Needs assessment and Training Programs to improve Employee skills

Needs assessment and Training Programs to improve Employee skills


Hewlett Packard’s (HP) services division has been implementing employee training programs as a way to improve its consulting and integration business. The training programs which were started after a needs assessment was conducted have continuously been changing to suit the organization’s external IT needs. Through the programs, HP’s staff members can improve their skills which are required to meet the ever-changing needs of the global workforce. After acquiring training through several methods such as e-learning, using HP’s knowledge management system and self-paced instructions, the trainees are certified as competent project managers by ESI International, the body charged with administering the training.

Importance of Needs assessment in developing a training plan

Before any training program was initiated, Ron Kemf, the director of project management competency and certification at the company, held a needs assessment alongside other stakeholders to determine the best training methods that would be applied. It is essential for any organization to conduct a needs assessment if they anticipate to bring in significant changes in their operations. A needs assessment can be described as a process applied by organizations to define priorities, improve organizations and allocate resources (Grimsley, 2016). It’s concerned with finding out the requirements and gaps between the company’s current state and where it sees itself in the future. This is then followed by applying a plan of action to close the gaps. It can also be termed as the procedure of gathering information on an expressed company requirement that could be accomplished by organizing training.  In this case, a needs assessment was conducted to find ways to improve the performance at HP.  Through the assessments, the company was able to plan for the project managers’ training programs. Some of the ways that it was beneficial include; the assessment assisted in gathering information used to make appropriate decisions. Collecting information involves procedures of developing new facts or reconciling current statistics of the company.It is during this phase that the organization determines its needs. In this case, HP identified the urgency for additional resources, new technologies, and professional project managers to remain competitively relevant in the market.  The analysis helped the company figure out where they are(inadequate and incompetent IT project managers) and where they desire to be (focusing more on external IT consulting and acquiring professional project managers). Also, the needs assessment assisted the company to develop the training through data analysis and exploration to identify ESI international as the best training body to choose (University of Minnesota, 2019).  HP had to implement market research methods like analyzing secondary data and surveys of potential training institutions before narrowing down to ESI international. The surveys and evaluation carried out by the company identified the training programs offered by ESI to match their goals that will fill their gaps. Therefore, the assessments were beneficial to HP in data gathering and analysis of their organizational gaps plus identifying the alternative solutions to fill the gaps.

HP’s current problems

HP is now faced with several problems years later after launching the training programs to improve the skills of their project managers (University of Minnesota, 2019). Among the issues they face are; competition from other companies offering similar services and a need to address thenew gaps that come up with emerging technologies. Other IT companies have caught up with HP and are now recruiting professional project managers and staff members certified by ESI international.  The organizations are also sourcing external consultancies allowing them to bridge the gap between them and HP’s competitive strategies. In addition to this, the company is facing a transition in its workforce as multiple employees who had received training are close to retiring. The company will have to apply changes in its training methods to address these problems. HP should apply new models in their training programs that are unique to retain their competitive edge as a business with professional staff members who have more skills compared to other companies offering similar services.ESI international and HP can collaborate to develop a unique logical training model that applies new software and hardware resources. Also, their training plan will have to be modified to include young individuals who are now entering the job market.

Coming up with a new training plan

Creating the training plan could begin by carrying out a new needs assessment first. The needs assessment needs to define HP’s current inadequacies,the type of assessment information they will develop plus the formalities that will be involved in theassessment (Weisberg, 2017). The training plan should also state the people who will be involved not only in training but also the needs assessment. In this case, HP could involve the customers in the needs assessments by encouraging them to raise any complaints they have on the way the company offers its services. The employees need to be involved in creating a training plan. They could be interviewed or fill in questionnaires on the skills required to address the complaints by customers. The outcome of the new training programs is to improve customer care and satisfaction. Also, the new model will allow the company to incorporate the young employees into their training addressing the vacancies left by retiring employees.

The difference in training plans if HP was smaller

HP is alarge organization, making their needs assessments and training plans extensive and complex. They have to involve many people in these exercises during data gathering and analysis. Some of the processes would not be similar if the organization were smaller in size.  The number of staff members will be much smaller allowing the company to organize them into focus groups (Weisberg, 2017). The focus groups are composed of a small number of individuals who are involved in a pre-determined, focused conversation led by a skilled assessor. Also, the few employees will allow the organization to conduct key informant interviews. The interviews are intensive and the participants selected are only the persons who meet certain standards based on their experiences. This way, the company will be able to collect information on how different staff members feel and perceive the training programs and assessments.


Training programs are a vital way of improving the professionalism of employees in an organization. Companies are employing the services of appropriate training institutions to train and test their staff members. This not only increases the skills of the employees but also boosts the quality of services offered by the companies giving them a competitive edge. For organizations to find out the best training programs and models to follow, they need to conduct a needs assessment first. This assists in identifying the deficiencies within the company and the alternatives to address them.The information collected is used to develop training plans and other methods to address the inadequacies after analysis. Organizations should be ready to support training programs when need be as they are useful.



Grimsley, S. (2016). What Is Needs Assessment? – Definition & Examples. Retrieved from

University of Minnesota. (2019). Conducting a Needs Assessment. Retrieved from University of Minnesota:

Weisberg, A. (2017, December 17). How to Conduct Needs Assessment Part . Retrieved from NC State Industry Expansion Solutions:


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