Forming a Simple Needs Assessment

June 19, 2010 by  Filed under: Management 

A needs assessment is exactly what it sounds like it would be-a process by which you decide what training your employees need. Carrying out a needs assessment prior to making your plans for training can be very beneficial. It can help you to:

  • Decide what skills and standards need to be covered in the training.
  • Organize what will be covered according to which needs are most urgent and which can be addressed at a future training event.
  • Recognize which areas represent strengths for your employees (so you’ll know what training they don’t need).
  • Decide on a training objective.

There are many versions of needs assessment and a number of ways to go about the process. If you find that you’re put off by the time, energy, or cost of a formal, extensive needs assessment, you might want to try the basic one we’ve outlined for you in this article. We don’t suggest it will give you the same results as a profound, more involved assessment, but this concise and simple activity can stand in if you need it to. And it can generate plenty important insights into the needs of your staff.

Creating a Simple Needs Assessment

Step 1: Determine what representatives should be doing. (E.g. The call center representatives should be answering their calls using the correct opening greeting. Representatives should be using strategic questioning skills to determine the customer’s needs.)

Step 2: Determine what representatives are doing by gathering information. This can be collected through:

  • Monitoring forms
  • Metrics
  • Interviews and conferences
  • Questionnaires
  • Research
  • Customer experience management (CEM) data

Step 3: Determine where gaps exist between what representatives are currently doing and what they should be doing. (For example: Customer service representatives are not empathizing with callers when they should be. Customer service representatives are closing the conversation prior to bringing up the special warranty available to customers.)

Step 4: Figure out which of these things can be solved by training. (For example: If customers are disappointed about your prices going up, this is a non-training issue. But if representatives are having problems handling customers who are frustrated about the price increase, that is an issue that can be solved with training.)

Step 5: Plan a training session that addresses the gaps.

And there it is-a simple 5-step plan to help you decide what training you do-and do not-need.

Malcolm Carlaw is CEO of Impact Learning Systems. Industry-certified and recommended, Impact Learning Systems is a leader in customer service training and training for telesales. For more information, please google “Impact Learning Systems” or follow Impact on Twitter @impactlearning.

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