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Published Articles by David Balovich

Title: Providing a Learning Environment: The Need For Training Assessments
Published in: Creditworthy News
Date: 10/17/01

I find it amusing at times, although not often, that managers will send their subordinates to a six hour seminar and expect it that six hours for their employee to return the next day to the workplace and be trained competently in their position. I know this to be the case because I read their comments when requesting a refund.

When we interview candidates for staff positions, we often recognize deficiencies in their skills. Even the individual we finally hire may not posses all of the skills necessary to for the position. Yet often when the individual begins work we forget those deficiencies in experience that we identified during the hiring process.

Successful managers make written observations of deficiencies during the hiring process so they can refer to this information during the new employees first week on the job. as a part of new employee orientation, they identify specific training objectives for both the short and long term objectives. This provides the new employee goals and starts the employee off positively in his or her new position.

Together with the new employee, the manager discusses the employees responsibilities and what is expected of them. This includes who will be responsible for training the new employee and how they expect performance to evolve during the probationary period, assuming there is one.

The job description should be the basis for determining what training is necessary. Where the new employee’s resume illustrates gaps in experience or skills to perform job requirements or progress through the department, then these should be noted. A well written job description will identify these gaps.

Needs assessment answers two questions:

1.    Why does the individual need training?

2.    What specific training is required for the employee to succeed?

The new employee is more responsive to the need for training if the manager can be specific in answering these two questions.

When doing training needs assessment, here are some beginning questions to ask about an employee with a performance problem whose answers might lead you to consider that the problem can be solved with training:

a.    Has the individual received less training in a specific area than coworkers?

b.    What changes in the workplace have occurred that would affect the way staff works? For instance, if new technology has been introduced, has there been sufficient training?

c.    How has the employee handled his or her work in the past? In the case of a long time employee, is the unsatisfactory performance unusual?

Once the need for training is identified it is important that a meeting with the employee be held to discuss the deficiencies and what type of training would be beneficial to both the employee and the organization. Do not make the mistake in sending the employee off to a one to four day seminar without knowing what is going to be presented and most importantly the credentials of the seminar leader.

In some cases staff members may be able to learn from each other or you may consider bringing someone in to conduct training for the entire staff, or you may consider doing the training yourself.

Regardless of what method is employed, successful managers are those who have a year round training program in place to insure that any deficiencies are addressed before they become a crisis.

I wish you well.

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