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Is Training Always the Answer to Performance Problems - Why a Needs Analysis is Always Important

30/05/2011


This is where needs analysis or needs assessment comes in. This is often referred to as the most important step in the training and development process. The overall process is designed to identify the gaps or deficiencies in organizational or individual performance. It should be designed to examine current and desired results and articulate the differences and it involves talking to all those involved in or who are affected by the performance problem. This means all stakeholders at all levels. From the most senior positions in the organization right down to the people who do the jobs themselves.

Needs analysis consists of three levels known as:

  1. An Organizational Analysis
  2. A Task Analysis
  3. A Person Analysis
Organizational Analysis

The organizational analysis involves looking at the entire organization including its strategy, environment, resources and context. Is the proposed training in alignment with the strategy? Are there any constraints in terms of the delivery if it were to go ahead? Is there support for the program? Will anything get in the way of the program’s success? Questions such as these will help ensure any program has the opportunity to succeed as its design and delivery can be tailored to the specific organization.

Task Analysis

The task analysis involves learning all you can about a job by determining the duties, tasks and activities involved and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the tasks. This information helps clarify what an individual performing the job needs to know how to do. Once this is complete, you move on to the third step – person analysis.

Person Analysis

Person analysis is where each person who is responsible for the job is studied to determine whether their performance meets the job standards. It involves defining the desired performance, determining the gap between desired and actual performance and identifying the obstacles to effective performance. Questions to consider at this level of analysis include: Can the employee(s) perform as desired if they had to? Did they ever perform as expected? If they have performed as expected, what has changed? Do they need practice or feedback? Do they need a better reward system? Are they any other reasons why they may not be performing as required?

Then comes the million dollar question: Is training required? Not always is training the solution to a performance problem. A thorough needs analysis can help heal the problem at the source, rather than simply putting a band-aid on the situation.

For more information on how MNP can help your organization achieve the changes you need, please contact your local MNP Consultant.