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Dear Workforce How Do I Develop a Needs-Analysis Template

I recently was put in charge of plantwide training for our manufacturing company. Internal training is critical for us. How do I develop a needs-analysis template or a general guideline to help supervisors/managers identify performance gaps?

September 7, 2011

Dear Internalizing:

Underpinning training with a needs analysis ensures that you will see real value from the time and money you spend. Think of a needs analysis as a blueprint for getting the results you want out of a training initiative.

Two types of information should intersect: 1) information about the job, and 2) information about the individual employee. In other words, look at what it takes to perform a job effectively and consider it in light of an individual's ability to perform.

Part one involves conducting a thorough job analysis or study of each of the jobs in question. Here's where you determine the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies required to perform the job. It's also where you pinpoint specific employee goals.

Next, take a look at each individual's performance relative to job requirements. The best way to collect this data is to use a special form designed for highlighting individual training needs for a specific job. There are other ways of collecting this data, including performance appraisals, but be aware that the information may no longer be relevant, accurate or up-to-date.

To make it relevant and effective, aneeds-analysis form should document a set of ideal performance benchmarks for the person. These benchmarks should spring from your analysis of the specific job. That way, you'll know what to expect once the employee is fully trained. Put another way, you'll have documentation of the employee's expected performance level.

Also, make sure the form includes room to document each employee's present performance or ability level relative to job requirements. Looking at each of these pieces of information side by side gives a snapshot of the type oftraining needed by each employee.

Comparing this data is important on several levels. For instance, although the form provides information on individual training needs, it also could help identify wider skills gaps in your organization. Use the information to develop (or purchase) training programs that have a broad-based impact.

SOURCE: Charles A. Handler, Ph.D., PHR,Rocket-Hire, New Orleans, July 26, 2004.

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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