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Training Needs Survey

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A thorough and accurate assessment of needs must precede the design of a training intervention so that it can assist managers in improving in the areas that need it most.

1.Factors external to the job and the culture surrounding the job are studied. These include the values, practices, and heritage that are characteristic of the industry , firm, division, department, and work unit.

2.The jobs are studied:
-level in organization.
-role within the organization.
-technical features/ demands.

3.Forecast of changes in:
-factors external to the job.
-The demands of the job.
-Challenge to and demands that will be made on the individuals as they receive promotions, transfers, and changes in assignments.

4.Definitions and classifications of the importance of knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified as being relevant by steps 1,2 &3.

5.Study and assessment of the trainees: their knowledge; their skills; their attitudes.

6.Deficient areas are identified and ordered in terms of their importance.

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Training needs in any organization occur at three levels:

Organizational
Occupational [departments like sales/production/administration /finance etc]
Individual
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which clearly has resonance with the organizational, team and individual foci . The term ‘level’ suggests a hierarchy which in turn indicates relationships between hierarchical levels.
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At the organizational level, TNS is pitched at the big picture, dealing with the overall performance and existence of the organization as an entity within its environment or market. TNS here aims to ensure that the organization is capable of meeting its obligations and following its corporate plan. With a mindset of survival in a competitive environment, an HR strategy would typically be developed to support the corporate plan, which itself would be produced to cover a particular time period.
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The occupational level of needs analysis focuses on specific disciplines within organization, namely at the department level, to identify what skills shortages can be addressed through training and which areas require the recruitment of staff from without, in order to enable the departments to meet its obligations for the period. It would also address some of the environmental issues affecting performance, for example the equipments/software requirements
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Then there is a third level which reveals the needs of the individual. Variances between actual performance and planned performance at this level are commonly manifested as skills gaps, where the knowledge of the individual does not satisfy the requirement of the role. In order to obtain that knowledge, attendance on a formal training course might provide the desired solution.
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TNS method employed are many , such as

Consultation with individuals in key roles
Questionnaires
Focus Groups
Interviews
Steering Groups
Surveys
Observation
Role competency frameworks
Performance indicators
Psychometric tests
External benchmarks
360° feedback
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A comprehensive Training/learning Strategy should address the following areas:

• What are the aims and objectives of the organization?
• Do you have a policy for dissemination of the organizational vision and objectives?
• Would all employees be able to describe the objectives of the organization if asked?
• What opportunity is there for the HR Department to contribute to the development of organizational objectives?
• What are the aims and objectives of the Human Resource strategy?
• Are the aims and objectives measurable?
• Is there a clearly specified description of the organization’s training/ learning strategy?
• Is the learning and development strategy linked to the Business Strategy?
• Does your organization anticipate internal developments and have learning strategies in place to respond to these?
• Does you organization anticipate external developments and have learning strategies in place to respond to these?
• Do employees know what their entitlements are regarding training and development?
• Is a return on investment analysis carried out on learning activities?
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Identification of Occupational Training /Learning Needs

The identification of training / learning needs may be conducted to address a specific cross-section of employees within an organization such as operators, administration, sales etc. This enables resources to be focussed more directly on those whose who have a specific need.

• What current activities require specific training ?
• What future developments will require specific training?
• Is a job analysis carried out to identify the skills and knowledge required for tasks in a particular occupation?
• How are the skills of staff evaluated and compared to the requirements of the department? • Does a procedure exist for upgrading the skills of staff ?
• How often is a staff appraisal carried out and how often is there a follow up meeting?
• Do members of staff have personal development plans which are designed to enhance their skills?
• Is a ‘licence to practice’ required for the occupational area? [like heavy equipment use/electricians etc]
• How do you ensure that you get the qualifying level of continuing professional (education) points?
• Do you regularly read professional / trade journals – what are the current issues of concern and which need addressing through learning strategies?
• Occupational standards are available for most work areas and provide the most comprehensive descriptions of work activities – are these used to inform decision making?
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Individual Learning Needs Analysis Checklist
Review the performance of those individuals for whom there is responsibility. Below are a number of areas which need to be considered and which may provide insights into areas of learning needs:

• Does the person have the ability to successfully achieve work objectives?
• Does the person have the right attitude for the job?
• What is the level of energy which is used by the person?
• Are they lacking specific areas of experience which need to be addressed?
• Can the person work flexibly?
• Does the person possess the interpersonal skills to work effectively in their area?
• Does the person have the specific knowledge required for the post?
• Do they demonstrate suitable maturity for the post?
• Does the person possess the people management skills for their position?
• What is their level of productivity
• Does the person have the potential for promotion?
• Does the person have the qualifications necessary for their current or future positions?
• Does the person have the ability to work in a team?
• Does the person have the specific technical skills required for this or a future position?
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NOW YOU CAN
-DETERMINE THE LEVELS YOU WANT RESEARCH.
-DETERMINE THE METHOD FOR EACH LEVEL.
-TAILOR THE QUESTIONS ACCORDINGLY.
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HERE BELOW I HAVE LISTED A SAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRE FOR INTEVIEWING MANAGERS, WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF
DEVELOPING MANAGERS.

IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO DETERMINE/DEFINE THE OBJECTIVES VERY CLEARLY BEFORE YOU EMBARK ON TRAINING NEEDS SURVEY.
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Training needs interview questions and the kinds of information each is designed to obtain.

1. How do you visualize your job as a manager? What do you see as your principal roles?

[a) How broad is this individual’s concept of management? b) Which aspects of managing does she or he emphasize? Which aspects does he or she fail to see?]
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2. What are your main responsibilities? What major objectives are you expected to accomplish during the next year?

[a) How clearly does this individual understand his or her role within the organization? Are his or her responsibilities clear? b) Does this individual have well thought out objectives?]
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3. What strategies and plans do you have for accomplishing your objectives?

[ a) Does this individual have a strategy? a plan? b) Is this plan balanced? That is, does she or he consider people, technology, and organizational structure? or ignore one or more of these aspects? c) How creative are these strategies and plans?]
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4. Why are you pursuing the particular objectives mentioned earlier? How do these objectives fit in with those of the larger organizational unit of which you are a part?

[a) Are the organization’s objectives well thought out and consistent? b) How well are objectives and strategies communicated throughout the organization? c) Does this individual see how his or her objectives fit into the overall pattern of things?]
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S. What are the principal objectives of your boss and what strategies and plans is she or he following to reach them?

[a) Does the boss have objectives and plans? b) Does this individual identify with them? Does he or she have a part in them? c) How well have they been communicated? How well have they been accepted?]
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6. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your people?

[a) Does this individual emphasize strengths or weaknesses? b) What seem to be her or his overall assumptions about others? Does this individual ascribe to Theory X or Theory Y
c)Do his or her people display initiative? What does this say about thisindividual as a manager?
d)Does this individual seem to be utilizing his or her people to their full
potential?
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7.What do your people want out of their jobs?

[a) What are his or her assumptions about people?
b) Does this individual know and understand her or his people?]
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8.How motivated are your people, and what do you think accounts for this?

[a) How well does this individual understand his or her people?
b) What is their motivation level, and does he or she think about it?]
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9.How well disciplined are your people?

[a) Are there discipline problems? b) Are there attitude problems?]
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10.How do you go about maintaining or increasing your people’s level of motivation to do their work?

[a) What are her or his beliefs about motivation and human behavior?
b) What kind of boss is she or he? lax, harsh and driving, or a developer?]
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11.What differences of opinion exist within your unit and how are they resolved?

[a) Is there conflict and how strong is it?
b) Is conflict suppressed? Are differences of opinion resolved openly?]
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12.What complaints have your people brought to your attention and how did you handle them?

[a) Are people open with their feelings?
b) Does the boss permit dissent?
c) Are there organizational structure problems?]
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13.How motivated would you say you are at work? What changes, in your opinion, would help cause your level of motivation to rise?

[a) Is this person satisfied with his or her work?
b) What elements are missing that would really turn him or her on?]
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14. How would you characterize the communications between you and higher levels of management? between you and your peers? between you and your subordinates?

[ a) Where could communications improve and what is causing them to be less than they could be? b) Does the manager think he or she is an excellent communicator? What do her or his people think?]
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15.To what extent does your boss delegate responsibility and authority to you?
Should she or he delegate more or less?

[a) Is the delegation appropriate?
b) Are people being utilized to their capacity?]
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16.What could you delegate to your people?

[a) What are the strengths and weaknesses of this boss’s people?
b) What is this individual’s perception of their abilities?]
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17. What are you doing to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities of your people?

[a) Is this individual developing her or his people? b) How good is the unit’s performance appraisal system? the unit’s training system? c) Are people being developed?]
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18. What major challenges or problems have you faced during the last six to eight months and how did you handle them?

[a) What kinds of things does he or she see as problems? b) How good of a problem analyzer and problem solver is this individual? c) How creative were his or her solutions? d) What do the solutions suggest about his or her value system? attitudes? breadth of knowledge?]
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19. If your people could improve in three to five ways what would you suggest?

a) Do this individual’s development plans for subordinates jibe with these weaknesses?
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20.If your boss could improve in three to five ways what would you suggest?

a) What type of training could help here?
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21.If you were in your boss’s shoes how would you handle things differently?

a) What does this suggest insofar as training needs of the boss?
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22. Tell about a major change that occurred here during the past year and how it was handled.

[a) How skillfully are changes handled? b) What does this tell about management’s knowledge and skills and attitudes?]
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23. How do you know if your unit is doing the kind of job it should?

[a) What kinds of controls exist? b) Does the manager relate what he or she does with the firm’s profitability or overall success?]

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24.What do you see as your principal developmental needs?

a) In which ways does the interviewee think he or she needs to improve?
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The key to extracting useful insights from interview answers rests upon the interpretation of their significance. A question interviewers should keep asking themselves as they progress through the interview is, ‘What is the significance of the answers I hear?” Frequently, people will conceal their true feelings and opinions. Yet, in many other cases, these feelings and opinions are not held back. Sometimes true feelings and opinions may be only somewhat concealed, yet they are visible to the alert and perceptive interviewer. Interview data should be analyzed with respect to the framework of knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics.

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