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  Needs Assessments
    The Concept

Companies ask for a “needs assessment” when there is a gap between “what is happening” and what they feel “should be happening”. The needs assessment process is known by many names: front-end analysis, gap analysis, training needs analysis, etc. The end result is to identify opportunities for improvement that may exist in a company. To do that we must first identify what behaviors need changing in order to bring about the desired results. Sometimes the answer is training, sometime it is not. In the end, the assessment process allows a company to prioritize by identifying the truly critical things that need changing. Skill transfer is the main component of a needs assessment. It is human performance that affects business performance. By creating a positive change in human performance, we can improve business results.

The needs assessment also takes a hard look at the organization’s systems such as: recruitment, mission/values/, feedback systems, strategic planning and culture to see if they are in alignment. Most organizations lack alignment in one or more of these areas. The process allows us to flag opportunities to improve the situation. In addition, the needs assessment creates measurements and evaluation opportunities which allow us to establish measurable outcomes.

The Procedure:

The client’s needs determines how the process is conducted. One or more of the following procedures may be used: Focus Groups, Surveys Observation, Existing Data, Customer Feedback, Interviews, Performance Appraisals, Mission/Values, Questionnaires, Culture, Exit Interviews, Strategic Plan.

The needs assessment process will identify your company’s problems, the reason why the problems exist, and provide solutions to those problems. The process can also be applied to one area of a company (such as a department, production line, etc.) that is not meeting performance expectations and provide solutions to align it with the company.

For more information: Contact Bev Hickam, Workforce Development Director, 573-518-2182 or