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Human Resource Management (Available Titles Coursemate)

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The Role of Needs Analysis in Training and Development What is a training need ? DiSimone, Werner, and Harris (2002) describe a need as “a discrepancy or gap between what an organization expects to happen and what actually occurs. …Identified needs in this sense focus on correcting substandard performance” (p. 129) Not all performance needs can be resolved through training. Many needs may be the result of obstacles in the work setting, lack of effective communication, lack of clarity in expectations, a job design issue, a compensation and reward matter, or even possibly lack of fit with the job requirements. Other factors involved with identifying training needs are democratic choice of employees and managers, diagnostic factors that lead to effective performance and prevent performance problems, and finally, analytic factors that identify new, better ways to perform tasks (DiSimone et al, 2002). Needs analysis helps to ensure that the human resource development (HRD) efforts are focused on the improvement of organizational performance (DiSimone et al., 2002). With this perspective, needs analysis may be conducted at three levels in the organization: (a) strategic/organizational analysis suggests where and under what conditions training is needed, (b) “task analysis explains what must be done to perform a job or complete a process successfully”, and (c) person analysis centers on who and what kind of training (DiSimone et al., 2002, p. 131). Every organization has training needs, but how those needs are addressed is a strategic decision. “A few exemplary organizations …view a workforce with superior skills as a primary source of sustainable competitive advantage. In these organizations, training and development [T&D] becomes the critical means for creating readiness and flexibility for change across all organizational levels, and there are strong linkages between all facets of the T&D system and the strategic leadership and planning processes of the business” (Olian, Durham, Kristof, Brown, Pierce, & Kinder, 2002, p. 286). Twenty-six benchmark organizations in T&D responded as part of a study (1998) from winners of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Fortune Magazine “Top 20 Managed Companies”, American Society of Training and Development “Corporate Award”, Training Magazine “Readers’ Survey Award” and identified by other subject matter experts (Olian, et al. 2002).
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