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How to Make an Organizational Needs Assessment?

Background:

In training, costs due to lost production and travel time can be as much as 90-95% of the total program costs. Direct and indirect costs for the delivery of training are about 6% of the total cost, and design and development count for only about 1-2% of the total (1). Realistically, it makes sense to invest in an assessment of needs to make sure we are making wise investments in training and other possible interventions.

Objectives:

After watching this training program, viewers should achieve the following objectives:
1. Understand what Human Resource Development is
2. Beware of Organizational needs
3. Beware of the importance of organizational needs assessment
4. Know how to make an organizational needs assessment

Discussion:

Watch video at http://www.videojug.com/film/organizational-needs
We are often in too much of a hurry. We implement a solution, sometimes but not always the correct intervention. But we plan, very carefully and cautiously, before making most other investments in process changes and in capital and operating expenditures. We need to do the same for Human Resource Development.

How to Conduct a Needs Assessment? (2)

Step 1. Perform a gap analysis
The first step is to check the actual performance of our organizations and our people against existing standards, or to set new standards. The difference the "gap" between the current and the necessary will identify our needs, purposes, and objectives.
Step 2. IDENTIFY PRIORITIES AND IMPORTANCE.
Now we must examine the list of need in view of their importance to our organizational goals, realities, and constraints. We must determine if the identified needs are real, if they are worth addressing, and specify their importance and urgency in view of our organizational needs and requirements
Step 3. IDENTIFY CAUSES OF PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS AND/OR OPPORTUNITIES.
Now that we have prioritized and focused on critical organizational and personal needs, we will next identify specific problem areas and opportunities in our organization. We must know what our performance requirements are, if appropriate solutions are to be applied.
Step 4. IDENTIFY POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS AND GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES.
Some training and/or other interventions might be called for if sufficient importance is attached to moving our people and their performance into new directions.
But if our people ARE NOT doing their jobs effectively:
Training may be the solution, IF there is a knowledge problem.
Organization development activities may provide solutions when the problem is not based on a lack of knowledge and is primarily associated with systematic change.

SUMMARY STEPS IN A NEEDS ANALYSIS:
Perform a "gap" analysis to identify the current skills, knowledge, and abilities of your people, and the organizational and personal needs for HRD activities. Identify your priorities and importance of possible activities. Identify the causes of your performance problems and/or opportunities Identify possible solutions and growth opportunities. Finally, Compare the consequences if the program is or is not implemented
Generate and communicate your recommendations for training and development, organization development, career development, and/or other interventions

References
1.Gilbert, T., "Performance Engineering", in What Works at Work: Lessons from the
2.Rouda, H. R., Kusy, E. M., Jr. 1995. Needs assessment: The first step. Retrieved from
http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~rouda/T2_NA.html

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