In speaking with a lot of different organizations and government bodies about training on a daily basis, each one approaches this topic differently. But they tend to fall into two categories when it comes to employee development: reactive or proactive. While there is always a need for “as needed” training, the most successful are preparing their training plans well in advance. As such, I consistently coach my clients to be proactive in identifying current and future goals for their skilled employee base. This is the reason New Horizons developed a free resource that helps organizations align their training plans to the actual needs and wants of their employees.
1.) Start with Training Surveys
Questionnaires allow all employees to contribute their perspective in the direction of training plans without any one voice drowning out the others. Useful in giving a 10,000 foot view of training needs, but the data returned may not represent the most important needs to the bottom line.
What is a Training Needs Survey?
The New Horizons Training Needs Analysis Survey is an electronic reporting tool at no cost to you that can be customized to any organization. It gives our clients a detailed synopsis of where the most pressing training needs are based on employee feedback. Here are a few of the benefits of conducting a Needs Analysis:
Smarter Budget Planning
Nobody has the budget they wish they had. Our clients’ number one challenge to improve the skillsets of their staff is simply getting funding. Conducting a survey of staff needs has allowed many of our partner organizations to justify their budget requests, or even helped them use government funding to cover the cost of training.
More Efficient Use of Time and Resources
There are a lot of moving parts to coordinating training. Some organizations choose to send their employees to out of state training or conferences. Costs for these events pile on, but we often don’t think about the time and energy that goes into planning. Conducting a survey allows managers the ability to account for logistics before they become issues.
Better Employee Feedback for their Training
Empowering employees to have a say in their future within the company has proven to increase morale and improve employee retention. Some of our customers have been able to build employee development plans for three years out.
One satisfied customer:
“Identifying the strengths, weaknesses, and goals of each individual on my team was proving to be a more difficult task than anticipated. New Horizons was able to support us by customizing a Training Needs Analysis Survey that identified the levels of experience and responsibilities across the team. They then recommended a personalized development path for each employee. The data I received allowed me to strategically align my budget to the most important needs and show our employees a clear vision of their professional development targets.”
Barry Dieser, Director of IT, Jensen Precast
2.) Conduct Leadership and Management Interviews
Individual discussions with business leaders in the organization. Connecting the dots between what training is nice-to-have and what is need-to have for the goals of the organization. Great for identifying perceived problems, but can be “misdiagnosed” by managers.
3.) Engage in Targeted Focus Group Interviews
An extension of interviews, focus groups involve a small group discussion conducted by an experienced facilitator. The group process, where participants stimulate the ideas of others, is effective in generating qualitative data, but alone would not yield the best quantitative data.
While most organizations can uncover enough data to start building a Training Strategy through the three-pronged approach of 1) Surveys, 2) Interviews and 3) Focus Groups, some may opt to go further:
Unbiased review of documentation on business processes and standards can uncover training needs that were previously considered “solved.”
Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is the study of what people know, how they think, how they organize information, and how they learn when pursuing an outcome they are trying to achieve. Through outside observation of participants, CTA can be used to define and improve performance.
Within employee performance reviews is a wealth of information on the skill gaps of individuals. When assessed in the larger scale, organizational training needs become more pronounced.
Incorporating skills assessments before and after training programs can ensure quantitative and qualitative results are measured.
Some organizations will create internal or external advisory committees to continually assess the effectiveness of training initiatives. The benefit of NHLG is that we have a built-in advisory committee of like minded customers.
4) Work with Outside Organization for Results
Having an outside organization conduct the surveys and interviews can help produce truer results. This is because people will feel more comfortable giving answers and information that they may be reluctant to share without a third party mediator. In addition, outside organizations can provide unbiased analysis of the data.
New Horizons Contribution to Your Budget
When you use the training needs survey, you are also eligible to have New Horizons contribute up to 40% to your training budget. This is through the use of Learning Credits. These are great for those who need flexible and diverse training solutions. With diverse work forces, skills and responsibilities one solution just doesn’t fit your organizational needs.
Connect to Understand You
You know your organization, and we know employee development through training. Together we can get to the real issues, identify areas of improvement and being to build a solution right for you and your organization.
Explore Goal & Outlines for Your Organization
Our success is measured by your success. We can identify what goals and outcomes are important to you, from employee engagement & retention, to certification, to growing your organization in line with key initiatives.
Advise & Implement Training Plan
Whether its one course, or a company wide project, we have the experts, support and local presence to help you coordinate training on any scale. You know where your organization needs to go, we’ll help you get there.
Ongoing Commitment to Success
Learning never stops, and neither does our partnership. With over 30 million students trained, we draw on that experience to help you. Ultimately, were here to help give your people and your organization sustainable forward momentum.