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Identifying training needs across countries


have just joined a company post merger and a need has been identified to improve business performance via training.

The co. has c2000 staff across 23 countries and we need to identify the key training needs, particularly of front line managers (including regional sales managers) within the next couple of months.

Does anyone have any advice on a quick, simplistic approach that can be used to help prioritise the key training needs wihtin a short time frame?

Many thanks
Niki Price

7 Responses

  1. Simplistic.
    The normal reason for depressed performance lies in the behaviour of the managers towards the workforce.

    Over 90% of people who leave their jobs do so as a result of what has been done to them by their manager.

    By training the managers to listen to the workforce and respond to what they want you will be able to measure the ROI very rapidly in terms of increased performance.

    If you need help sourcing training materials let me know.


  2. Hard to do
    If all your people across these countries worked in the same pattern and had the same cultural and social mores this wouldn’t be too difficult you’d build a matrix of essential skills and have managers in these locations assess against them.

    Unfortunately they won’t have and this makes a generic set of skills and competencies to a large part valueless as simple things can make a huge difference between cultures – for example eye contact which in the UK is considered a sign of honesty and empathy in a sales man can be seen as a sign of outright hostility in others and so on…

    I think your best bet is to work with senior managers on identifying their priorities in each country and then work with local providers to address these needs effectively.

    Good luck, a hard but I would think, very interesting task.

  3. the staff’s fault?
    Hi Niki

    The issue with the idea of “improving performance through training” is that there is an implicit assumption that this is the staff’s fault (and their responsibility to make things right), and as has been noted, nothing to do with relationships, systems, processes, etc.

    Before embarking on this analysis, I’d suggest you might ask some critical questions about how training comes to be identified as the means to sort out business performance. Otherwise you could do a fantastic TNA, follow up with training and do zip to improve things….

    And I agree with Nik – I doubt there’s anything that would work in the same way across 23 countries that’s “quick and simplistic”.

  4. foucus on results
    Hi Nicki
    you have a challenge on your hands
    the only way that i have have done this successfully (but in a far smaller way!)is to focus on “improving performance” and not on training and development. there needs to be some common goals, mission or strategic obejtives which all of these people share. the idea is creat a series of practical workshops (max 1 day) at which indivuduals are asked to bring along their own examples of opportunites to improve performance within their area of repsonsibility which will contribute to those overall objectives. during the workshop the facilitator helps attendees identify “roadbocks” and their own “readiness, wilingness and ability” to improve performance. if you need any more detail on how to construct the workshop please get in touch by email at

  5. TNA
    If the company has just merged, there is probably a lot of issues sloshing around such as ‘how we used to do things around here’ including attitudes towards training, performance management and also feelings about the two merging organisational cultures in general.

    Whatever you do, recognition of past experience is paramount together with ensuring that there is a clear understanding about where the organisation is now going and what needs to be done to get there.

    A tough call. Possibly, one strategy might be to tackle the issue with a different spin, rather than calling it a tna, perhaps a survey amongst the managers to find out what skills would help them and their staff achieve the new vision/goals – if they know what the collective vision is…..? Equally, albeit controversial, it might help if you asked front line staff too about their skills and their manager’s skills.

    Another idea – how about talking to customers? (360 feedback)

    You might not want to do the above, but it might be a platform to promote further ideas.
    email me if you want a chat about this.

  6. Back of a *** packet
    Niki, my advice is to take the bull by the horns. No point debating whether it is or isn’t an actual training need (the assumption is that training is going to improve things, so just go with it for now). I suspect that this is a really good opportunity for you also to build your own business credibility, so here is my take on things. I think you coul ddo this is a not too sophisticated or onerous way through a couple of emails and a giant XL spreadsheet.

    The first question (email) should be directed at the “owners” of the performance, i.e. the front line managers boss and the front line staffs bosses. Ask them to list what are the key areas of performance that need to be improved in order to execute the new(?) stratgey and deliver the business plans. Then ask them to list the skills that are needed in order to deliver that (those) performance(s). Once you have a list. Creat a spread sheet for each geographical territory / job function / organisational level with the skills listed. Ask the same people to then list the people who need this particular skill and what the priority is (you can use a grid with 1 being high priority and 3 being low priority – meaning it can wait a bit).

    Collate all the data that comes back (thankless task) and build a training plan for the next 6 – 12 months to deal with the priority training needs. If you want any more help then please contact me.

    Good luck


  7. Cross country TNA
    Hi Nikki

    I have recently been through a similar exercise myself within our organisation. One of the key things I found was to start with the basics – e.g. do the recently acquired organisations have the fundamentals in place to allow them to do their job? e.g. systems, software etc and the ability to use them? The immediate post integration needs we identified were pretty basic, however crucial if people were to be given an opportunity to perform.

    If you would like to discuss this further please get in touch as this is an ongoing process for us and it would be interesting to share any ideas you have.




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