What Can Go Wrong with No Training Needs Assessment

A cartoon businessman holding up a sign that indicates the "wrong" way

As a business consulting and training company we are all for skill development and training when it is done right…but all against training when it is done poorly or for the wrong reasons. 

Most of us have worked with clients who are in a hurry to deliver training without enough thought as to whether training will actually solve their problem or move them, their team or their company forward. Our job is to help the client by meeting them where they are and advising what we think makes the most sense. That means often telling the client what they do not want to hear…it is necessary to delay and, most likely, increase your investment to ensure relevancy to key stakeholders by conducting  a proper training needs assessment first. 

At LSA, we would rather be straight with our clients and turn away the business than take on a job we know won’t produce the desired outcomes that make sense for them or their business. That’s why we can guarantee results and work on a pay-for-performance basis. We know that skipping the training needs assessment phase can cost way more in the end and that the delay is worth the time.

Here is why the training needs assessment step is often necessary. Without it, you may be teaching:

  1. The wrong people.
    You need to figure out who needs training and why. Some employees may already be adept at the skills you feel are needed. Some may not need those skills to carry out their jobs. You need to target the audience that will make the difference. Training is not of value in and of itself; its value is in how it can affect performance and business results over both the short- and long-term.

  2. The wrong skills.
    Do you know what skills matter most?  Or where the biggest and most important skills gaps exist? You have to know what skills matter and are missing in order to address the right gaps. For example, if your sales strategy is focused on improving margins, you need to know where your sales reps are falling short and how big of an impact you can make on driving higher margins from a skills, attitude and behavior perspective. 

  3. The wrong way.
    When training is a key part of the answer, make sure you deliver it in a way that will “stick.” Would e-learning do the job or would classroom delivery be better? Maybe blended learning would be most efficient and effective. Whatever mode you choose, make sure there is sufficient and ongoing follow-up coaching…otherwise your investment will be short-lived.

A sound, customized training needs assessment will tell you who needs the training, what skills are needed and why, and how best to deliver it. Don’t skip this step or your time, effort and money will be wasted.

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