Rethinking training needs through strategic analysis

Strategic analysis is key to securing leadership buy-in for training proposals, says Dexon Electrical's Head of HR.

Laurence Yap

Head of HR

Dexon Electrical Engineering

Being involved in training management across many large corporations for the last 20 years, I have discovered that training needs analysis matter most to CEOs and business leaders.

Many HR, organisational development, and training managers have failed to stay relevant to their business’ rapidly changing needs. As a result, they are being sidelined in the major decision-making processes.

In the past, I focused only on employee competencies, where I looked into their training needs based on face-to-face interviews, emails, and performance appraisals. But this can only address employee needs and not the learning needs of the various departments and the company.

In the new model, I focus on delivering the training needed to help the company achieve wider business goals. For example, at my former workplace Carsem, a semiconductor company, I focused my efforts on lean manufacturing to drive productivity up and costs down.

To do that, our strategic training needs analysis was mainly focused on lean manufacturing and team development. Such business-related training programmes were also high on the business leaders’ priorities. The training attendance was close to 99%, and project completion was 100%.​

I broke down this new Strategic Training Needs Analysis model of training needs into four areas. These are: employee competencies (Level One); department goals (Level Two); compliance requirements (Level Three); and corporate strategy (Level Four).

Level Four is the highest, and studies the business strategies of a company. It attempts to figure out what will be the best training and organisational development solutions for each of the given problems.

Before discussing your findings with the board of directors, it is crucial for you to have an initial chat with the decision makers or CEO about your observations. If the change is massive, like what I did for Carsem, you need the CEO or Chief Operating Officer to drive the initiative to make it successful.

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