Make the most out of: Training and development needs

Last week, I wrote about the importance of setting and updating objectives as a part of the performance management process. When we say ‘objectives’, most people imagine SMART goals such as ‘reduce the transportation costs by 5% in Q4’, ‘hire 4 new account managers by the end of 2015’. 

While these work-focused objectives are hugely effective for delivering the business performance you’re looking for, we mustn’t lose sight of who does the actual work: the employees. 

Most people want to develop and challenge themselves, learn new skills and achieve greater levels of job satisfaction. In fact, an organisation in today’s economy that doesn’t provide means for this will quickly find its top talent walking out the door to find an employer that will. Hence, personal objectives developed by individuals themselves are just as important as work-related objectives that are driven by the organisation’s overall goals.

In many cases this is an area where HR / L&D should get involved: laying on training courses, seminars, mentoring schemes, secondments and so on. 

In the past, your L&D manager would need to chase up and collect in all the appraisal forms to see what personal development plans had been drawn up by the employees. After a lot of hair-pulling and re-keying, they might have a spreadsheet listing all the training and development needs for the organization.

Surely there’s a better way? 

In adopting Appraisd, you’re giving all your employees a simple way to specify their training and development needs – and for your L&D manager to extract all this information in an instant.

There are two main ways how you can implement training and development needs on Appraisd:

1. A Training Needs section within the form

The first and simplest way is including ‘Training needs’ section as a part of the appraisal form. Here, employees will answer a straightforward question such as ‘What are your training needs for the future?’
Then, when you need to analyse the training needs across the whole of your organisation, just follow these steps:
  1. Go to the Administration center via the cog menu, click Reports > Scores and comments.
  2. Use the ‘Select a question’ dropdown to choose your training needs question from your form. 
  3. If you like you can narrow the date range you are interested in to show just the most recent round of appraisals.
  4. Click ‘Generate report’.
Voila! The list of all training needs is ready for you and displayed below. But perhaps you would like to see how many people are interested just in Excel training? No problem at all – use the search field right above the list to filter the answers in any way you want. You can also export the results into Excel or PDF. 

2. Personal Development Plan 

The second option is more sophisticated and more powerful. Instead of having one text box on the appraisal form, a Personal Development Plan is added to your Objectives page, beneath your existing work-related objectives.
As the appraisee (or line manager or HR) you can add personal development activities on this page at any time. Each one has a due-by date and you can specify other details such as how this activity will help you in your job or what kind of activity it is – e-learning, coaching and so on.
They function in much the same way as the green objectives – you can add, comment or completed them on the Objectives page of Appraisd or within the appraisal form. To learn more about using the Personal Development Plan and how you can alter it to suit your needs, refer to our documentation on customizing objectives templates
To report on all personal development activities identified across the organisation:
  1. Go to the Administration center via the cog menu, click Reports > Objectives.
  2. Select “Personal development plan” as the template.
  3. Specify the date ranges you are interested in and decide if you want to see completed objectives or just the active ones.
  4. Click ‘Generate report’.
Appraisd will instantly list all relevant personal development activities with the option to search through the answers or export them.
You might like: It’s great if people take initiative and specify their own needs but what if you want to pin people down to choosing from a pre-defined list of approved options? Just send us the list of the sessions and we’ll add a dropdown list onto your template. This will help you avoid any disappointment as well as make your training needs analysis that much faster.
Both options are effective ways to understand the training needs across the whole company. It then depends on your organisation’s culture which option you should select. Talk to us to discuss your needs. 

Bonus feature: Real-time training needs analysis

As you know Appraisd is about enabling performance management and personal development all through the year, not just at annual appraisal time. So how do you, as an L&D manager, know when people have added personal development activities?
Just enter your email address into Administration Centre > Settings > Emails > Objectives administrator and you’ll receive weekly alerts of any personal development activities that have been added in the previous week. This will help you keep on top of things without even needing to log in to Appraisd.

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