Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the importance of needs analysis, part of Instructional Design Essentials: Needs Analysis.
A good needs analysis can save you time and money while improving results. I once helped a client cut their new hire training time by 50%. Despite less training, employees performed much better after completing the new program. Now, I wish I could tell you it's because I'm some sort of training wizard, but the secret was really just a good needs analysis. The analysis revealed that the old program provided too much training on skills that were rarely used, but didn't provide enough training on skills that were essential.
This insight made it possible to adjust the program so that new employees got the right training on the right skills. The bottom line for the client was a training program that was faster, cheaper, and better. A needs analysis can also helps us take a vague training request and turn it into a program that really improves employee performance. Here's an example of a training request I received. >> Hi, Jeff. You're probably aware that HR is rolling out a new interviewing process next month. The supervisors in my region could really use some extra help with this.
Could you put together a two-hour interviewing skills class? I don't have much of a budget, although I can probably help with travel and facilities costs. Thanks, Stacie Jones, Vice President, Midwest Region. >> What would you do if your were me and you received this email? Would you Google interview skills training? Maybe buy a book on interviewing skills. Perhaps you'd dust off an old PowerPoint from a previous job. The correct answer is none of the above.
Your next step should be conducting a needs analysis. This will help you find out what specific training the supervisors in Stacie's region are going to need. We can start this process by making a list of what we know already. Right now, that list is pretty short. We know the request is for interviewing skills training and the audience is Midwest region supervisors. There's a few constraints as well. It's gotta be two hours long. We've got one month for development time and there's practically no budget.
Okay, this list is helpful, but we still don't the answers to some critical questions. What specific interviewing skills do the supervisors need to be trained on? Do all of the supervisors have the same training needs, or are they different? For example, is there a difference between new and experienced supervisors? How will we know if this training program is successful? A needs analysis can help us answer these questions before we start designing a training program. We can also expand the impact of training through good up front analysis.
It helps us answer key questions such as: Why is the training necessary? How will the training impact employee performance? And, how can the training improve business results? Your training can really make an impact if you can answer these questions. This course will take you step by step through conducting a needs analysis. We'll use the interviewing skills training request from Stacie as an example along the way, so you can see how a project like this might unfold. I'll also provide plenty of other examples and give you tools you can use to conduct your own needs analysis.
Here are the major steps we'll cover. Setting clear goals, gathering data, and analyzing data. I'll also show you how to create a training needs analysis document and present it to project sponsors like Stacie. After all, it's the sponsors that are paying for the project, so we've gotta keep them happy. This course will cover a lot. So you might find it helpful to download the learning plan worksheet and use it to identify your personal goals for this training. Having this list of goals will make it easier to spot the specific concepts that are most important to you.
It will also help you make decisions about how to apply these concepts to your own work.
- Setting project objectives
- Identifying the target audience for training
- Selecting data sources
- Facilitating focus groups and interviews
- Designing effective surveys
- Identifying participant needs
- Defining learning outcomes
- Presenting results to project sponsors