Training Industry

Workforce Development

  • Using Training Needs Analysis to Choose Between Local and National Training

As a business grows, its training methodology should evolve with it. With the prevalence of technology in today’s workforce, traditional training methods aren’t living up to expectations. In a 2015 InterCall survey of more than 200 employees, one-third said that the training techniques their company uses are not a productive use of time, and another third said they were not interesting or engaging. So what are companies doing wrong?

Analyze Your Needs

The first step when planning or considering restructuring your company’s training program is to complete a training needs analysis. This analysis helps determine who needs training, what kind of training they need, where they need it and how much it will cost.

There are nine steps to a training needs analysis:

  1. Determine the desired business outcomes.
  2. Link desired business outcomes with employee behaviors.
  3. Identify trainable competencies.
  4. Evaluate competencies.
  5. Determine performance gaps.
  6. Prioritize training needs.
  7. Determine how and where to train.
  8. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis.
  9. Plan for training evaluation.

One of the most important steps is step seven, determining how to train. It’s important to consider all of the factors involved in this question. For example, determine the optimal class size for the training program. Whom are you training: managers or entry-level employees? What is the subject matter? What is the budget? The answers to all of these questions can help determine whether training locally, at a national center or using a mix of both is will be best.

With improvements in technology, it’s now easier to use a variety of training models that cater to a variety of learning styles. By incorporating a mix of training methods, you can give your workforce the skills they need.

National vs. Local

AAMCO Transmissions, Inc., franchisor of the world’s largest branded chain of transmission specialists, uses a mix of local and national training. AAMCO is well known for its intensive coaching and training, which are provided to franchise owners and employees. One of the training decisions the brand faces regularly is whether it is best to train an employee locally at his or her AAMCO center or to send the team member to AAMCO University, its national center for training.

When making this decision, AAMCO takes all the factors in the training needs analysis into consideration, including the training topic. “If an employee is taking part in ‘minor training,’ such as learning the proper language for speaking with a customer about a brake special we’re currently running, we would hold the training in their local AAMCO shop,” said Bruce Chidsey, vice president of technical support at AAMCO. “However, if there’s a new technician that needs extensive training on transmission repair or a manager is interested in advanced training, we consider that ‘major training’ and always prefer that individual attends AAMCO University in person.”

Traveling to a national training center can provide employees with several benefits, including a sense of worth and a heightened value in the training. These psychological benefits are long-lasting and can cause employees to stay longer with a company, because they feel valued by their employer. If a small or mid-sized company does not have a national training center, Chidsey suggests that the brand consider hosting in-field training in a centralized city close to several locations. This cost-effective solution can also create camaraderie in a particular market.

Look for Best Practices

Aside from doing in-depth research and reflecting on the current needs of the your employees, it’s always a good idea to take a look at your competitors or companies that are generally admired for their employee retention and training. Research the methods they use, or reach out to their human resources department to get in touch with their training managers. Gathering best practices from successful companies is not only smart; it’s cost effective, because you’ll spend less time and money developing materials from scratch.

With gas prices dropping and travel costs becoming increasingly competitive, it’s a great time to re-evaluate training programs using a training needs analysis. Think through current training methods and consider in-person training. No matter how developed technology becomes, the time employees spend interacting in person is invaluable.

Brian O’Donnell is senior vice president of franchise sales and support for AAMCO and vice president of operations for ACI, ADC and ADCC.

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