Organisations are not simply composed of one type of individual with one set of skills but a whole set of abilities. This view was underlined when I co-authored a Training Needs Analysis Manual. This was designed to look at enterprises at the Organisational, Occupational and Individual levels. There was also a section of non-training related issues.
My colleagues and I interviewed a selection of people at every level with a back-up questionnaire for those with whom we did not have face to face contact. Organisational training issues were examined. These included the needs of the whole operation. Then we repeated the exercise by looking at the skills required to do each job. This was followed by examining the skills of each individual in relation to their jobs.
We analysed the information and included our findings in the report. Where we found gaps in the knowledge and skills, we recommended practical ways of addressing these.
Finally, we looked at the ‘non-training related issues which concerned staff. These ranged widely covering not only the jobs they were doing, perception of management, both good and bad, facilities in the canteen, bullying and/or lack of career progression.
We received a high rate of satisfaction with our work. Only one organisation out of more than 50 rejected our findings. This was a company whose Managing Director was known as ‘Charismatic Cameron’ and this was not meant as a compliment! We offered to return his money, some £3,000 but he refused to accept it.
As well as working with businesses my colleagues and I travelled all over the country, including Northern Ireland training people in colleges and universities, as well as enterprise companies in how to use the manual and techniques on reporting.
People are clearly very diverse, which was underlined by the TNA surveys. Psychologists generally divide people into two main groups of personality: extrovert people-orientated and who feed on contact with a diverse range of others who are themselves diverse! The other group is introverts, regarded as ‘self-contained’ with a much lower need for interaction with others. The former are suited to occupations involving a good deal of interaction with others, for example marketing, selling, acting and politics. Many introverts are scientists and researchers, writers and composers.
Diversity also informs the way we communicate with others and the ‘Circle of Influence’ course reveals we communicate differently with other people depending on the issues and circumstances in which we are engaged. This is well-demonstrated and provided we realise it we can enjoy diversity in both our working and social lives.
Then, there is the diversity within all of us. We have unused talents, whether they are musical, academic, sporting literary or anything else. So many people say to me “Oh, I could write a book, if only I had time”. I used to think that too. So I decided to write a Scottish family saga, ‘Whitewalls’ which was published and I am now working on the sequel ‘Autumn at Whitewalls’. I have a friend who always wanted to play the piano. So after a little persuasion from me he has now bought a keyboard, is learning to play and finding he enjoys it tremendously.
I firmly believe we should celebrate diversity in whatever form it comes for it would be a dull world if we, and all about us were the same.
Christine Richard is a regular contributor to the3rdimagazine.