There are three types of training need analysis : organizational need analysis, job need analysis, and person need analysis.
Organizational Needs Analysis
According to many training experts, attaining the objectives of the business should be the ultimate concern of any training and development effort. Therefore, conducting an organizational needs analysis should be the first step in effective needs assessment. It begins with an examination of the short and long-term objectives of the organization and the trends that are likely to affect these objectives. It can include a human resource analysis, analysis of efficiency indexes, and an assessment of the organizational climate.
The organizational needs analysis should translate the organization’s objectives into an accurate estimate of the demand for human resources. Efficiency indexes including cost of labor, quantity of output (productivity), quality of output, waste, and equipment use and repairs can provide useful information. The organization can determine standards for these indexes and then analyze them to evaluate the general effectiveness of training programs.
Organizational analysis also can address the organization’s performance in the “softer” domains that constitute the corporate culture. For example, it may reveal a misalignment between the current value system in the organization and the values espoused by top management. Many companies today espouse values such as focusing on customers, following ethical business practices, and supporting diversity, yet behavior within these companies may fail to reflect those values. In such cases, training for everyone in the company, regardless of their specific job, may be needed.
Job Needs Analysis
The specific content of present or anticipated jobs is examined through job analysis. For existing jobs, information on the tasks to be performed (contained in job descriptions), the skills necessary to perform those tasks (drawn from job qualifications), and the minimum acceptable standards (obtained from performance appraisals) are gathered. This information can then be used to ensure that training programs are job specific and useful.
The process of collecting information for use in developing training programs is often referred to as job needs analysis. In this situation, the analysis method used should include questions specifically designed to assess the competencies needed to perform the job.
Person Needs Analysis
After information about the job has been collected, the analysis shifts to the person. A person needs analysis identifies gaps between a person’s current capabilities and those identified as necessary or desirable. Person needs analysis can be either broad or narrow in scope. The broader approach com¬pares actual performance with the minimum acceptable standards of performance. The narrower approach compares an evaluation of employee proficiency on each required skill dimension with the proficiency level required for each skill. The first method is based on the actual, current job performance of an employee; therefore, it can be used to determine training needs for the current job. The second method, on the other hand, can be used to identify development needs for future jobs.
Whether the focus is on performance of the job as a whole or on particular aspects of the job, several approaches can be used to identify the training needs of individuals :
Output Measures. Performance data (e.g., productivity, accidents, customer complaints), as well as performance appraisal ratings, can provide evidence of performance deficiencies. Person needs analysis can also consist of work sample and job knowledge tests that measure performance capability and knowledge.
Self-Assessed Training Needs. The self-assessment of training needs is growing in popularity. Here top managers require the employee and his or her supervisor to identify what the business needs are for the department and the business, as well as the skill needs and deficiencies of the individual. Self-assessment is premised on the assumption that employees, more than anyone else, are aware of their weaknesses and performance deficiencies. Therefore, they’re in the best position to identify their own training needs.
Attitude Surveys. Attitude surveys completed by a supervisor’s subordinates or by customers or by both also can provide information on training needs. For example, when one supervisor receives low scores regarding her or his fairness in treating subordinates, compared with other supervisors in the organization, the supervisor may need training in that area. Similarly, if the customers of a particular unit seem to be particularly dissatisfied com¬pared with other customers, training may be needed in that unit. Thus, customer surveys can serve a dual role: providing information to management about service and pinpointing employee deficiencies.