The purpose of this activity is to aid in the decision making process by defining all the elements, issues, facts, and features taking place in the client's system or process. The information gathered in this step provides a basic background for training developers, consultants, contractors, etc. Training programs have failed in the past and will continue to fail because the training activity did not understand the needs or wants of its clients.
While the first step in the Analysis Phase, Business Outcome, determined the desired objectives or results to improve the organization (positive impact), this step, Performance Analysis, determines the exact cause of the performance deficiency that is preventing the business unit from reaching its objectives and then identifies the performance required to reach the objective. This is shown in the backwards planning model:
The Performance Analysis Quadrant
Customer or clients will often present all performance problems as training problems, thus the need to fully analyze the problem in order to determine its root cause. This tool is used to help narrow the root cause of a performance problem. By asking two questions, “Does the employee have adequate job knowledge?” and “does the employee have the proper attitude (desire) to perform the job?” and assigning a numerical rating between 1 and 10 for each answer, will place the employee in one of the four performance quadrants (see note below):
- Quadrant A (Motivation): If the employee has sufficient job knowledge, but has an improper attitude, this may be classed as motivational problem. The consequences (rewards) of the person's behavior will have to be adjusted. This is not always bad as the employee just might not realize the consequence of his or her actions.
- Quadrant B (Resource/Process/Environment): If the employee has both job knowledge and a favorable attitude, but performance is unsatisfactory, then the problem may be out of control of the employee. i.e. lack of resources or time, task needs process improvement, the work station is not ergonomically designed, etc.
- Quadrant C (Selection): If the employee lacks both job knowledge and a favorable attitude, that person may be improperly placed in the position. This may imply a problem with employee selection or promotion, and suggest that a transfer or discharge be considered.
- Quadrant D (Training): If the employee desires to perform, but lacks the requisite job knowledge or skills, then additional training or coaching may be the answer.
Note: The four quadrants are based on Jones' (1993) description of the four factors that affects job performance.
Is it a Training Problem?
The performance problem chart shown below can also be used to help determine if the problem is a training or other performance problem (Laird, 1985, p63).
When developing training solutions, base your decisions on the appropriate analysis techniques discussed in this chapter. The urgency of the problem might lead you to want to curtail all training and development techniques, however this should not be done as you could end up with a bigger or more expensive problem than what you started out with. Follow the model and adjust it as your instinct tells you to. Once you have a solution designed and implemented, evaluate it, and then fine-tune it. As Seth Godwin wrote:
Here's what we used to do:
Create —> Edit —> Launch
Here's what happens now:
Create —> Launch —> Edit —> Launch —> repeat
You should also understand the scope of the system or process. The scope of a system is the system's boundaries. For example, you are analyzing a production department and you notice that it takes many supplies to keep it operating, such as raw material to make the product, cleaning supplies, maintenance supplies, etc. Don't get led off into studying the inventory control department, unless you are sure it is the source of the problem. They are probably two entirely different systems or processes. Stay within one process at a time until you thoroughly understand it. A process is a planned series of actions that advances a material or procedure from one stage of completion to the next. The beginning of a process starts with a trigger that causes a specific action to be taken by a person, another process, or work group. The ending occurs when the results get passed on to another person, process, or work group.
Knowing the basics of a system enables you to better understand the tasks that lay ahead. Although you are interested in the system as a whole, so that you may understand its purpose and goals, the main emphasis of this initial research should be on the people within the system. You need to learn as much about the proposed learners (target population) as possible. The target population data is essential and most useful when making decisions about the proposed solution. You must understand the people issues! This is the biggest variable in a training program... and one of the hardest parts of a training program to account for. Statisticians can tell you every fact you want to know about the average person—but I dare you to find a real live average person. Listed below are some of the aspects you should be looking for:
- Anticipated number of learners
- Location of learners
- Education and experience of the learners
- Background of learners
- Experience in present or related jobs
- Job performance requirements versus present skill levels
- Language or cultural differences of learners
- Motivation of learners
- Physical or mental characteristics of learners
- Specific interests or biases of learners
Invite the client manager and supervisors to lunch or meet on a regular basis. Guide them into them discussing their problems and frustrations. Managers do have time for short encounters, and most of them actually like the opportunity to discuss their issues. However, they do not have the time or resources to tackle a training needs analysis project. That is the designer's job.
During the meeting, do not mention training or methods for solving performance problems. Your job is to guide, listen, and interpret. Once the lunch or meeting is over, reflect on what was said and use that information in your analysis. When it is time to brief them on your initial analysis project, show how the training department can help with some of their problems.
Go to the next section: Needs Assessment
Return to the Table of Contents
Analysis Templates (contains several analysis templates)
Bowsher, J. (1998). Revolutionizing Workforce Performance: A System Approach to Mastery. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Jones, B. (1993). The four domains affecting job performance. Internal Document, Delta Air Lines. Atlanta, GA. As found in, Mancuso, V. (1995). Moving from Theory to Practice: Integrating Human Factors into an Organization. Seattle WA: Annual Flight Safety Foundation Conference. Retrieved Aug 17, 2011 from http://www.crm-devel.org/ftp/mancuso.pdf
Rittel, H. (1972). On the planning crisis: systems analysis of the “first and second generation.” Bedriftsokonomen. No. 8, pp.390-396.
Trolley, E. (2006). Lies About Learning. Larry Israelite, ed. Baltimore, Maryland: ASTD.
Wick, C., Pollock, R., Jefferson, A., Flanagan, R., (2006). Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development Into Business Results. San Francisco: Pfeiffer