Training Needs Assessment #1: How to Get Organizational Support for Training

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Great! So you decided your employees need to be trained. The first thing you need to complete now is your training needs assessment. After you’re done, you’ll have laid the foundation for success. This is a critical step, and you should take heart in knowing only 27% of companies do this (Tannenbaum &Yukl 1992). Talk about competitive advantage from the start!

Here is a picture of your roadmap to a completed training needs assessment. While this may look like a combination of daunting and boring, we’re about to spice everything up and get moving piece by piece! Doing training needs analyses can be a lot of fun. This post will cover your first three steps under “Organizational Support” on the far left. Subsequent posts will cover the rest of the columns. Ready? Here we go.

Needs Assessment Map

How to develop organizational support for training

Research has shown managerial support affects employee motivation to learn and the transfer of training outcomes back to the job (Colquitt et al., 2000). Therefore, getting upper management support for your training plans is crucial! There are three goals in this stage of the needs analysis:

1. Establish a relationship with top management: Come to an agreement that what you are doing (the needs assessment) is important, find out who in the organization stands to benefit from training, and then establish expectations. Yeah that was a three part first goal, but they are all brutally important. By getting top management understanding and support for what you are doing, you’re conquering your greatest obstacle to a successful training launch.

2. Establish a relationship with key organizational members: Once you’ve got solid top management support, you’re going to need to focus on the rest of the people that will be affected by the training, or those people that have an occupational interest in it. For example, if Judy is your main accountant, and you’re having planning to have a seminar on tax accounting, you’d be real dumb not to get her involved from the beginning.

Just as an aside, there is a Japanese term for getting everyone on the same page prior to new organizational initiatives called: “nemawashi”. The champion for the new organizational change or decision literally goes from desk to desk of all the employees in the organization to basically tell them this is what the organization is going to do and solicits their buy-in. Once everyone is on board and agrees, the new initiative is announced to the rest of the team (if they don’t agree, they simply come in with a giant samurai sword and…). Of course, everyone already knows this is going to be taking place and have already agreed. The announcement is more procedural than anything. Food for thought.

3. Form liaison teams: A liason team is a small number of people from the organization serving as the primary point of contact between the assessor (you) and the organization. Forming these teams really helps to establish trust between you and the rest of the organization, uncovers concerns, and increases organizational participation. Do it!

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