Needs Assessment

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This topic covers the needs assessment process, the various levels, approaches, and issues. The topic thoroughly describes organizational level analysis, person analysis and task analysis and what each entails. The section on person analysis breaks it down into the factors that influence individual performance and motivation, including basic skills, abilities and self-efficacy of the individual; inputs; outputs; consequences or rewards; and feedback. The section on task analysis also goes into detail regarding tasks and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform tasks, as well as describing the steps of a task analysis. The various methods of needs assessment are described, as are their strengths and weaknesses, giving students the information needed to choose an appropriate method(s) to gather information. Overall, this topic provides the information needed to develop a general understanding of the needs assessment process and the factors to consider in collecting appropriate information and choosing appropriate methods to collect it.

After reading and discussing Topic 3, students should be able to 1. Discuss the role of organization analysis, person analysis, and task analysis in needs assessment. 2. Identify different methods used in needs assessment and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each method. 3. Discuss the concerns of upper-level and mid-level managers and trainers in needs assessment. 4. Explain how person characteristics, input, output, consequences, and feedback influence performance and learning. 5. Define job analysis and compare it to competency models. 6. Explain what is meant by benchmarking.

7. Discuss the steps involved in conducting a task analysis. 8. Analyze task analysis data to determine the tasks in which people need to be trained. 9. Explain competency models and the process used to develop them.

Needs assessment refers to the process of determining learning needs and opportunities and whether training is necessary. “Pressure points” suggesting training is needed are “red flags” indicating performance problems, upgraded technology, job redesign, legislative changes, new products, skill deficiencies, etc.

There are three levels of analysis:
1. Organizational analysis involves determining the appropriateness of training, given the company’s business strategy, resources, and managerial and peer support for training. 2. Task analysis involves identifying the important tasks performed as well as the knowledge, skills and behaviors that are required to perform those tasks. 3. Person analysis involves

a. Determining whether performance deficiencies are due to a lack of knowledge, skills or abilities, to problems with motivation, or work design. b. Determining who needs training.
c. Determining employees’ readiness for training.
Organizational analysis is usually conducted first; person analysis and task analysis are often done simultaneously because they go hand in hand. The needs assessment process produces information related to who needs training; what they need to learn (i.e., what tasks and knowledge, skills, and behaviors to emphasize); and what the climate is in the company. Reasons or “pressure points include:” legislation, lack of basic skills, poor performance, new technology, customer requests, new products, higher performance standards, and new jobs.

Outcomes of the needs assessment process include: what trainees need to learn, who receives training, the type of training needed, frequency of training, buy versus build training decision, other options instead of training such as selection or job redesign.

Who Should Participate in Needs Assessment?
Managers, employees and trainers should be involved in the needs assessment process. Upper-level managers can assess the role of training related to other human...
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