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Assessing Training and Development Needs

For the industries where I work (construction, engineering, architecture), the development needs are fairly obvious. These are technically excellent people. They usually have little trouble with the technical end of the business. Where they usually get off-track is with people skills, relationships, communication, teamwork, etc.

In addition, we have found stress and burnout to be epidemic in these industries, so our programs address the people side of the equation as well as a mental and physical peak performance aspect. The cool part is that we have found a correlation between the emotional and the physical. I am unclear why we in the West try to separate the two. These are year-long programs that create true and lasting changes in the participants.

If I were to look at a generic laundry list of assessing development, I would say:

  1. Have your jobs clearly defined with specific skills and abilities and don’t leave out the “soft” skills.
  2. Measure the skills and abilities of your people. This can be done in a variety of ways through evaluations, formal and informal assessments, and dialogue.
  3. Discuss where each individual wants to be professionally and personally. Have them set goals.
  4. Measure any gaps between skills, requirements, and where they want to be in the future.
  5. Start the dialogue of development with each individual with clear goals.
  6. Provide them with the resources to attain these skills.
  7. Follow up continuously with coaching, encouragement, resources, etc.
  8. Check in occasionally (not just once per year): Review of where they are, where they are going, and how to get them there. These follow-ups can happen as often as daily.