Canada Association of Tourism Employees

What Is A Wants Evaluation?

What is a needs assessment?

Gus Presta described a needs assessment as “an examination of the gap between the desired state of an organization and its current state. When done properly, a needs assessment challenges assumptions and adds data and divergent perspectives to the discussion, mitigates groupthink and individual bias, enables better decision-making, leads to inclusion, and ultimately leads to better, faster business results. ”A needs assessment is critical to determine what type of solution is required to achieve the desired results. Without it, talent development professionals risk creating training programs that do not support organizational needs or solve the business or performance improvement problems.

What are the needs assessment steps?

According to Deborah D. Tobey and Beth McGoldrick in Needs Assessment Basics, 2nd Edition, the 7 steps in training needs assessment are:

1. Perform an external and internal organizational scan

Training professionals should spend a lot of time searching the internal and external environment and gathering information from many sources, such as: B. Newspapers, current events, annual reports, financial statements, customer service data, strategic plans, benchmarking and the break room.

2. Gather data to identify business needs

From the scanning process, the needs assessor should identify the current organizational needs, which are divided into three categories:

  • An opportunity that must be seized (e.g. a new product or a new market)
  • A problem that needs to be resolved (e.g. waste, customer complaints, poor product quality, absenteeism)
  • A business strategy that needs to be supported (e.g. a marketing and product approach that targets a specific age group or a hospital that wants to call itself “the best maternity hospital in the community”)

Business needs can be identified at the macro level (the overall organization) or at the micro level (a department or unit, depending on who your customer is).

3. Collect data to identify learner performance, learning, and needs

Several sources of data need to be considered in order to determine the desired and current job performance, desired and current skills and knowledge, and the needs of the learner. Each needs group is likely to include needs that are based on a lack of knowledge or skills of the staff (which can be addressed through training) and needs that are influenced by other factors that require solutions without training.

4. Analyze data

Data analysis provides key information that identifies the gaps between desired and current job performance and between desired and current knowledge and skill levels so that the ultimate training design targets these gaps. Understanding the extent of these gaps also helps the needs assessor prioritize the various issues that need to be addressed.

5. Identify potential training solutions

At this point in the process, either the needs assessor or the customer has typically identified potential training initiatives. Sometimes the needs assessors reach out to their customers to share insights they made while scanning the organization, and sometimes the customers take the first step.

6. Provide feedback on data analysis

The needs assessor gives a presentation or creates a report for the client detailing the data analysis, training recommendations for design and execution, and recommendations for non-training (recommendations for solving problems not caused by knowledge or skill deficits).

7. Transition – start of the training design process

Here the process goes into the design. When the needs assessment is well done, the curriculum vitae will have extensive information to create targeted learning objectives, learning activities, job-related content and materials to support the activities, measurement and assessment tools, and a learning environment.

This process includes many steps that occur before a training solution is even mentioned. It is vital that any training initiative undertaken is linked directly to the organization’s business needs through internal and external scanning and business need detection, before any other work is done. If not, no value is added.

How is a needs analysis carried out?

What needs assessment techniques do you use to achieve the assessment results? Basics for Needs Assessment, 2nd edition, describes the methods of data collection, which are either qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative methods – surveys, ratings, and tests, and work item analysis – are those that lead to hard data that is objective and measurable, be it in terms of frequency, percentage, proportion, or time.

Qualitative measures – interviews, interviews with critical incidents, focus groups, and observation – provide soft data that are more intangible, anecdotal, personal, and subjective, such as opinions, attitudes, assumptions, feelings, values, and desires.

Both quantitative and qualitative data are important to the needs assessment process and would work well here. For example, for the final training design, it is just as important to know how the practitioners (qualitative measure) feel about a skill as it is to know how well (quantitative measure) they perform it.

Quick tips

  • Don’t assume that what worked in the past will work now. Get out of your comfort zone and be open to change.
  • Use an ideal vision as a basis for planning.
  • Distinguish between ends and means (focus on what comes before how).
  • Prepare goals – including the ideal vision and mission goals – that include actions on how to know when you have arrived (mission statement and success criteria).
  • Define “needs” as a result gap (not as insufficient resources, means or methods).

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