Why Needs Assessment?
If an organization focuses on developing its talents, the first step should be a needs assessment because it is necessary to know what problems exist in the employees’ performance or their cooperation. From this point, the key reason to conduct the needs assessment is the necessity to identify organizational and managerial problems to provide adequate training that addresses the determined gaps (Brown, 2002).
One more reason is the provision of support to the idea that talent development is critical at this stage of the organization’s growth. Also, the needs determined during the assessment are referred to by managers when they evaluate the talent development results and conclusions regarding the overall effectiveness of the training program in terms of achieved goals and spent costs (Brown, 2002).
However, many models can be followed to conduct the needs assessment and contribute to talent development in the organization. While focusing on analyzing the needs and conditions associated with the training project, it is possible to choose Barbazette’s model, according to which the assessor should answer the following questions: why to initiate training, for whom, how, what elements to include, and when?
According to Cekada (2010), this model is helpful to formulate the purpose, identify participants, determine training strategies, predict results, and focus on expected consequences. A similar model is selected by P&G to provide the talent development and training program in the organization (Ready & Conger, 2007). From this point, the needs assessment is an important step before implementing the talent development project to identify gaps, choose strategies, and formulate expected results.
Training, Education, and Development
Although some researchers and managers do not distinguish between training, education, and development, it is important to focus on differences in these approaches to developing talents’ skills. Training is a short-term program that is oriented to cultivating the employees’ certain skills to improve their performance (Rothwell & Kazanas, 2003).
Training is important to be implemented in organizations when new technologies are launched or operational processes are changed. In its turn, the education of employees is a process of improving their knowledge and skills to perform new tasks (Patton & Pratt, 2002). Education is selected when employees are promoted to higher positions to develop their professional and leadership skills. The development of employees is also based on long-term goals, and its purpose is to improve the performance of workers while cultivating their skills in communication, cooperation, and teamwork among other areas.
The integrated talent development is based on the combination of short-term and long-term programs that aim at improving different skills and capabilities. In this context, training is an important process to help employees learn skills in the shortest time. Still, when the focus is on long-term goals, the education of talents is the more effective choice.
The employees’ development should also be included in the managers’ program to improve the skills of talents as a group (Rothwell & Kazanas, 2003). To determine which approach to use in talent development, it is necessary to conclude whether the planned program will address short-term or long-term goals and what results are expected in terms of the employees’ performance. Therefore, the focus is on identifying the timeframe and competencies that are planned to be developed with the help of the program. It is also important to assess the available resources necessary to start this or that program.
Brown, J. (2002). Training needs assessment: A must for developing an effective training program. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 569-578.
Cekada, T. L. (2010). Training needs assessment: Understanding what employees need to know. Professional Safety, 55(03), 28-33.
Patton, W. D., & Pratt, C. (2002). Assessing the training needs of high-potential managers. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 464-484.
Ready, D. A., & Conger, J. A. (2007). Make your company a talent factory. Harvard Business Review, 85(6), 68-77.
Rothwell, W. J., & Kazanas, H. C. (2003). The strategic development of talent. Amherst, MA: HRD Press.