Copyright

What Is Needs Assessment? - Definition & Examples Video

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Is Operating Budget? - Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is A Needs Assessment?
  • 0:26 Steps
  • 2:20 Example
  • 4:42 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
A needs assessment is a tool that can be used in strategic planning. In this lesson, you'll learn what a needs assessment is and its steps. You'll also have a chance to take a short quiz after the lesson.

What Is a Needs Assessment?

A needs assessment is a process used by organizations to determine priorities, make organizational improvements, or allocate resources. It involves determining the needs, or gaps, between where the organization envisions itself in the future and the organization's current state. You then develop a plan of action to address the needs (or closing the gaps) to bring the organization closer to its desired future state.

Steps

Let's take a quick look at general steps taken in a needs assessment.

Exploration and identification: During the first phase of the needs assessment, you need to determine what you already know about your organization's needs, whether it be additional resources, new technologies, or market expansion. It's about figuring out where you are and where you want to be. You also need to discover other undisclosed needs that may be hindering you from moving from where you are to where you want to be. You will often rank these needs in order of importance. You will then set the scope of your research. In other words, the needs you are going to focus on.

Data gathering and analysis: At this stage you are collecting the information you need to better understand the gaps (needs) between where you are and where you want to be. Data may be collected from internal company records or externally through market research techniques such as surveys and analysis of secondary data, including statistical data collected by the federal government. After the data is collected, it is organized and analyzed.

Utilization: This is where the data you analyzed is used to create a plan of action and implement it. You will set priorities, evaluate solutions, apply a cost-benefit analysis to determine which solution is best in light of the relative costs and benefits of each, formulate a plan to implement your solution, and then allocate the resources necessary for implementation. Again, the goal is to develop a plan to close the gaps between the organization's desired future state and its current state.

Evaluation: While many organizations will not evaluate the results of their needs assessment, smart organizations do. You will evaluate the results of the action plan against the results: has the action plan placed you closer to where you want to be? Evaluation can help you determine what made an action plan successful or find the errors in your needs assessment. For example, did you miss an important gap, or were the resources you allocated insufficient to close the gap?

Example

Let's look at an example. Imagine that you are the president of an auto manufacturing company. You want to increase your company's market share over the next five years. Unfortunately, the latest marketing data shows that your company actually suffered a slight decrease in market share last quarter. It's time to perform a needs assessment, so you gather your brain trust.

You and your team start with the exploration and identification process. You already know where you want to go and where you are - your market share has decreased and you need to increase it. You focus on identifying the gaps preventing you from achieving your goals. You note that your product line is stale since you haven't rolled out a new model of car in over six years. You also note that your competitors have rolled out new cars. In fact, the recent drop in your sales coincides with the roll out of a new model from your major competitor that competes with your flagship car. You decide to have your marketing department perform market research to determine the best target market for the production of a new model that gives you the best chance of increasing your market share.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support