Part 2: Conduct a Needs Assessment
Training and development processes begin with a needs assessment. Given the economic pressures that businesses face today, it is imperative that those needs be connected to specific organizational performance issues. There are three different forms of analysis you will need to complete.
1. Organizational analysis involves determining the appropriateness of training given the organization’s business strategy, its resources available for training, and support by managers and peers for training activities.
2. Person analysis involves (1) determining whether performance deficiencies result from a lack of knowledge, skill, or ability (a training issue) or from a motivational or work-design problem; (2) identifying who needs training; and (3) determining employees’ readiness for training.
3. Task analysis identifies the important tasks and knowledge, skill, and behaviors that need to be emphasized in training for employees to complete their tasks.
Hints for a Successful Needs Assessment
As you conduct your needs assessment, you may want to consider four potential sources of information that may help you in your analysis. Information such as employee turnover analysis, incident reports, long-range production goals, employee satisfaction studies, and physical plant layout can tell us a lot. Examples of other documents you may wish to consider include the following.
· Business documents: Key business documents can be used to determine areas of poor performance and developmental needs. Such documents may include
1. unit productivity reports;
2. customer satisfaction surveys;
3. communication survey reports; and
4. competitive analysis reports.
· Organization survey: Questionnaires can be created that probe for areas in which systems, structures, or processes are not functioning as intended. They can be used to look toward group, departmental, or individual issues. (Submit your survey to be used for gathering data by the end of Week 3—70 points.)
Potential questions include the following.
1. I am involved in decisions that directly affect my job.
2. My supervisor communicates with me on a regular basis.
3. I clearly understand what is expected of me.
4. I am rewarded for good performance.
5. My opinion has been asked regarding what needs to change in my work area.
6. I understand why the decisions that affect my job are made.
7. My supervisor gives me information that is important to me.
8. I have the skills necessary to perform my job properly.
9. I am rewarded for working well with others.
10. I receive frequent feedback on my performance.
11. I believe the information that I receive from my supervisor.
12. I have the tools necessary to perform my job properly.
13. My job leaves me with a sense of accomplishment.
14. I understand the information that I receive from my organization.
15. I am encouraged to make decisions that affect my job.
16. I am encouraged to communicate with my supervisor.
17. Team goals are supported throughout my organization.
18. My organization treats all employees well.
19. I have the information necessary to make decisions that affect my job.
20. I am encouraged to communicate with others.
21. The feedback that I receive is directly related to my job performance.
22. My organization treats all employees fairly.
23. My supervisor allows me to communicate my thoughts without fear of reprisal.
24. The feedback that I receive is constructive in nature.
25. My organization is interested in the growth and development of its employees.
26. I believe the information that I receive from my organization.
· Observations: Individuals can be observed on the job, and their interactions and activities can be noted for further analysis. Observations can include the following.
· Interviews: Interviews can be conducted in person or via a distributed questionnaire that probes for areas where performance may be improved. Potential interview questions include the following.
1. What do you think the most important part of your job is? What is least important?
2. What would you like to learn to make your job easier or better? What are the programs, processes, or resources available for you to learn from?
3. How have you developed the skills that you have?
4. Who brings problems to you and what kind of problems are they? How do you usually solve them? Whom do you ask for help?
5. What do you find most frustrating about your job?
6. What would you like to be spending your time doing? What would need to happen to let you do that?
It is up to you to determine the methodology to be used in conducting the assessment. Considerations should include the willingness of the organization and its employees to provide information, the availability of information from the organization to be studied, and the availability of individuals in the organization to be interviewed and observed.
The nature of the needs analysis, of course, also should be based on the type of assessment desired. Given the broad coverage of the course, assessment may include, but would not be limited to, the following.
1. Group processes and group effectiveness
2. Departmental effectiveness
3. Decision-making process effectiveness
4. Individual skills development
5. Group skills development
6. Career development
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