When you're reading a map you can't just identify your destination and start walking – you need to know where you are now for it to be of any use. And it's the same with training. You can't design an effective development plan without first knowing what needs to be improved.
As a starting point, you have to know the current state of play across your organisation, your team and your individuals. Once you've established this you can then plot where you are against your vision and objectives, and you’ll clearly see where you need to change direction. Think about the seven key areas of every business and where your training needs might lie. .
Development needs tend to fall across three broad categories:
Organisational development: required across the board, for example health and safety awareness
Team development: specific to a team or department, such as the introduction of new computers
Individual development: specific to the individual, for example time management coaching
You can make things easier for yourself – and improve employee engagement – by asking your team to help define what your organisation needs. Keep the channels open for a two-way conversation. New ideas can come from anywhere: not only every level of the business, but also from customer feedback, or simply as a result of reviewing your direction of travel.
In fact you should always be able to draw a link between any development needs and the organisation's stated aims. Development will involve investing time and money, so make sure it's doing the job you intended.
It's also important to analyse and understand the individual. Everyone has different levels of skill and their own ways of learning. Putting time into identifying these early will be more effective in the long run. You might find it useful to consider individual needs to identify where training might be valuable. It's then crucial to match their needs with the skills requirements of the company.