Every organization has its own way of analyzing performance of its workforce in order to attract customers. Among the very many modalities of performing organizational analysis is carrying out a training needs analysis. Training needs analysis (TNA) involves the examination of both occupational and industrial requisites of different occupations, qualitatively and quantitatively with an aim of identifying performance gaps.
Training needs analysis affects numerous levels within an organization. In most cases, the main aim of TNA is to identify and correct various performance gaps, which might hinder the normal operations of an organization. For instance, TNA examines industrial needs aimed at extolling industrial leaders; company needs in order to attain market share; department needs with an aim of achieving sales objectives, and team needs in order to enhance teamwork and increase production. Thus, for organizations to do away with performance gaps and attract more customers, it must develop a well-planned TNA and implement it analytically.
Companies and organizations that have successfully implemented TNA programs into their system of operation and administration continue to report increased production and investment returns. Primarily, in developing a TNA program, the developer focuses on the company’s strategic objective. For example, if the company’s objective is to attract customers, then the TNA should highlight the various techniques of attracting customers through customer service. First, it is necessary to examine the existing customer service and access its performance before arriving at a particular TNA program (Frances & Roland, 1994, pp. 3-12).
Performing a TNA Program
Performing a training needs analysis is not an easy task. This is the reason why an organization needs a consultant or an in-house trainer to collect and document viable information in one of the three issues, that is, the organization’s desire to increase production from a given opportunity, probable new systems or technology or performance quandaries. Of great importance to an organization, wishing to develop a TNA in order to establish the performance gaps in a department sat, customer service, is the aspiration to welcome change no matter the cost.
For example, if an organization wants to carry out a TNA for customer service, a consultant must be in a position to predict the perceptions of the workforce regarding the change. Most organizations that have for along time experienced no needs analysis have its employees so unwilling and reluctant to welcome new changes, especially training. In most case, they find it very difficult to transfer their newly acquired skills to the daily tasks citing managerial constrictions.
In order to perform a training needs analysis, the organization must choose somebody who understands the missions and vision of an organization. For example, in order to carryout TNA for customer service, a consultant must examine the performance of three groups of employees: the recently hired, the veteran employees and those undergoing training. By studying each of these groups, the consultant will be in a position to identify and suggest the best training needs to offer in order to enhance customer service.
To start with, it is important to note that new employees can be a disadvantage or an advantage to an organization. At times, new employees can cause organization to go at the peak or to the bottom. For example, a training needs analysis for customer service ought not to exhibit high and low peaks. Instead, there should be some consistency in order to maintain the customer base.
Nonetheless, the problem is easy to solve as consultants can create a program characterized by progressive sequences, which will eliminate any jam caused by new hires. It is also imperative to note employees come from diverse backgrounds. Thus, each employee has an individual way of handling customers. In most case, the newly hired employees are not even familiar with their employers and do not understand how the company operates. Thus, it is important to carry out an analysis whether these newly hired employees have a glimpse of the company’s orientation. Good customer service agents are those who are aware of the company’s policies and administrative facts.
The training needs analysis for customer service involves assessing veteran employees and identifying whether they have the required skills to manage the new program. Nevertheless, this group of employees offers the greatest challenge to consultants carrying out the analysis. For example, it is imperative to determine how many veteran employees are wiling to undergo further customer service training and the amount of training they require. It is true some of them have prior experience hence do not need further training. Some of them might be developers of the new programs following their enormous experience. Nevertheless, the successful implementation of the new training programs will largely depend on the willingness of veteran employees to tailor the program (Rossett & Sheldon, 2001, pp. 65-68).
How TNA creates a training program for Customer Service
This is the first approach for creating a training program for customer service. A consultant is able to obtain information regarding performance of each employee through first-hand surveillance and analysis. In addition, the consultant can access how worker relates to both customer and fellow colleagues. The main reason for carrying out observation is to identify weaknesses and strengths and later on develop a training program aimed at alleviating weaknesses among employees.
Interview forms part of the larger training program. Through interviews, one can determine whether employees hold same views on certain issues pertaining customer service or any other discipline within the organization. However, the questions should only cover customer service, as this is the intended area. Interviews or face-to-face communication gives a consultant a glimpse of performance deficiencies and strengths. From the gathered information, one is in apposition to create a training program that addresses these deficiencies.
A questionnaire is also one mode of carrying out a training needs analysis. Normally, an in-house trainer will write down question on customer service and then send them to the employees for response. However, employees have the mandate to fill in the questionnaire according to their wishes. Since the questionnaires have the same questions sent to every employer, it becomes easier to analyze and then develop a training program based on the answers given. A questionnaire is a vital tool for training needs analysis as one can get a picture of employees’ perceptions regarding customer service and as to whether these employees believe they are on the right track. In most cases, the program developers use questionnaires to create training programs for various needs in an organization (Training Needs Analysis, 2010, p.1).
When carrying out a training needs analysis, job analysis is very important. Primarily, job analysis involves the study of all responsibilities associated with a particular job. For example, employees working in the customer service division should be in a position to explain their responsibilities, as this is the bulwark of the organization. These employees are the one responsible in attracting customers to buy the products or services of an organization. Thus, information emanating from job analysis acts as a yardstick for the course content. Eventually, the in-house trainer will tailor a training curriculum that explains responsibilities of various posts within an organization.
During training needs analysis, appraisal review is one area aimed at determining the duties employee duties and responsibilities. In most cases, the answers gotten from appraisal interviews are indisputable meaning; they are paramount in establishing the needs, discrepancies and incursions, which a training program should contain.
The feedback information arising from appraisal interviews can also assist program developers to develop training programs based on what employees do not understand well regarding job description, responsibilities and duties. Since training needs differ from one employee to another, the appraisal interview session allows the executive and worker to unearth their limitations in customer service. All these gathered information provides a curriculum for a training program (Leigh, Watkins, Platt & Kaufman, 1998, pp. 87-93).
Research shows that motivation is the main factor behind employee development. Thus, when carrying out training needs analysis, it is vital to identity some of the factors that cause motivation among employees. Some motivational factors enhance individual training skills and stimulate desire in an employee to work towards achieving certain individual goals. Propping into this analysis will perhaps provide further information regarding the self-confidence and attitude of individual employees. Thus, motivational identity is one area that is important in developing training program for customer service.
A training needs analysis is an important tool of discovering weaknesses among employees and then developing a training program aimed at improving employee performance. Thus, conducting a training needs analysis for customer service will see an improvement in this sector, enhance productivity and increase investment returns.
Frances, B, & Roland B. (1994). Training Needs Analysis and Evaluation. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Leigh, D., Watkins, R., Platt, W. & Kaufman, R. (1998). Alternate Models of Needs Assessment: Selecting the Right One for Your Organization. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 11(1), 87-93.
Rossett, A. & Sheldon, K. (2001). Beyond the Podium: Delivering Training and Performance to a Digital World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Training Needs Analysis. (2010). Web.