In some organisations an organisational level analysis is only undertaken for particular reasons, for example, a change in overall business, HR or learningstrategy, or when key leaders change. In others it can be an annual process or updating. At a departmental level, L&D may initiate the process when they feel thattraining or learning provision may have moved out of alignment with businessstrategy, or when major change is being planned. For individuals, the review of current skills and learning needs often is planned into the performance managementor appraisal process. See our factsheets on performance management andperformance appraisal for more information.
Knowledge, skills and attitudes versus competences
Knowing what jobs will be done, now and in the future is the first step. Then comesthe more detailed analytical process for each category of employees covered:
What capabilities will be required to carry out the job? (the personspecification)
What capabilities do existing employees possess? (a formal or informalskills analysis)
What are the gaps between existing capabilities and the newrequirements? (the learning specification).
Training professionals have used a breakdown of capabilities into ‘knowledge, skills,attitude’ as a convenient shorthand for analysing needs, and it is a useful way toensure that no requirements are missed. For example, in looking at the requirementsfor competence in a project manager:
Knowledge elements might cover the nature of the projects managed,techniques of project management, and possibly the system used tomanage projects in that part of your organisation.
You would expect high levels of skill in dealing with other people,managing the project team, and perhaps influencing senior managers or important stakeholders.
You might also look for some attitudinal requirements such as attentionto detail, and drive or persistence, to overcome obstacles or to see theproject through.However, the development of competency frameworks has overtaken this in manyorganisations, and these provide more detailed structures for looking at jobrequirements – see our factsheet on competency and competency frameworks for more information.The task then becomes one of comparing current and new roles with the demandsset out in your organisation’s framework, or against generic frameworks. Wherecurrent employees’ capabilities have also been matched against a framework, then itbecomes easier to identify the gaps.