The Importance of an Organizational Training Needs Assessment

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How important is organizational training needs assessment?

Training is pretty vital in most leadership roles nowadays, and with technology and business culture ever more quickly evolving, this is just going to continue for some time. The difficulty is that planning organizational training is a bit of a science, and one made of yet smaller and complex sciences and disciplines. As a manager, this puts a lot of pressure on you that once was more of a non issue. You cannot overcome the need for you as a leader to be a teacher. However, you can embrace this and just master organizational training to an acceptable level. This isn’t so bad, and it’s a useful tool, so ultimately, you come out on top for it either way. The thing is, it involves a lot of sociodynamics, psychology and grasp of information flow. This is a lot of strategizing to be working through, and without the proper goals and metrics in place to start with, you’re up a creek. This is where organizational training needs assessment comes in as a good solid first step. With this assessment, you can overview individuals, groups and the entire organization as gradually larger units. With various assessment methods, you can determine what individuals need to learn what, and how you can use the nature of these entities to the advantage in learning. It also gives you a good grasp of the way the various entities view the acquisition of knowledge. When some employees or groups aren’t enthusiastic of learning for the value of knowledge, this poses obstacles for the trainer. Knowing these ahead of time saves a lot of grief. This also leads to the creation of established goals. You know now what needs to be learned by various entities. You can then forecast the completion of all of these needs as a unified goal from start to finish. From here, metrics about what should be learned where, and how small the units of increment may be, allows you to plan out for time and requirements much more clearly. With clear goals and metrics, you can now begin to plan a strategy model that allows for these goals appropriately timed, as well as one that caters to the attitudes and strengths and weaknesses of the entities you have assessed. With this, a solid strategy will become obvious, with minor adjustment, and if you follow your plans, they should actually work. Reading case studies and the like on this is a good way to see how people have used this assessment as a launch in the direction of planning strategies. You can then learn from them in how to go about implementing these strategies, and see what some of them are. I recommend looking into gamification, as it’s garnering a lot of attention these days and for good reason. Of course, the strategy can really be anything that seems to accomplish those goals and dynamics. The key to being able to do this easily, versus how it usually seems difficult, is in using organizational training needs assessment as your first step.
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog