To alter the belief that training is the solution to all woes, our team needed to educate managers on how to recognize a training issue. Few people in the company understood how to determine whether training was the right solution. In many cases the training they asked for exacerbated their problems because it wasn't supplying employees with what they really needed to do their jobs ”better tools or processes.
We were educating the learning and development staff, but we didn't want to leave them in the awkward position of having to tell managers that the training they requested was not going to solve their problems.
The fastest way to determine if training is the right choice is to put a gun to people's heads and ask them to do their jobs. If they can, they don't need training. However, it's not the most tactful approach, so to assist business unit leaders in determining their training needs, and to act as a defensive measure against unwarranted training requests , we instituted a mandatory needs analysis form (see Figure 4-1). Before any appeal for training could be processed , managers had to complete this online form outlining the specifics of their training need. It asked for the business objectives they expected to support with the training, skill gaps associated with the training, the link between training and job performance, and specific examples of problems the training was expected to address.
The form was designed to show whether a training request was a legitimate one. It also served as a mini-tutorial for managers on training-needs analysis. It gave them clearly defined parameters for training. If training is not the solution, the form will make that clear before the request ever arrives in the learning and development office. We found that this simple requirement dramatically reduced the number of requests for training.