Methods for Identifying Employee Training and Development Needs

Pinpointing what kind of professional growth your employees need can be hard. But these methods can help identify career growth opportunities for employees.

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A workplace is not a static environment. Ideally, employees are doing a lot more than simply completing tasks. Moreover, they should be inspired to learn more and achieve better results while growing as professionals.

What’s also as important as motivating employees to learn, train, and develop is understanding how these employees can grow and what they need for their professional development. Which employees need training? What kind of training will help them? What will this training accomplish?

These questions (and plenty more) can be answered with the following methods of identifying employee training and development needs.

1. Benchmarking

Every employee in every company works differently and produces a unique set of results. However, that does not mean that one cannot compare employees and the quality of their work from one company to another. Sure, there are key performance indicators (KPI), a set of metrics that provide insight into the quality of an employee's work and the results that have been produced.

But benchmarking works a little differently as it compares employees with similar roles in other companies of approximately the same size. This can help companies pinpoint what kind of career advancement and training their own employees may need in order to reach the quality standards of their competitors.

A company may be looking to set a benchmark for its customer service team. In this case, they might review their own customer service team to see what competencies they have.

For example, the industry standard for customer service teams of 10-15 people may dictate that they must work fluently in at least three languages. If this company sees that its own customer service team only speaks two, it may consider setting up language training for this team.

Comparing the responsibilities and competencies of one’s own company to others is the basis of successfully benchmarking employees. This can help management understand what competencies their employees lack and thus need to learn through professional training and development programs.

2. Performance Analysis

Aside from benchmarking, team leads must regularly monitor the performance of their team. This gives the management a clearer understanding of which employees are getting all their work done without any problems and which ones need a little boost in productivity.

Studying performance reports is an effective way to spot which employees need professional development and, more to the point, what kind of professional development would be helpful.

For example, a programmer in one of the teams always misses their deadlines. According to their team lead, this employee is very good at what they do and, in terms of the quality of their work, is a great coder.

According to this performance analysis, it can be deduced that the professional development of this employee should be mentored on their time management and not their hard skills.

3. Ask Employees

Though a very simple method, asking the employees about how they wish to grow as professionals could provide all the answers management needs. For many, professional growth is a very subjective and, in some cases, a deeply personal matter. Employees may wish to grow professionally in ways no one from management could guess.

To provide professional development that suits their needs, it is crucial that employees have a say in what career growth programs the company provides. Who knows? Some workers may even be compelled to form employee resource groups to discover hidden talents or passions that have yet to be explored.

Someone from the programming team may be a naturally good communicator and could easily build rapport with clients. A marketing specialist could have a keen eye for visual design and may help with some aspects of web development, especially if they’re in tune with current design trends. And the list goes on.

At the end of the day, growing professionally is something that employees need to choose. This goes beyond the company’s goal. Employee training and development programs have the potential to change lives, hence why it is paramount that workers are consulted on how they wish to grow professionally.

To Conclude

It’s always important to understand what employees need to grow professionally. Learning as you work is always great, but when you learn something that is pertinent to your job and overall career, that’s even better. These methods will help you understand what your employees need to improve as professionals.

Keep in mind that every new skill that an employee learns is an additional benefit to the company’s entire operation. Leveraging the professional development of employees will be the backbone of company growth, so long as the right training programs are picked.

This article was guest written by Sara Novicic.

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