The role of Performance Appraisals and other methods in identifying Training Needs
There are various sources that can be used to determine organisational training needs. Some will be used to identify overall needs whereas others are more useful for identifying the needs of specific individuals, e.g. Performance Appraisals. Performance appraisal can significantly help in identifying the training needs of the employees. Performance appraisals can reveal areas of weakness and potential improvement in your workforce, helping to identify training needs. Appraisal results can be useful in spotting performance trends across an entire organization or in individual departments. This can help companies to fine-tune their training programs for existing employees and fine tune the training to areas that are most in need.
Performance appraisals can shed light on areas of needed improvement in individual or a group of employees.
Performance appraisal systems allow employees and managers to work together to set goals, and monitor progress toward goals previously set.
Employees can speak up about areas of improvement that they see in themselves. The employee can also tell about his training requirements (if any).
Performance appraisal helps to reveal the differences and discrepancies in the desired and the actual performance of the employees. The causes of the discrepancies are also found, whether they are due to the lack of adequate training or not.
A performance appraisal after the training program can also help in judging the effectiveness of the program.
Other sources for identifying training needs include:
- Surveys – These can be in the form of a survey or poll and allow for a variety of questions formats. These can reach a large number of people in a short time, are inexpensive, and allow for openness in responding. They are time consuming and there is little scope for free response.
- Interviews – can be formal or casual, structured or unstructured. The can be done in person or by phone, at work or away from it. May be used to represent a sample, they can uncover causes of problems, and allow for spontaneous feedback. However they are time consuming and may require skilled individuals.
- Tests – can be useful in determining deficiencies in skills, knowledge or attitude, they are easily quantifiable, however there is no indication that skills or knowledge are used on the job.
- Observations – Can be technical or functional or behavioural, can yield qualitative and quantitative, they minimise interruption, they require highly skilled observer.
While each source serves to add to the process of identifying training needs within the organisation, the method used will depend on a variety of factors including , time and budget available, access to participants, desired outcome, whether you are looking a Training needs for individuals, groups, or the organisation as a whole.
The benefits of Training Needs Analysis to:
- The Individual
- An individual Skills audit will identify training gaps that need to be addresses in order for the individual to perform to the best of his ability
- It allows the individual to grow and develop within his role, thus creating a more confident worker
- It demonstrates to the individual that the organisation in interested in his/her performance/growth within the organisation
- It gives the individual clarity around what is expected of him in his role through the design of a Job Analysis
- It provides clarity to the individual as to what is expected from him as a result of planned training by devising a set of Learning Outcomes
- Allows the individual to have an input into his future in the organisation
- Identify performance goals and the knowledge, skills and abilities needed by a company’s workforce to achieve those goals
- Identify performance gaps of employees
- Ensures there is management support for training
- Minimizes the risk and impact of training failure on business by preparing employees for future changes
- Helps direct resources to the areas of greatest priority
- Addresses resources needed to fulfil the organisational mission, improve productivity and provide quality products and service
- Helps manage training budgets efficiently
- It will identify what programmes need to be implemented, who should be involved, how, when and where the training should take place
- It will identify potential barriers to training and can provide solutions to same.