Every year companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars in training programs that fail. Why? Because they fail to provide programs that meet the specific business needs of the organization and the specific professional development needs of the employee.
A needs assessment is the core of any training program. It gives you the basis for program development and establishes the criteria for measuring the success of the program after its completion.
Needs assessors are much like physicians, who ask a series of questions and order a battery of medical tests to uncover and treat the causes rather than the symptoms of an ailment. Needs assessment is the process of determining the cause, extent, and appropriate cure for organizational ills. The process addresses the organizational context and combines organizational analysis, data gathering, and interviewing techniques to identify and shrink the gap between desired and actual knowledge, skills, and performance. It is a careful study of the organizational context, the job itself, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the job incumbents.