It may seem obvious, but so many training managers fail to properly assess the training needs in their organisations. Too often we give way, too quickly, to the managers and directors who demand “this group of people need that type of training”.
Rather than bowing to others wishes, and seeking training that may not be successful at addressing skills gaps, it is vital that training managers begin by with honest and detailed discussions about what is needed.
To begin, first determine who needs training. The key is to be very specific in order to minimise costs; vague answers such as “a few of the sales people” are unhelpful. If you want to spend wisely, learn the specific number of people who need training.
What type of training?
In tandem with who needs training must be explorations of what type of training is needed. For example, is it to enable a team to use a new piece of software more effectively, or to manage their time more successfully? Also, your role as a training manager is to identify what training is needed, not only what is wanted. The best way to determine this is to link the training need back to an identified business need or a known skills gap.
Using the previous example: if 65% of staff cannot use a new piece of software without repeatedly asking for assistance, thereby impacting efficiency, then training in this area could be highly beneficial.
On the other hand, if a sales manager requests training for his team in time management simply because he went to an interesting conference about this issue, then this would require further investigation to determine if a need exists.
Once all training needs have been identified, it’s then up to you as the training manager to determine which of these needs are to be met and how. This enables you to focus on the most important training issues and help you set specific goals for your training, which the outcomes can later be evaluated.