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What Is a Training Needs Assessment and Why Do You Need One When Managing Change?

3 min read

A training needs assessment should form part of any organisation’s ongoing planning. When managing change, it is perhaps even more critical to identify knowledge gaps. The evaluation should highlight areas where current performance will not meet lasting desired performance and identify causes and reasons and methods that can allow such gaps and deficiencies to be corrected. It is also good practice to determine what will happen if gaps are ignored.

Three assessment levels

There are three assessment levels you should look at in this regard:|

  • Organisational – look at the overall business performance. An assessment of your organisation should determine the skills and abilities needed and how they can be met by identifying weaknesses and strengths. This should include additional factors such as changing demographics (what you need to implement your change initiative), technology, political and economic elements.
  • Occupational – This is essential as part of managing change. It involves identifying where and why affected occupational groups have gaps to determine a path that sees these gaps closed or eliminated. It should consider new ways of working that can support the occupational groups to close the gap.
  • Individual – This looks more closely at the individuals in the business. It looks at their ability to do their job and their potential to manage working in a new or different way. Highlight skill gaps and identify who needs or could benefit from specific or developmental training to handle better their job, work, or new position as the change progresses. The benefit of an upskilled workforce generally outweighs the cost.

Why training needs assessments are highly relevant during periods of change

Experienced change management consultants will understand the importance of supporting people through change. The most significant cause of change failure comes when staff are not correctly supported through the change process and, as a result, fail to support the change initiative. Resistance to change is part of our human makeup, yet this can often be resolved when staff feel involved, supported, and appreciated. Ensuring that individuals training, and development needs are identified, so they know that they will be best placed to handle the new regimes post-change offers an opportunity for companies to improve the support they receive, thus increasing the chances that sustained change takes place. Of course, the path of successful change is not solely down to training. It should form part of a multi-pronged approach, which involves open communication of expectation, support and checking job fit so that you aren’t trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.

The process helps decision-makers and stakeholders understand the concept of a needs assessment to show that the process aligns critical behaviours with a clear mission to reach the future desired state. Closely identifying critical occupational and performance requirements will eliminate time and money spent on unnecessary training. Courses such as the Agile Project Management Course are available for key individuals in your project management team to teach critical skills for change management planning.

The assessment will identify key stakeholders, solicit support, and describe desired outcomes by clarifying critical behaviours and the essential drivers to sustain those behaviours. A plan that evaluates goals and objectives and determines the organisations’ readiness will provide valuable insight into the distance between now and the future. Key project measures and progress milestones must form part of the project plan considering staff support, capacity, and technology to transition. Close the gaps with planning, training, and communication.

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