It is a matter of conventional wisdom that an organization cannot vie with other competitors for a niche in the market if its employees do not have the right intellectual prowess and expertise. Even though the Organization for Strong and Thriving Africa (OSTA) operates in the field where competition is low-to-nonexistent, it is not exclusion to the rule. In order to endow the staff with the right skills, lavish resources must be funneled into their learning and development. However, earmarking huge sums of the wherewithal for the organizations needs should not be regarded as a panacea for its chronic malaise. It is imperative that the most pressing needs should be identified and tackled in the first place. Indeed, it is possible to prevent the shortage of critical skills in an organization and, thus, avoid irresponsible spending of money through the instrumentality of a thinly designed and prudently implemented training needs analysis (TNA).

Depending on the methods and tools employed, the TNA may foreground the organization together with its training requirements, job role, and individuals together with their personal training needs (Kozlowski & Salas, 2009). The rationale behind using different methods at each stage of the TNA is that different outcomes are expected. Shortly after, the derived outcomes are to be combined into a coherent workforce development program so that they would correspond to the strategic goals of the organization as a whole entity (Kozlowski & Salas, 2009). When developing an efficient training needs analysis it is important that the needs and requirements of the organization and individual should be integrated and synthesized.

For an organization to weather the competition or just to achieve its objectives successfully, it must elaborate a successful strategic plan. Since knowledge and abilities of the staff have a strong bearing on the successfulness of the organization, it is of paramount importance that they should be constantly monitored and improved (Goldstein & Ford, 2001). Thus, the overarching goal of the TNA at this level is to incorporate the organizations goals, establish an interconnection between the skills required and the organizations strategic objectives, and decipher the need for the training program. At the level of organization, the TNA puts an emphasis on the necessity to dissect the current training system with the view of identifying any divergence in the organizations priorities (Goldstein & Ford, 2001). Provided that any gaps have been found, they should be taken into consideration when designing a new training program. With the establishment of training requirements being the fulcrum of the training program, the TNA is a useful instrument for the evaluation of the organizations overall performance. It provides mechanisms that help to measure the outcomes of a training program in appropriate terms (Kozlowski & Salas, 2009).

At the operational level, the TNA aims at pinpointing the required training outcomes so as to ensure the competent performance of a certain job (Wilson, 2005). The main goal of the TNA at the level of a person is to analyze the overall performance of a particular employee. It may specify, inter alia, the exact volume of training or a unique battery of skills necessary for the personal development of an employee (Kozlowski & Salas, 2009). Thus, it would be an inconceivable folly to distinguish the operational training needs from those of a person (Wilson, 2005). Simultaneously, it is very important to remember that the identification of a persons training needs per se does not constitute the linchpin of the training needs analysis.

Employee name

Position

TNA done by

Major tasks of position

Training/skills development required?

What training needs exist?

How will this be achieved?

 

When?

Training provider?

 

Y

N

       

Organize work process

y

 

Managing people, prioritising

On the job

 

01/03/14-08/03/14

Terry Mattison (former employee)

Make decisions

y

 

Analytical thinking, decision-making, managing risks

External training

16/02/14-26/02/14

Melissa Curt (OSTA HR-manger)

Make and deliver reports

y

 

Managing time, prioritising

On the job

07/04/14-15/04/14

Dominic Hazer (specialist in the field)

Search for new solutions

y

 

Adapting to change, innovating

On the job

05/06/14-08/06/14

Kim Curt (former employee)

Cooperate with other entities

y

 

Listening, communicating clearly

Seminars

12/05/14-13/05/14

Bernard Sheriff (acclaimed expert from the UN)

Cooperate with local authorities

y

 

Being productive, improving performance, seeking feedback

On the job

11/09/14-15/09/14

Steven Liveoak (former employee)

Train recruits

y

 

Sharing expertise, delegating, breaking down tasks

External training

16/07/14-30/07/14

Andrew Cartwright and Johanna Lewis (specialists from the EU)

Make progress

y

 

Influencing, identifying problems, setting goals

Seminars

09/03/14-11/03/14

Terry Mattison (former employee)

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Table 1. TNA timetable.

Questions that need to be asked at organizational level

What impact will training have on the long-term sustainability, competitiveness, and productivity of the OSTA?

What does the OSTA want to attain in the set period?

How is the OSTA going to make this happen?

Questions that need to be asked at operational level

What political, social, economic and technological external factors affect the productivity of the OSTA?

What are the specific training needs in the sub-departments of the OSTA?

What are the target participant groups?

Questions that need to be asked at personal level

What do the employees need from the OSTA to help them to reach their career goals?

Where do the employees see their careers progressing over the course of the next year?

What are the major skill gaps?

How many people need to undergo training?

Table 2. Questions to consider.

Areas that should be considered when prioritising

How will the development of these skills impact the productiveness of the OSTA both in the short and long run?

What will be the costs of and benefits from investing in the development of these skills?

Which skills have the strongest bearing on the achievement of the OSTAs long-term goals and objectives?

Which training needs should be tackled with urgency?

Table 3. Areas of the analysis.

Training Needs Analysis at the Organization for Strong and Thriving Africa

The Organization for Strong and Thriving Africa falls back on the plethora of methods in a bid to ensure that its TNA captures the whole picture. Thus, methods of discerning training needs employed by the OSTA run the gamut of importance from observation, regular progress meetings, questionnaire surveys, interviews, tests and examinations, group conferences, business and production reports, personal records, management requests and job analysis to annual appraisals and long-range organizational planning. While the majority of these methods have a universal character and can be used in a variety of ways at each TNA level, some of them have a narrower use. For the sake of brevity, this paper does not launch into digression on the need to analyze the aforementioned methods, for their names are fairly self-explanatory.

Speaking about the data required in analyzing training needs, the OSTA specialists tend to obtain the detailed description of the specific tasks or processes and the sequential relationships between them. These data serve as the basis for establishing the performance standards against which to measure both training activities and behavioral change. Performance standards currently used in the OSTA avail those in charge of the TNA against the daunting challenge of garnering pertinent data. In addition to all this, the present measurable performance of the organization needs to be determined. The bottom line is that the OSTA makes every exertion to ensure that its employees are trained enough to alleviate the desperate plight of the African people inflicted on them by the buffetings of social and political upheavals.

 

 

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