We're talking about your employees, of course. You might think you understand the knowledge gaps in your organization, but often, these gaps are more complex and far-reaching than we realize.
Because many employers assume they know where the skills gaps are in their companies, they end up creating training programs that are out of touch and a waste of time and money. Thankfully you can avoid this problem with an engaging but targeted assessment.
Assessments aren't just a "nice to have" in today's fast-paced workplace, they're a "need to have." You shouldn't even begin the instructional design process without understanding the areas in which your employees lack knowledge and skill.
Unfortunately, organizations rarely do pre-training assessments and often set their programs up for failure.
Ultimately, you won't be able to measure the success and ROI of your training program without understanding where you started. Without an effective pre-training assessment, making adjustments and improvements to your program becomes virtually impossible.
There are a lot of assessment tools out there, but not all of them accomplish everything needed to design an effective learning program. What you don't want is to deliver an assessment just to say you did it. You need valuable insight that you can immediately put into action.
The end-goal is to understand the current state of a department's skill or knowledge level and compare it to the desired level. Here's what you need out of any pre-training assessment you give.
#1 ESTABLISH A BASELINE OF WHAT YOUR LEARNERS KNOW AND DON'T KNOW
To design an effective assessment, you need to have a deep understanding of the goals of your organization and each department within. This knowledge allows you to know what questions will give you the most visibility into your employee's knowledge level.
For example, if your training initiative is to increase product knowledge across the organization, your assessment should be asking key questions related to the product. To make your assessment as effective as possible,you may need to work closely with the product manager to design the questions.
The results of this assessment will give you a baseline understanding of how well your employees know your products and where to focus your training efforts.
#2 FOCUS YOUR TRAINING AND MATERIALS ON AREAS OF WEAKNESS
After your initial assessment, you can break down your results to understand unique knowledge gaps by department and even by individual.Like in our earlier example, you may be surprised to find that marketing knows a lot about your product and only needs some refresher training, while operations has very limited product knowledge and will need more in-depth training. This data will help you design appropriate training programs for each team.
#3 IDENTIFY SKILL GAPS
Now that you've identified the skills gaps in your organization, it's time to do something about it. The whole purpose of your assessment is to create learning programs that help achieve the goals of the business.
Back to our earlier example again, now that you know your operations team has very little understanding of your products and solutions, you can design a comprehensive training program that helps them understand everything about your product.
Since the marketing team has a pretty good product knowledge overall, there's no need to make them go through an entire training program on it, that would be a waste of their time. You may just have marketing do a brief refresher on your product.
This is the point where you can choose which gaps are the most crucial and set priorities. By focusing on the biggest areas of weakness first, instead of carpet-bombing your organization with training they may or may not need, you'll save time and money.
Your initial assessment should be the cornerstone of your training program, but eventually, you'll need to assess again. It's a great idea to conduct a follow-up assessment that measures the success of your training program and bi-annually verifies the ROI.
You should also conduct assessments each time you implement a new training initiative. For most programs, the initial assessment will set you up for at least 12 months of successful training and organizational improvement.
If you want to assess what your employees know and what they don't, Trivie's a great option, and did we mention it's free?
One quick gamified assessment will help any company identify knowledge gaps, inform the trainers where they need to focus their efforts during training and establish a baseline for later measurement.
Whether you have ten employees or 100,000 employees, Trivie can help direct and ensure months of learning success in just minutes.