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Conduct a Simple Training Needs Assessment

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Four employees in casual business attire are working together at a flip chart in an office

Training Needs Assessment Is Easy When You Gather the Team

Copyright Lise Gagne
Want to quickly learn the training needs of a group of employees who have similar jobs? Yet, you don't want to develop and implement a survey, put the questions in a computer program, or run analyses on demographic information you collect.

This training needs assessment works best in small to mid-sized organizations. It will give you a quick assessment of the training needs of an employee group.

This training needs assessment helps find common training programs for a group of employees.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Approximately 1-2 hours

Here's How:

  1. The facilitator gathers all employees who have the same job in a conference room with a white board or flip charts and markers.

  2. Ask each employee to write down their ten most important training needs. Emphasize that the employees should write specific needs. Communication or team building are such broad training needs, as an example, that you would need to do a second training needs assessment on each of these topics. How to give feedback to colleagues or how to resolve a conflict with a coworker are more specific training needs.

  3. Then, ask each person to list their ten training needs. As they list the training needs, the facilitator captures the training needs on the white board or flip chart. Don't write down duplicates but do confirm by questioning that the training need that on the surface appears to be a duplicate, really is an exact duplicate.

  4. When all training needs have been listed, use a weighted voting process to prioritize the training needs across the group. In a weighted voting process, you use sticky dots or numbers written in magic marker (not as much fun) to vote on and prioritize the list of training needs. Assign a large dot 25 points and smaller dots five points each. Distribute as many dots as you like. Tell needs assessment participants to place their dots on the chart to vote on their priorities.

  5. List the training needs in order of importance, with the number of points assigned as votes determining priority, as determined by the sticky dot voting process. Make sure you have notes (best taken by someone on their laptop while the process is underway) or the flip chart pages to maintain a record of the training needs assessment session.

  6. Take time, or schedule another session, to brainstorm the needed outcomes or goals from the first 3-5 training sessions identified in the needs assessment process. This will help as you seek and schedule training to meet the employees' needs. You can schedule more brainstorming later, but I generally find that you need to redo the needs assessment process after the first few training sessions.

  7. Note the number one or two needs of each employee, that may not have become the priorities for the group. Try to build that training opportunity into the employee's performance development plan.

Tips:

  1. Training Needs Assessment can be, and often needs to be, much more complicated than this. But, this is a terrific process for a simple training needs assessment.
  2. Make sure you keep the commitments generated by the training needs assessment process. Employees will expect to receive their key identified training sessions with the brainstormed objectives met.
  3. More About Training

What You Need

  • Conference Room
  • Flip Chart or White Board and Markers
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