What Training is Right for Your Business?
Begin with a Training Needs Analysis
Choosing the correct training solution for your business is not a simple process. Should you focus on e-learning, instructor-led courses, distance learning—or should you choose a mixture of these offerings? Does training need to be customized to your company’s specific needs? A training needs analysis can help you clarify the project’s goals and evaluate possible solutions. This phase allows project leaders, subject matter experts, and training specialists to evaluate the situation and make informed decisions. Intulogy’s Optimal Learning Solution (OLS) methodology can help you analyze your needs and select the best training solution.
Understand the First Steps
Here are five basic steps that Intulogy uses, and examining them in depth can help you analyze your current environment and make an informed and sound needs assessment decision.
Analyze Your Situation
The most important step in choosing the right training for your organization is learning what you need. Oftentimes, businesses opt for “too little, too late” in employee training. This leaves employees with incomplete or inappropriate solutions. Therefore, it’s best to perform a training needs analysis early in the process. An experienced training specialist can lead your company’s focus toward the right questions. For example, a needs assessment for an employee training project might ask the following questions:
- Are we making any major changes in our business process?
- How do those changes impact our employees’ job functions?
- What information and training will our employees need to continue being successful in their jobs?
- How will our employees best accept and integrate this information and training?
- How best do our employees learn?
- What is the best way that we can get this information and training to our employees?
- Are there any corporate needs that are not being met?
- Does our staff have the skills they need to do their jobs effectively?
Evaluate the Training in Place
Even if your company doesn’t yet have a formal training department, you may already have some existing employee training materials. These valuable training materials can serve as a starting point and may include:
- Detailed corporate training manuals
- New hire orientation materials
- Online resources and references
These materials can and should become an integral part of any new training solution. Review the procedures you already have in place, and be prepared to adapt them to your new training needs.
Your own company, of course, is the best source of information on your current business practices and change initiatives. However, you may not have the internal resources to prepare and deliver training, or to perform other tasks involved in the training initiative. Identifying what your company can and cannot provide is a crucial part of your needs analysis, so that you know what you need when looking for assistance.
What you are looking for at this stage are gaps in your ability to provide a complete training solution. These gaps can take many forms and show places where the training solution could break down and not provide the best return for your training dollars. These are just a few examples of gaps your organization can identify:
- How much is this going to cost?
- Do we currently have the resources for this task?
- Is the staff confident enough to handle the task?
- Do we have enough time planned to complete the task along with other currently-running projects?
Assess Your Options
Once your organization has established the requriements of its needs analysis, you can utilize that knowledge to assess your options. There are literally hundreds of companies and individual consultants waiting to tend to your training needs, and it’s likely that several will fit your budget. When choosing the training solution that will best meet your organization’s needs, you need to consider the following questions:
- Does this company or individual have a proven track record of satisfied customers and positive returns on training dollars spent?
- Do they understand and work well with your business culture?
- Will they be able to fill in all the gaps you have identified?
- Can they provide you with multiple delivery options?
Choose Your Solutions
Taking everything into account you’ve found up to this point, choose the consultant or company that can best meet your needs. Keep in mind, however, that the company or consultant you choose may identify issues, gaps, or existing solutions you could not see — it’s often best to perform a preliminary needs assessment, then allow an experienced training professional to review your analysis and offer helpful additions or suggestions. After all, training is their specialty, so their suggestions can help your company better prepare for change and growth, but understanding your company’s idiosyncrasies will help them decide what is best to advise.
Some questions to think about while your organization is choosing a consultant:
- Did the needs analysis address already-established issues?
- What other gaps did the needs analysis uncover, and are they relevant to your organizational culture?
- Will the consultant be able to provide timely solutions and multiple options?
- Does the consultant seem to “get” your corporate culture, enough to advise you properly?
Intulogy will guide your organization through the needs analysis process to produce solutions best suited to your customized needs.
Plan for the Future
You can conduct a training needs analysis for a single project, a class of employees, or even your entire company. In our case studies section, we show how the Alaska Department of Transportation conducted web-based surveys of its managers and supervisors to create a comprehensive training needs assessment.
If you would like help with a training needs assessment, please contact one of our training experts.