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How to Identify the Learning and Development Needs of Your Organisation

To reskill, your stakeholders need to learn new skills effectively via adapted learning and development strategies.

Here’s a guide of the 5 steps you should carry out to improve your organisation’s learning and development strategy in light of the cross-industry need for reskilling.

1. Ask the Key Questions

For effective learning to take place, it must directly relate to your learner’s knowledge and competency gaps that are relevant for your organisation. Therefore, you need to ask the following questions as a starting point:

What competencies are required for a certain project or role?

What competencies are already present in your organisation/members?

What are the gaps between these 2 Qs, i.e. how much work needs to be done?

The answers to the above questions will depend on whether you want your organisation’s learning and development strategy to primarily be for the good of the organisation’s overall mission, a specific department/project, or individuals.

For instance, if you run the representative membership association for your industry, you need to show that you are on the pulse with all the latest developments in this industry. You need to consistently educate your members about these developments. Therefore, your learning and development events should be centred around these. For example, one of our clients, the ICE, regularly holds conferences about the most relevant skills and insights needed by today’s civil engineers.

These organisations also need members to have certain skills that are required for certain accreditations. For instance, we recorded IStructE events to help their members glean knowledge needed for their Chartered status exams. Look through examination specifications and make sure the skills and knowledge required are catered for by the above questions.

If your organisation is instead a company whose key aim is serving customers, look into the types of enquiries that you are getting that your employees are not yet equipped to deal with. These will answer the key questions regarding which competencies are required for certain projects.

2. What is a Needs Analysis?

Now that you know what skills are needed, you need to conduct a needs analysis to find out where the skills gaps are.

There are two different types of analyses that you can carry out here according to your learning and development strategy. This could be an ongoing learning needs analysis ,or a training needs analysis.

Learning Needs Analysis – This is a general check-up on your peoples’ current skills, talents and capabilities. It might be carried out with multiple stakeholders at a time. It is based on an ongoing, systematic process of gathering data about the competencies of your people, and what skills they need to have to sustain the current and future successes of their work. It analyses how new or changed roles (e.g. due to the pandemic) have changed what capabilities are needed.

Training Needs Analysis – This is a one-off, isolated analysis event, which looks more narrowly at what needs are present for a specific training activity.

3. How will you collect this data on learning needs?

There are many ways to collect the data needed for the above analyses. Here are just a few examples; you should use whichever one gives you the relevant information for your goals.

- Hold interviews with individuals or focus groups made up of stakeholders/people from your organisation. These can be formal discussions or more informal chats, depending on your company culture. They can give you primary data, rooted in context dependent on the views of the people you interview.

- Obtain organisational data, such as performance data already present in your organisation’s files. This can give you a good start in gathering data. However, it should not be the only method you use as it will not be rooted in context like the previous method.

- Carry out observational studies about how your employees/members/other learners work when given a task.

- Distribute surveys to your stakeholders.

4. Collate these results

No matter how you have collected the above data, it needs to be presented in a cohesive way that can be passed on to your learning and development coordinators or training managers.

We recommend that this should be in the form of a report. You can Google “training analysis report template” to find a template that works well with your plan, but we recommend that it has a page for each competency to ensure depth, and ends with a plan that includes priorities and budgets. This plan is the bread and butter of your learning and development strategy.

This report presentation should be a frequent (preferably annual) occurrence, not just something that you go to the effort to produce just once and then ignore it without updating it based on year-on-year changes in development.

5. Reflection

The final stage before you start to put your learning and development plan into action, is to consider how the pandemic might affect the relevance or acquisition of the training needs you have identified. This will help you identify what learning and development strategies can be adapted to build back more effectively. Don’t forget the statistic from the beginning of this article: 64% of organisations have identified that roles are changing, and have assessed how to reskill according to this. Are you one of these forward-thinking organisations?

If you would like to livestream or record the learning and development sessions that you have successfully planned, complete our contact form. We want to help you improve your learning and development strategies by increasing the reach of your sessions.

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