Dear Workforce How Do We Get Relevant Insight on Our Training Needs?

By Staff Report

Oct. 30, 2008

Dear Reliable Info Needed:

My experience is that running a quick-and-dirty survey will give you quick-and-dirty results. Employees will give you what they want (or what they think they want) instead of what the organization needs. When time is tight and supervisors are pushing them to “get the job done,” only the brave and underutilized employees wind up attending. An all-too-common gripe is: “We organized what employees asked for, but then nobody turned up.”

If this approach has worked for you in the past—or you have lots of idle money looking for a change of hands—then use the employee survey approach. Another approach that will get to the real needs, however, is to sit down with supervisors and managers (individually or in a group meeting) to identify the burning skill deficiencies that are holding your organization back.

To structure the discussion, spend time discussing (1) current operational issues and (2) future strategic directions. You should end up with a list of needs in one or more of the following areas:

  • Management, leadership and supervision skills.
  • Soft skills, such as communication and conflict resolution.
  • Regulatory compliance, such as environment, health and safety.
  • HR processes, such as performance management.
  • Business skills, such as strategy, planning and process improvement.
  • Technical line and staff skills, such as telephone etiquette and inventory management.

You can make sure that training fills a real need by getting together with managers and engaging in a two-way dialogue. Surveying employees or their managers is one-way communication, and the time they spend on the survey will be the quick five minutes available between other more “important” jobs.

SOURCE: Les Allan, Business Performance, Melbourne, Australia, July 22, 2008

LEARN MORE: The archive contains tips and other information on how to analyze training needs, including tying training to business goals.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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