The Outline of the Process of Conducting the Needs Assessment
The process of conducting the needs assessment will start with an agreement with the owner of the automobile company in order to define the deficiency.
The process will consist of three phases; these will include: information gathering, analysis and creating a training plan.
1. Gathering of information
1.1 Collect existing information.
1.2 Prepare surveys, questionnaires and interviews.
1.3 Develop new information about the automobile company.
1.4 Conduct feasibility, goal, gap and task analysis.
1.5 Employees and stakeholders to be interviewed or surveyed will be identified.
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2. Analyze and interpret information and draw conclusions
2.1 Conduct data analysis/ gather needs analysis.
2.2 Interpret the received information.
2.3 Come up and suggest conclusions based on analyzed data.
2.4 Develop graphs and charts to show the gaps and the need for training.
2.5 Present the conclusions to the automobile management.
3. Develop a training plan
3.1 Suggest and develop a training program.
3.2 Propose how to resolve the performance deficiency.
3.3 Determine how formal or informal the training plan will be.
3.4 Develop a report to act as a benchmark for the success of the training program.
3.5 With the help of the management, determine who will be trained.
Possible Impediments to this Approach
The two major impediments that are likely to be faced include time commitment of target audience and cost of conducting the needs assessment. Some staff members may have the opinion that needs assessments may not be necessary and are a waste of time (Barbazette, 2006). To overcome time commitment barrier, the team will seek to gain management support. Lawson (2006) states that this can be achieved by involving line management and other key organizational players so as to get the support needed for the needs assessment to succeed. Furthermore, Lawson (2006) claims that, in order to overcome this impediment, managers and supervisors should ascertain that the needs assessment is conducted in direct response to their specific needs. The management of the automobile company needs to understand the purpose of the needs assessment and its role in making it successful (Elkeles & Phillips, 2008).
The second impediment that may affect the needs assessment process is cost. Lawson (2006) says that a full blown needs assessment is costly and the owner of the automobile company may not be willing to make this kind of investment. In addition, Elkeles & Phillips (2008) state that the management should understand that the potential payoff of additional investment in the training program is very high. It should be noted that an effective needs assessment process may prevent unnecessary programs or result in a radically redesigned program with cost savings (Barbazette, 2006). A tally of savings can be generated; this can ultimately be very impressive, hence offset the additional investment.
The Feasibility of this Approach to what is Commonly Done in the Field
This type of needs assessment is feasible because it will uncover the current level of skills, knowledge, attitudes and performance as well as compare them to the ideal state within the firm. Elkeles & Phillips (2008) note that the needs assessment used in this context is feasible because it uncovers the causes of the gaps and identifies solutions to overcome or remove discrepancies between current and optimal skills, knowledge, attitudes and performance. While most needs assessments are performance or analysis based, this type of needs assessment frames the problems or opportunities of interest and develops relationships among the people and groups who have stake in the issue.
This type of needs assessment is feasible because it will align resources with strategy, build relationships among those who have stake in the automobile company, and provide data for decision making. Gupta (2007) notes that the feasibility of such a needs assessment is on the basis that it will identify leverage points and resources for making changes, establish objectives for initiatives, prioritize actions and provide baseline data for later evaluation of results. Those involved in the needs assessment share their knowledge, insights, and resources besides contributing to creating solutions that are practical, credible and appropriate for the situation (Gupta, 2007).
Why the Needs Assessment is Critical to the Development of the Training Program
The needs assessment will determine whether training is needed. Lawson (2006) states that a needs assessment, if conducted properly, will determine whether training is necessary and will help avoid the mistake of applying a training solution to a non-training problem. The needs assessment is critical because if the team determines that the problem requires training, the needs assessment will help the team to identify the performance issues that training should address (Lawson, 2006).
The needs assessment will establish the content and scope of training. The needs assessment will help determine the type of training necessary to achieve results (Lawson, 2006). Lawson further claims that the needs assessment will help the team to identify how long the training program should last and who the target audience is within the automobile company (2006). It will help the team to identify what should be included in the program and the degree of urgency.
The needs assessment is critical to the development of the training program because it will help the team to determine what knowledge, skills, and attitudes need to be addressed during the training. Lawson (2006) says that it will help to distinguish ‘need to know’ from ‘nice to know’. This will be attained by focusing on what the trainees actually need to know in order to do their jobs better, hence an appropriate program can be developed (Lawson, 2006). In addition, the needs assessment will provide a baseline against which to measure results or changes; therefore, it will act as a start point.