• Appraisal and supervision meetings allow individuals to reflect on their own learning needs in relation to their work objectives. What additional skills and learning do they need to improves what they do?


It is important to take into account people’s career ambitions and personal development objectives. With flatter organisational structures, there may not be endless opportunities to move up the career ladder, but people are unlikely to remain motivated if there is no progression or challenge built into their work. However, there is also a need to be realistic about what you can offer by way of development opportunities and not to raise expectations too high.

“If you are asking for people’s training needs, then as an organisation you need to be able to meet them, or at least partly meet them, relatively quickly. If people ask for training and don’t receive it they can get disenchanted and it affects their view of training”

Assessment tools such as 360 degree feedback systems can be helpful in getting a more rounded picture of individual performance, and the impact that people are making at different levels within the organisation. This tool is perhaps particularly appropriate for those in management or leadership roles. The Third Sector Leadership Centre has reviewed a number of assessment tools, and case studies can be found on www.thirdsectorleadership.org.

Identifying learning needs at individual level is not just about what needs to be learnt, it is also about how best to do it. Find out how people have enjoyed and benefited from learning in the past. More information on learning styles visit the Campaign for Learning website.

Some questions to ask for your personal development plan [1]

  1. What do you want to get from your work?
  2. What are your strengths?
  3. What areas would you like to improve?
  4. Where would you like more responsibility?
  5. What is preventing you from developing as you would like?
  6. Which interests or talents would you like to develop?
  7. How do you like to learn?
  8. What skills or experience would allow you to feel more confident at work?

The outcome of training/learning needs analysis at an individual level should be a Personal Development Plan