Unpacking the New World Kirkpatrick Model # 1 - Carrying Out a Business Needs Analysis
Although the Kirkpatrick Model is known as a training evaluation model, I believe it is far more than this, and is In fact closer to a full project and change management model. Therefore I’m not going to start with discussing evaluation but align more to the Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles and start at principle one which is the end is the beginning and carrying out a business needs analysis.
Normally when there’s a request for training or learning, there is an underlying business issue or opportunity underpinning this. So instead of starting with a learning needs analysis we need to keep the end in mind and start by thinking of the organisation results, we need to carry out a business needs analysis (BNA).
A BNA has three primary steps
- Determine the ultimate organisational result
- Identify key stakeholder expectations
- Determine short- and medium-term measures that align changes of on-the-job behaviour to organisational results
Step one is to understand the ultimate result for the organisation. This is what the organisation exists to do, so in the case of a not for profit, such as healthcare, this will be about better patient outcomes, in government it may be about keeping citizens safe and for a commercial company it will likely be about profitability or shareholder value. Getting clear on this is incredibly important and yet hard to get heads around when we are “just delivering a learning program” and the ultimate result seems a long way off. I’ll come back to answer this in step three.
Step two is to identify your key stakeholders and what they are really looking for. Key stakeholders are those individuals who have most to gain, or lose, by solving the organisation problem or achieving an identified opportunity. They will have a vested interest in the results and may well be the sponsor of any learning element. We need to identify these stakeholders and start a dialogue to Identify what they are really wanting to achieve; at strategic level this is about determining what business results they need to achieve, what KPIs do they expect to see moving, what performance needs to be improved. It has been interesting that in our experience this is often a very cloudy view and differing leaders are looking to achieve differing results. It will take time and great facilitation skills to really gain a clear understanding of what they expect. At a tactical level we start a performance needs alalysys (PNA), what are the on-the-job performance expectations and how does current performance affect business results? I’ll talk about this more in the next blog on completing a PNA and identifying critical on the job behaviours
As a helpful aid we have created a series of questions that may help you to understand your stakeholders’ expectations. You can access these questions here
Step three is to think about the gap between the BNA and the PNA and ask what results are likely to occur if the performance change is going in the right direction. These measures should align from the performance improvement towards the ultimate organisational result.
But then how do we connect a potential learning programme to these organisational results and the ultimate goals when the ultimate goal is a culmination of hopefully, the whole organisation working towards this over time? The answer is to create short- and medium-term measures that align upwards from the efforts of individuals, teams and departments, towards the ultimate goal. In the New World Kirkpatrick Model these measures are termed leading indicators and could include measures of quality, sales, cost, customer satisfaction etc. The good news is that the majority of these measures already exist within the organisation and therefore will have credibility with stakeholders.
So, in summary, our job is to really understand how any potential learning links to the business and to create a partnership approach with the organisation at both strategic and tactical levels. Me must understand what business results are required and how these align to the ultimate goal of the organisation. Our next step is to complete the PNA, the performance needs analysis, and this is the subject in the next of the series on unpacking the New World Kirkpatrick Model