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How to Identify Your Organization’s Training Needs Before Revising a Training Program

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One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when creating a new training program is failing to get specific about the program’s purpose and goals before starting the instructional design process.

Training has always been an important part of employee development and organizational growth. However, as the influence of technology causes our economy and marketplace to evolve at an exponential pace, ongoing training programs have an even more critical role to play in keeping employees up-to-date on the latest developments and best practices.

Employers must revise training programs more frequently now than they ever have before. But in order to develop an effective training program that achieves the desired performance outcomes, you must start from a place of clarity regarding your specific challenges and objectives.

Next time you sit down with your learning and development team to revise a training program or develop a new one, incorporate the steps outline below into your design process in order to design training that addresses your organization’s specific training needs. 

Steps for Identifying Organizational Training Needs

  1. Crowdsource. Don’t just try to guess at the challenges facing your workforce based on current trends or reports. Schedule time to sit down with employees at each level and in every department to discuss the challenges they’re facing in their day-to-day work. Hearing directly from your employees themselves is the best way to discover the areas where they need the most support.
  1. Validate the relevance. Employees may feel they need support in areas that are not all that critical to job performance or the bottom line. Once you’ve gathered feedback from your employees, validate the relevance of their reported need areas to the overall goals of your organization. Will improvement in these areas have a positive impact on your organization? Are weaknesses in these areas holding your company back from its potential? Will training benefit the organization’s KPIs? 
  1. Get specific. After you’ve identified need areas and verified their relevance to organizational goals, it’s time to frame up some specific training objectives. An employee might be able to ask for help in a given area, but it’s the learning and development team’s responsibility to frame that need in terms of specific learning objectives and desired outcomes. Our Instructional Design workshop focuses on teaching you how to define these learning goals using a four-step process.
  1. Assess current performance. In order to eventually measure how effective a training program has been, you must have a starting point to measure against. Use assessments to evaluate where employees currently stand in the area of focus. You can use an existing assessment tool or develop your own. Whatever tool you choose, you’ll be using the same assessment to measure their progress following the training program.
  1. Enlist outside experts. Depending on the scope of the training needs you identify, you may decide that your goals exceed the capabilities of your team. In that case, you may want to enlist outside experts to help you develop a results-oriented training program carefully designed to provide ROI in the form of your most pressing organizational goals, whether that be increased productivity, improved retention, larger profit margins, or enhanced safety. These experts can also provide the tools you need to evaluate, benchmark, measure, and report progress. 

Want to learn more about how enlisting outside experts can help you maximize results from your next training program? Click here to learn about Design Consulting with The Bob Pike Group.