Tool 1 – Needs Analysis

Introducing the Emerging Stronger toolkits

Since 2003, I’ve been exploring why some L&D practitioners are more successful than others. Who is getting active buy-in for new ideas, who is improving making an impact on the areas that matter to business leaders?

More importantly, what are they doing differently?

Much of what we discovered wasn’t about the tools and technologies used but HOW we used them. The data showed that these principles behind effective L&D are discussed by many but practised by few.

As part of the Emerging Stronger collaboration I teamed up with Michelle Ockers and Shannon Tipton to design a number of tools to help Learning Changemakers do things differently.

The first in this series is the Needs Analysis Tool.

Principle: work on what matters to the business!

Much has been made of us being order takers – responding to requests for content and courses. For many years now I have been asking L&D practitioners the question ‘Do you analyse the problem before recommending a solution?’

Consistently, 80 – 90% of the top performers say yes compared to 30 – 50% of the rest of L&D*

Now, L&D regularly report that they are overwhelmed and overworked which may be why this core principle of lining up might be overlooked. But it makes a difference to what we work on, how we work and how we can be better positioned to track impact.

Getting started

If you want to make sure your courses add the most value, make sure they address the real underlying problem. In reality, sometimes they don’t. Just because someone asks for training, it doesn’t mean that training is the best thing for them. In fact the standard Training Needs Analysis (TNA) conducted by larger L&D teams tends to assume that training is the best way to address a need when it might not be.

That’s where a simple, robust needs analysis process can really help. Ultimately it will save you time, and target attention and effort to what matters most.
Effective Needs Analysis is a way of systematically investigating a request for a course or content to identify and understand the underlying problem or opportunity, why it matters to the organisation, and whether learning is the best (or only) solution.

A tool to help!

As part of our Emerging Stronger work, Michelle Ockers worked on this tool for L&D professionals to improve our impact by guiding us through a simple, broader analysis process that starts with considering the need from a business perspective.

Use the Needs Analysis Tool to have an initial conversation to understand the real need when you

  • receive a request for a course or content
  • are engaged to support a business project or change
  • identify a performance issue or opportunity in the business

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* The Needs Analysis Tool was created by Michelle Ockers as part of the Emerging Stronger toolkit to help L&D professionals thrive in the ever changing world of work. It was initially published in conjunction with our publishing partner Go1.

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Questions, ideas, new perspectives that drive business impact are what brings Learning Changemakers together. Contact us today and continue your L&D journey informed by the latest research.

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