- Select the job(s) to be analyzed
- Develop a preliminary list of tasks performed
- Validate/Confirm the preliminary list of tasks
- Identify the knowledge, skills, or abilities necessary to successfully perform each task (Noe, 2010, p. 124-125).
Thursday, March 8, 2012
EIDT 6501 Training and Development: Planning For a Needs Assessment (Week 2)
This week our assignment is to assume that you have been asked to perform a needs assessment for one of the following companies: Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, Cisco Systems, Men’s Wearhouse, Intel, Steelcase, Nokia and spend some time exploring it online. Try to get a sense of the organization’s products and/or services, consumers, management philosophy, and strategic objectives.
Based on this, how might you approach the needs assessment? Specifically:
• What stakeholders would you want to make sure to get buy-in from?
• What questions would you ask (and to whom would you address them) during the organizational, person, and task analysis phases?
• What documents or records might you ask to see?
• What techniques would you employ (see Table 3.2 on page 108 of the Noe text), and why?
I selected Southwest Airlines for this assignment, an airline that I love to fly! The mission of Southwest is “dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit” (Southwest.com).
Another interesting fact, that says a lot about the organization is its mission and view of its employees. CEO Gary Kelly states, “our people are our single greatest strength and most enduring longterm competitive advantage” (Southwest.com). For this reason, the Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer, Gary Kelly and the Southwest employees are major stakeholders in a needs assessment. Other stakeholders would depend on the hypothesized problem that needs to be solved and those directly involved. Additional stakeholders may include other Southwest officers as outlined in the Southwest Organization Chart
An organizational analysis “involves identifying whether training supports the company’s strategic direction; whether managers, peers, and employees support training activity; and what training resources are available” (Noe, 2010, p. 110). Based on Southwest’s mission to its customers and employees, important questions to ask during an organizational analysis are “how might the training content affect our employees’ relationship with our customers” as well as, “will employees perceive that training program as an opportunity? Reward? Punishment? Waste of time?” (Noe, 2010, p. 111)
“Task analysis results in a description of work activities, including tasks performed by the employee and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to complete the tasks” (Noe, 2010, p. 123). A task analysis has 4 steps:
The person analysis “helps to identify employees who need training, that is, whether employees’ current performance or expected performance indicates a need for training” (Noe, 2010, p. 113). The person analysis can also assist in gauging the targets readiness for training, which can be beneficial when designing the instruction and is a natural transition after the task analysis has been completed.
The techniques that I would employ rely heavily on the task and person analysis. Documentation is an excellent place to begin, as it’s a great source of information, its low cost, and does not use a lot of resources. Observation can be a great way to gather information on day-to-day activities and procedures while not interrupting or disturbing the work of others. Questionnaires are effective in collecting anonymous information from a large number of people, which can easily and quickly be analyzed. Finally, I would use interviews and focus groups as a needs assessment technique. Both allow free dialogue which can assist in delving further into problems, issues, and other employee concerns.
Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.