When assessing this need, know how to differentiate what needs to be known from what would be nice
to know.

Job-related needs

Job related needs are those that relate directly to jobs which are part of the organization. How to look for job-related needs? By researching whether there’s training available for certain jobs. If not, organizations might create a complete training program for a job. The purpose of job-related needs is to improve the final output of the job itself. It can be building an error-free part for a technological appliance or a completed call with a customer. The key is to identify which aspects of the job belong to executive positions and which ones are related to on-the-job training.

Task-related needs

A task-related need usually comes in the form of a requirement in a particular part or output within a job or job family. Just consider your own job – it’s a combination of different tasks and processes that create your job on a daily to yearly basis. This is something that all jobs share.Sometimes one or more aspects of a job aren’t working and affect the overall productivity of a worker. Consider this example – a customer service representative performs well in sales and customer satisfaction, but when it comes to data inputs into the CRM system, they’re pretty hopeless. This problem might affect contact with the customers or even the number of closed sales.

Assessment methods

•   Organizational perspective: This kind of assessment is focused on the effectiveness of the
        enterprise as a whole. It aims to identify any discrepancies, revealing the knowledge and skills
        required to bridge gaps. Organizational assessments analyze factors like the economy, new
        environmental policies and changing workforce demographics. These assessments determine
        which parts of the organization require training and whether it will fill the gaps when
        implemented.

•   Task-related perspective: Task assessments compile information about a particular job
      function. It’s an analysis that identifies key tasks, competencies and skills that are required to
      perform the job efficiently. It’s based on detailed job descriptions, skill analyses and inventory
      questionnaires which is how key training needs can be pinpointed. Enterprises undergoing
      restructuring or taking on a new direction can greatly benefit from this assessment. It basically
      determines whether there are any gaps between existing competencies and those required for
      improved performance.

•   Individual assessment: The individual assessment looks at particular employees to discover
      their level of performance. This analysis identifies the existing skills and qualifications, as well
      as capacity for learning. Individual assessment will show who needs training and what kind of
      training is needed most. It uncovers the strengths of employees and areas for competency
      improvement.

Focus on each kind of training need before moving forward and determining the best course of action
for the enterprise. Each assessment will help you improve different aspects of the organization and
build specific training programs to address important gaps and boost the effectiveness of the company.

The process of needs assessment happens at three stages or levels, the organisational, the job and
the person or the individual. This is the basis for any needs assessment survey and remains the
same more or less in all organisations around the globe. There are however many techniques for
collecting the data for training need analysis. This article discusses some of the methods used for
the same.

The needs assessment conducted at various stages tries to answer a different set of questions.
Organisational analysis, for example, aims at the ‘where in the organisation’ of the training. Person
analysis similarly attempts to decipher the question of ‘Whom in the organisation’. There are
therefore various instruments or techniques that are used to collect data for the analysis at each
stage.

Techniques for collecting data at Organisational Level

As discussed already, in organisational analysis we try to ascertain the areas in the organisation that require training interventions. For example, among the various kinds of interventions that organisations chose it was found out managerial training is picking up fast among corporations and also that managerial competencies amount for 98% of success in the jobs.

Personnel and skill inventories, organisational climate and efficiency indices, Management
requests, Exit interviews, management by objectives (MBO) are the various kinds of techniques
that are used at the level of organisational analysis for collecting data for training needs analysis.

Essentially all these tools collect data that is inferential in nature, but does not give a clear picture of the training needs. For example, the above mentioned tools may lead an organisation to deduce that ‘there is a need for aligning the work processes with the organisational goals / objectives’, which is not very rich diagnostically. It may require further analysis, which is done with the help of tools at the level of Job or the task.

The techniques for data collection at the level of the job include job description, performance
standards, work sampling, job specifications, job literature analysis, and analysis of
operational problems among others. These techniques are aimed at extracting data for
understanding the target of training i.e. what exactly should be taught in training. Time
management may be may be one critical intervention in project handling / management.

These techniques at the level of job are useful but yet not sufficient in helping understand who requires training and when. Taking the above example further, time management may be a critical intervention for Projects people, but there may already be some who are very efficient in time management and may require the intervention at other level, which is only possible to ascertain with the help of techniques used at the level of the individual or the person.

Training may prove worthless if it is conducted without studying individual data. Every
member in a team is unique and works as well as performs at a certain level (n). There may be
others who are at (n+1) or (n-1) or more. Thus, the same intervention may halt the progress of a
certain individual and finally the organisation. There are therefore certain tools that help in
deciding interventions at the individual level. Performance appraisal data, questionnaires, attitude
surveys, 360 degree feedback, assessment centres, critical incidents are some techniques that are
employed to a good benefit.

All these techniques are integral to the success of any training program. Although each one of
these may be used independently but the combined use offers a holistic view of training within an
organisation !

ACTIVITY 7.3

1.   Explain the concept of training requirement and need analysis.

2.   Discuss the organizational and industry related requirement of training.

3.   Explain the Assessment methods.

4.   Identify the technique of collecting data at organizational level.

5.   Write a note on task related need.