The First Step
A Needs Assessment is a systematic exploration of the way things are and the way they should be. These “things” are usually associated with organizational and/or individual performance.
WHY design and conduct a Needs Assessment? We need to consider the benefits of any Human Resource Development (HRD) intervention before we just go and do it:
- What learning will be accomplished?
- What changes in behavior and performance are expected?
- Will we get them?
- What are the expected economic costs and benefits of any projected solutions?
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.
The largest expense for HRD programs, by far, is attributable to the time spent by the participants in training programs, career development, and/or organization development activities. 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. 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.
Friday: 4 steps to conducting a Needs assessment.
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