Kickstart a Needs Assessment Training


My father owned a corporate office design and office furniture dealership. I used to work for him for many years. Steelcase was one of the many manufacturers he dealt with. According to Noe, when a needs assessment is being done it is to locate the “pressure points.” He says that that there are three basic areas to analyze for them: organizational, persons, and tasks.

What stakeholders would you want to make sure to get buy-in from?

Steelcase key stakeholders would include CEO’s, customers, dealers, and employees. These stakeholders are in one of three industries: health, education, or workplace. Steelcase has several different brands and does business internationally. Therefore the scope of the needs analyses should be broad enough to collect data from each group and should include what Noe posits, “ pressure points (from) performance problems, new technology, internal or external customer requests for training, job redesign, new legislation, changes in customer preferences, new products, or employees’ lack of basic skills.”   

What questions would you ask (and to whom would you address them) during the organizational, person, and task analysis phases?

Organizational questions for Steelcase CEOs: 1. Are manufacturing procedures safe and efficient? 2. What steps are being taken to train the talent base to innovate commercial interior design? 3. What sustainability strategies exist for new and old products? 4. All of Steelcase product is manufactured of plastic and metal, with what partners and in what areas are sustainability being protected and threatened?

Person questions for Steelcase employees: 1.What are top challenges in communication with Steelcase 2. What drives your Steelcase brand and product knowledge? 3. What impacts assembly and installation procedures? 4. What are interruptions in your workflow?

Task questions for dealers: 1. In what ways do product and industry knowledge impact market share? 2. How do logistics procedures affect  Steelcase relationships with dealers and customers?

Questions for all: 1. Are customer needs being met? 2. Is knowledge being shared efficiently and effectively?

What documents or records might you ask to see?

  1. Training manuals
  2. Sales reports
  3. Employee Files
  4. Safety Records
  5. Sustainability Audit
  6. Damaged Goods Report
  7. Customer Testimony
  8. Assembly Manuals and Software
  9. Brand and Product Manuals
  10. User Manuals
  11. Recall Report
  12. Supply Chain
  13. Logistic Reports
  14. Marketing Tools

What techniques would you employ (see Table 3.2 on page 108 of the Noe text), and why?

Interviews would be ideal when working with Steelcase management employees because their information is critical to get a sense for they type of need and the magnitude of those needs as it pertains to implementing training to address the problem. Interviews will provide a better sense of the mood and other nuances that exists and more than likely managers will have more time to meet than other stakeholders. Online questionnaires are the best way to assess customer and dealer needs because it’s the quickest, easiest, least expensive way to assess needs in mass and instantaneously.  Comparing documentation to observed practices is the best way to determine if company objectives are being met.


Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee Training and Development(3rd ed., Vol. Chapter ). Retrieved July 15, 2017, from Training and Development.pdf


Office Furniture Solutions, Education & Healthcare Furniture. (2014, June 16). Retrieved July 14, 2017, from


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