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Industrial and Commercial Training Emerald Article: The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Article
Industrial and Commercial Training Emerald Article: The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Article

Industrial and Commercial Training

Emerald Article: The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby

Article information:

To cite this document: Steve Denby, (2010),"The importance of training needs analysis", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 42 Iss: 3 pp. 147 - 150

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00197851011038132

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Users who downloaded this Article also downloaded: *

Muhammad Zahid Iqbal, Rashid Ahmad Khan, (2011),"The growing concept and uses of training needs assessment: A review with proposed model", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 35 Iss: 5 pp. 439 - 466

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03090591111138017

Jacqueline Reed, Maria Vakola, (2006),"What role can a training needs analysis play in organisational change?", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 19 Iss: 3 pp. 393 - 407

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09534810610668382

Warren Chiu, David Thompson, Wai-ming Mak, K.L. Lo, (1999),"Re-thinking training needs analysis: A proposed framework for literature review", Personnel Review, Vol. 28 Iss: 1 pp. 77 - 90

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00483489910249009

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The importance of training needs analysis

The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.
The importance of training needs analysis Steve Denby Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.

Steve Denby

Steve Denby is CEO at JaywingDMG, Wakefield, UK.

DOI 10.1108/00197851011038132

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe how carefully targeted training can improve productivity of UK insurance company, Moorhouse Group Ltd’s sales team and increased the number of calls it handled by 56 percent.

Design/methodology/approach – An explanation on the use of external consultants and how it helped Moorhouse Group Ltd to identify, design and deliver the training it needed.

Findings – Details of sales training, and the workshops hosted for employees outside the sales area, helped to improve the company’s capability to generate leads and convert sales.

Practical implications – The paper shows how training can help to expand the range of skills available in the workforce as well as improve existing expertise.

Originality/value – Individual action plans were created for people who attended the training and these action plans were handed back to managers to embed the learning into business.

Keywords Training, Insurance companies, Training needs, United Kingdom Paper type Case study

raining can be an extremely powerful and cost effective investment by an organisation, but only if it is implemented to match and complement the business’s needs and objectives.

It can help to expand the scope of available skills within the workforce as well as improve on existing expertise, all with the goal of improving the business’s efficiency and effectiveness. And enhancing the capabilities of the team can even support retention, as staff feel empowered and invested in, and better equipped to deal with their daily activities.

However, it is important that any investment in training is underpinned by a clear view of what the organisation’s training needs are. Many businesses face the prospect of wasting valuable training budget because they do not know how to accurately identify what their internal needs are, and thus cannot design the most suitable training and enhancement programme.

It is also important for an organisation not to view training as a one off investment and solution. Training should be about more than simply ‘‘teaching’’ staff new skills or guiding them on how to do things ‘‘better’’. Instead if training is seen as an ongoing process with set goals and outcomes, which are monitored, refreshed and enhanced, it can bring a continued and long-term benefit to a business.

Especially in the case of organisations that use call centres, training can be instrumental in support and improving on a wide range of activities, from customer service to direct sales. But because of these different functions it’s even more vital to identify where training is needed, and which agents would benefit from what support.

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VOL. 42 NO. 3 2010, pp. 147-150, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0019-7858 j INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING j PAGE 147

Therefore the prerequisite to any training investment should be the completion of a Training Needs Analysis (TNA); without it valuable budget may be wasted on coaching and guidance that is unnecessary, and which ultimately doesn’t deliver a return on investment through the delivery of a positive impact on the bottom line.

So what is a TNA? Put simply, it is a methodical investigation and analysis into an organisation’s current and desired performance levels, focusing heavily on the ability of its staff and their support network. A TNA will help an organisation to target specific business issues through designing bespoke training solutions. A typical TNA will bring together quantitative and qualitative information and evidence from a wide range of sources, which are grouped together under the following areas.

Gathering information

This stage of the process will examine quantitative information such as KPIs and targets, conversion rates, productivity, existing skills matrices, sickness, attrition, missions and values and organisational structure.

Process review

Here the analysis brings in evidence on the systems and processes the organisation has in place, which can have an influence (both positive and negative) on the way agents and other staff utilise their existing skill sets. It may include the examination of call flows, performance management and HR procedures, call monitoring, and team development techniques.

Observation

It is imperative that time is spent witnessing first-hand individuals’ working style and aptitude. For organisations using call centres, listening to operators on calls will be particularly insightful. This should not be used in isolation, but rather combined with knowledge of managers and colleagues, attitude and behaviour, and the use and navigation of company systems. Businesses should assess the approach to training at all levels, not forgetting new starters and the induction process.

By applying the stages of TNA outlined previously, organisations can successfully build a detailed picture of individual needs and those of the overall organisation. By applying this understanding to any training programme, organisations are taking steps to ensure that training will boost the effectiveness of the workforce.

Training is an ongoing process, one that is continually refreshed and renewed and where employees are encouraged to revisit training materials after the event. And naturally the content and style of materials should be tailored to the needs of the individuals undertaking the training.

But can businesses be sure that an off-the-shelf package will cater for the needs of all their staff? Or is a bespoke package created specifically for the business going to give greater benefit for the investment? All these aspects should be addressed before investment is made.

Any training whether internal or externally provided requires a process of evaluation to determine its success. It is an error to execute a training programme without an audit procedure already built into the process. Only through evaluation can the success of a programme, or the areas for improvement, be determined.

All this information combined builds a picture of what training is required, so an appropriate programme can be designed, implemented, and most importantly monitored and evaluated in the long term, to demonstrate the effectiveness of investment.

We have successfully used this process with Moorhouse Group Insurance, proving that by undergoing a TNA, a clearly defined training strategy can be created and implemented. The following case study outlines this process in greater detail.

PAGE 148 j INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING j VOL. 42 NO. 3 2010

‘‘

‘‘ .] if training is seen as an ongoing process with set goals and outcomes which
‘‘ .] if training is seen as an ongoing process with set goals and outcomes which

.] if training is seen as an ongoing process with set goals and outcomes which are monitored, refreshed and enhanced, it can bring a continued and long term benefit to a business. ’’

which are monitored, refreshed and enhanced, it can bring a continued and long term benefit to
which are monitored, refreshed and enhanced, it can bring a continued and long term benefit to

The Moorhouse TNA was so successful that the organisation has appointed JaywingDMG to implement its dedicated training programme over the coming year.

Moorhouse insurance – sales performance development

Brief

Moorhouse Group Ltd provides a wide range of business insurance policies including professional and public liability, single van and fleet vehicle insurances, legal protection and retail. In a challenging economic climate and with competition for business insurance intensifying, Moorhouse has ambitious plans for growth and is pro-active in identifying areas of improvement to ensure higher levels of insurance sales in their main sales centre based in Caerphilly, South Wales.

Moorhouse choose to have an independent analysis of sales performance with a particular focus on agent capability. This information was vital in providing the basis of workshops designed to improve lead generation and sales conversion in the business, and to continue building a training culture into Moorhouse.

Approach

JaywingDMG’s team of experienced training consultants began by carrying out a training needs analysis, so a bespoke training course could be designed to address the specific business issues being faced, and which a generic off-the-shelf course may not be suited.

The team carried out the majority of this training needs analysis on-site using a variety of approaches, including meeting with the Managing Director Sian Pryce, along with the board of directors and management team, live and recorded call listening, observing the management of the sales centre operation and speaking to a variety of agents at all levels.

The JaywingDMG team also reviewed new starter induction training material and observed this existing training being delivered. The team was also careful to ensure that the analysis included departments other than sales, such as customer service, broker to broker, credit control and accounting to ensure a view of the entire business.

The main focus of this analytical approach was to identify training needs to improve agent capability. With experience in call centre management and operations the JaywingDMG team was also able to provide additional recommendations; key to embedding new call centre management principles, to improve performance day to day.

There were two recommendations for training following the training needs analysis:

1. Sales training. The first was a sales training course, which covered the skills required at every stage of the sales process. This two-day course was aimed at those involved in directly selling insurance policies to new and existing clients. The most popular element of this training, as indicated by post-course evaluation, was communication skills such as questioning techniques, handling objections and assertiveness techniques. These were also the main areas that the training needs analysis revealed as being key areas for improvement.

The training included a short period where delegates were given the opportunity to take live calls whilst putting skills learned into practice and receiving one to one feedback. At

VOL. 42 NO. 3 2010 j INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING j PAGE 149

the end of the training, they also compiled development plans to allow their managers to embed their learning into the operational environment.

2. Workshops. The second training recommendation was to host a number of workshops for areas outside of sales to help them discover ways in which those departments could generate more leads for the business. The three-hour workshop encouraged discussion, allowed delegates to come up with ideas and concluded with action plans being developed to ensure the ideas were taken forward into the business. These action plans have been the driver for the business establishing working groups to turn these ideas into business processes.

Almost 100 agents received one or both of the courses within one month of the contract being agreed and within the timescales agreed by the business.

Deliverables

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

Training needs analysis completed using a variety of methods and approaches.

Bespoke sales training course designed and ready for first delivery within timescales agreed.

Three lively training courses delivered to all agents – interactive and fun to ensure agent ‘‘buy-in’’.

Two lead generation workshops delivered to create opportunity for lead generation culture to be embedded and ideas to generate more leads taken forward.

Individual action plans created and handed back to managers to embed learning into business.

Delegates given high quality workbook to support learning and refer back to after the training event.

Training material handed over to business to allow material to be included in new hire induction programme.

Results

B

B

B

B

On making the necessary improvements recommended by the team the business reported an increase in productivity of 56 percent.

Identified additional operational and cultural changes leading to 56 percent increase in productivity.

Positive feedback received from those attending the course.

Business signed up to a 12-month training programme with JaywingDMG following the success of the work carried out.

Testimonials

Sian Pryce, Managing Director of Moorhouse Group Ltd commented: ‘‘The energetic training style and interactive content ensured that team members of all levels felt comfortable and confident. JaywingDMG took a holistic view of our business, not just from a training angle. They shared some useful recommendations on how we could improve productivity across the operation, increasing the number of calls handled by 56 per cent overall. We were particularly impressed with how easily the trainers integrated into our organisation with no disruption or ‘hand holding’, in spite of the short project timescales.’’

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