Any company delving into training and development of its workforce should first learn how to properly identify and assess training needs. This is the single most important thing that helps executives to address the gaps between the existing training and training which will be required in the future. Here’s a brief overview of three different needs managers should look at and three assessment methods for identifying key training needs at any organization.

Industry-related needs

Those are quite simple, but it can still be challenging to narrow them down when formulating your training program. There surely exists certain pieces of industry knowledge that employees should have. This need essentially derives from how the organization fits into the industry.

For example, a manufacturing group which creates parts for high-tech appliances may require the knowledge about where those parts go, what kind of appliances they structure, and how the manufacturing of those appliances coordinated by other companies affects the industry as a whole. When assessing this need, know how to differentiate what needs to be known from what would be nice to know.

Job-related needs

Job related needs are those that relate directly to jobs which are part of the organization. How to look for job-related needs? By researching whether there’s training available for certain jobs. If not, organizations might create a complete training program for a job.

The purpose of job-related needs is to improve the final output of the job itself. It can be building an error-free part for a technological appliance or a completed call with a customer. The key is to identify which aspects of the job belong to executive positions and which ones are related to on-the-job training.

Task-related needs

A task-related need usually comes in the form of a requirement in a particular part or output within a job or job family. Just consider your own job – it’s a combination of different tasks and processes that create your job on a daily to yearly basis. This is something that all jobs share.

Sometimes one or more aspects of a job aren’t working and affect the overall productivity of a worker. Consider this example – a customer service representative performs well in sales and customer satisfaction, but when it comes to data inputs into the CRM system, they’re pretty hopeless. This problem might affect contact with the customers or even the number of closed sales.

Assessment methods

Organizational perspective: This kind of assessment is focused on the effectiveness of the enterprise as a whole. It aims to identify any discrepancies, revealing the knowledge and skills required to bridge gaps. Organizational assessments analyze factors like the economy, new environmental policies and changing workforce demographics. These assessments determine which parts of the organization require training and whether it will fill the gaps when implemented.

Task-related perspective: Task assessments compile information about a particular job function. It’s an analysis that identifies key tasks, competencies and skills that are required to perform the job efficiently. It’s based on detailed job descriptions, skill analyses and inventory questionnaires which is how key training needs can be pinpointed. Enterprises undergoing restructuring or taking on a new direction can greatly benefit from this assessment. It basically determines whether there are any gaps between existing competencies and those required for improved performance.

Individual assessment: The individual assessment looks at particular employees to discover their level of performance. This analysis identifies the existing skills and qualifications, as well as capacity for learning. Individual assessment will show who needs training and what kind of training is needed most. It uncovers the strengths of employees and areas for competency improvement.

Focus on each kind of training need before moving forward and determining the best course of action for the enterprise. Each assessment will help you improve different aspects of the organization and build specific training programs to address important gaps and boost the effectiveness of the company.