Category Archives: Needs Analysis

Use the Grid To Plan Organisational Training Needs

It was key to Labour’s successful handling of public relations and the press and it infuriated many newspapers by appearing to pre-empt many stories that would have called for a swift reactive response from No10. And, coincidentally, it was the departure of a second Mr Brown from No. 10 Downing Street in 2011 that saw the end of ‘The Grid.’

As an author on the subject of Needs Analysis (Successful Training Needs Analysis in a Week, Hodder and Stoughton) it became instantly apparent that there was a parallel use that could change the reactive management of staff development into proactive management. This blog is an edited extract from ‘Development Needs Analysis’ an eBook coming out in 2015.

If we start with something that is embedded into change management we get a glimpse of the power of the grid – PESTLE. Most manager know that this refers to the change ‘triggers’ political, economical, social, technological, legal and environmental. The PESTLE headings now provide focal points for pre-empting training needs.

The Grid would list in a calendar format the events that directly and indirectly affect the then government so – equally – it could be used to list the events that will directly or indirectly affect the organisation.

Here’s a small example of a grid structured around one week of political activity in the House of Commons:

01-07 Dec Mon  Tue  Wed  Thu  Fri  Sat/Sun
House of Commons  Road Investment and NHS  Counter Terrorism Chancellor’sAutumn Statement  Pensions  International Development and Economic Growth in London
Other News
 Organisation Events

Board meeting with accountant to discuss AS

[See Point 6]

 Other Events (sports, music, etc.) FA Cup [See Point 5]
Training Need?  [See Point 1]  [See Point 2]  [See Point 3]  [See Point 4]

Here’s just a quick set of thoughts that could be addressed before the events listed take place:

  1. If the organisation is involved in the construction or planning of roads then this might lead to a need for more tradesmen or planners. On the other hand it might mean laying off workers in the future and a need to train someone internally to take over a planning activity. The same applies if the organisation is the NHS or a supplier to the NHS.
  2. Is the organisation involved with counter-terrorism? Will this lead to new opportunities in sales with a consequent need to train more sales staff on particular equipment?
  3. Does HR need to change pension policy? It might not need training – just an adjustment in the way that a pension is calculated.
  4. International development might need speakers with a foreign language. Economic growth in London might require more staff to meet new demands.
  5. The FA Cup could lead to an involvement ranging from sponsorship through to hosting in a hospitality suite. Does the organisation need to engage and train ‘hosts’ to ensure that all networking opportunities are identified?
  6. Is there a need to train a minute taker?

If these ‘grids’ can be projected into the future then it is possible to predict organisational training need. The above example only mentions a response to political and economical change triggers but what about the other triggers such as:

  • Social – There is always a social impact with a budget. There will be a social impact with regards to many of the items listed in the grid above from changes in the NHS (changes in best practice to deal with increase in patients for example). Even down to training staff to run a ‘food bank’ (food management, people management, empathy issues, etc. are just a few)
  • Technological – New growth brings new technology and money to buy it with. But if growth means recruitment then training will be required.
  • Legal – New laws dealing with counter terrorism will lead to training needs (how to recognise terrorist activity, how to use electronic equipment, etc.).
  • Environmental – Investment in roads will lead to environmental issues. Some of those issues will be difficult to deal with. Training may be required for PR when presenting new roadways to the local community. There may be a need to train volunteers to help create new habitats and then move endangered species of wildlife.

Just by looking at one week’s programme for the House of Commons we can see that a multitude of organisations might be affected and all of the change triggers are felt.

There are some many more events that might or might not affect an organisation. But by using a grid there is much more control and proactivity when addressing training needs.

Interestingly, the same grid would still allow you to plan for press releases just as it did for Alistair Campbell (to whom this post owes so much – thanks). But there may be another training issue there e.g. do you need to develop an internal PR team or do you need to develop someone to handle an external PR company?

Further to that do you need someone who understands the social media streams that your organisation uses – Twitter, Facebook, and/or Pinterest?

The grid is a vital decision card in the MAPP Development Needs Analysis set. But in 2015 it will become a MAPP card set in its own right. In the meantime, there are product details for the MAPP DNA product page and in our MAPP Store – just follow the links below: