Strategies to Best Use the LinkedIn “Alumni Connection” Feature

When it comes to progressing in your career, connections can take you to the next level. And perhaps the most effective place to search for connections is to first look for alumni at your college or university.

When they can, people want to help a fellow alumni out. Not only are they giving back to their school, it feels good to help someone along on their career path. And now connecting with your alumni is easier than ever before with LinkedIn’s “Alumni Connection” feature. So keep reading to learn how to take advantage of this tool today.

  1. Know Where Your Alumni Work

After you log in to LinkedIn visit and the social network will pull up all the alumni they can find based off of the education you’ve provided in your profile. As soon as you see the people you have in your network, you’ll realize that getting your foot in the door at a great company is easier than you thought.

For example, if you’re looking to do a career pivot and change your career, you can reach out to alumni in the field you’re interested in and let them know about your plan. You can ask to learn more about what they do and meet some influencers in the field.

  1. Identify Which Companies Hire Alumni

Although companies won’t necessarily claim an allegiance to a certain college, they may still have a preference. Now LinkedIn will quickly show you which companies are proud employers of your fellow alumni.

You’ll be able to easily see if a company has an affinity with your university and if they do, you’ll have alumni contacts inside the organization to help you get in. With the LinkedIn feature, you’ll also be able to see popular jobs with alumni so you can learn more about those too.

  1. Connect with Alumni

By far the most valuable part of the feature is that you can connect with influential alumni on LinkedIn. Make sure you tell them why you’re connecting and if there is any way you can help them too.

In order to truly leverage LinkedIn’s “alumni connection” feature you need to get in touch with the alumni. Because you both share the same educational experience, you’ll be more likely to build a relationship with alumni quicker.

Start Getting Connected

The “alumni connection” feature on LinkedIn can help your career reach new heights. Make an effort to expand your horizons and reach out to alumni you don’t already know. Have you ever had a good experience networking with an alum? Tell us about it in the comments?

List of Top Recruitment, Headhunter & Job Agencies in Singapore

During conversations with friends, family and clients I am frequently asked which recruitment agencies in Singapore I recommend and which should be avoided.

While I do have certain impressions & views on the topic, I thought it would be good to get a feel from people in the trenches.

So I started by searching several forums & websites to gather comments, mostly from job seekers, who have dealt with employment / recruitment agencies in Singapore.

I went back to around the end of 2009 and think I managed to put together all comments from forums and other sources available on the internet, which provide feedback on various recruitment agencies in Singapore.

As a job seeker, this article can help you get great information about dealing with recruiters in Singapore, in 2 ways:

  1. Go through or search hundreds of revealing comments from job seekers at the end of this post, to learn from other’s mistakes when dealing with recruiters.
  2. Read feedback collected from other websites/forums, on various recruitment agencies.

Achieve Group/Career Consultant

  • “worst experience is with: achieve”
  • “today I received my first call from a new agency (for me), Achieve Careers. OMG! The way the agent talk is like “take it or leave it”. I was actually interested in the job offer but her attitude really turned me off. Plus she suddenly started to speak in Mandarin halfway. Its actually ok with me but isn’t it kinda unprofessional?”
  • “Achieve has long list of Singaporean blacklisted”
  • I would also like to share my job hunting experiences using these recruitment agencies in Singapore. The worst experience I have ever encountered was with Achieve Group. One of the agent (S*rah T**) called me, talked me down by saying lack of exp, lack of relevant degree cannot ask for high salary and be picky about it. Not only that, she arranged an interview without telling me the location and job description and didn’t confirm with me till the actual day. I was appalled when I found out the JD of the job was something else during the actual interview. After the interview, she continued to talk me into taking the offer so that she can meet her sales quota. Of course, I rejected her offer knowing that this is not the job I want to do. “
  • met a female rather plump consultant who colluded with the client and paid me lesser than required. and threaten me that she will call the police when i ask her about my pay. she is from ACHIEVE CAREER”
  • “Based on the responses I saw in this forum, there are many junior recruiters around and they do not have the adequate knowledge of the job but just wanted to reach their sales quota of the day and hence they become very pushy and aggressive. “
  • “I had a very bad experience with this recruitment agency in Singapore. Achieve group. this evening at abt 8plus a guy call daryl from this company called me and asked me qns in a very rude tone which I felt offended. I told him I felt offended and he replied me very rudely that if just because of wad he asked I felt offended then I’m not suitable for the position and just hang up the phone without saying sorry or thank you. I called back demanding to speak to his manager n his reply was “you wait long long ah” (sounds childish isn’t it? makes me wonder wad type of recruitment consultant this company is hiring.) n when I insisted he actually replied me “what the **** you want” how is this professional when he used vulgarities when his signboard is hanging his employer’s name. I told him how could he use vulgarities. n he dared to challenge me by asking wad can I do to him. n I told him I will bring this matter up. he challenged me again saying “you come la. I invite you down”
  • achieve career got me my 1st job tho, the career consultant xj, was a nice guy and they weren’t as stuck up as i would imagine they to be even tho my qualifications isnt high. Despite going for one interview and the recruiter didn’t want me,he still called me and got me a contract job. Too bad, i didn’t have the opportunity to thank them”

Recruit Express Pte Ltd (Singapore)

  • “i had a bad experience with recruit express a couple of years ago. i got a part-time job as a promoter through them, but on my first day of work, the supermarket i turned up at wasn’t even expecting me! i had no choice but to go back home through no fault of my own.”
  • “i think RE requires people to sign contract and you have to pay quite a lot if you break their contract. i don’t really like RE, most of the time they just totally don’t bother helping me find a job at all.”
  • “Yes, I do agree with many of you who have posted negative comments relating to Recruit Express. I had several interactions with more than a handful of agencies but Recruit Express was the worse I have encountered. “
  • “I consider Recruit Express’ consultants as unprofessional even though they may be dressed in business suits; their actions, their language and their attitude was a total disgrace; they seemed too $$$-focused and overlooked the importance of sustaining future sales and have been having bad reputations which all explained by their substandard service quality (to companies and to candidates). It’s quite helpless to rely on them, seriously.”
  • “Alright I wanna let you guys know that i’m now currently working at RE whoever knows it, I have to admit that i might not be competent enough to do this job. But i just think that its unethical to cheat/ lie or give people a false hope, AN EXTREME false hope especially now during the recession. I’m being forced to hit quotas like meeting 10 candidates a day, send 10 resumes to client and 3 candidate interviews with client.”
  • “Alright i’ve just received letter from RE upon breaching the contract in which i’m rather confused but, i guess i’ll just ignore it. and they ask me to pay 879$ after deducting the working days. that’s total blood sucking, and stated they won’t hesitate to take legal actions.”
  • “Anyway what i know from them is that if I get a job from them, we need to pay $50 by cash or money order. Then must work at least 3 month otherwise we need to pay 80% of yr 1 month expected salary.”
  • “i am currently under contract with RE. One thing i can say is that this agency is delaying my pay. Supposed i shall receive by the end of April. But while my colleagues from other agencies got the pay, i am still like calling up the agency for my pay. Firstly, the first excuse they give me is the payroll officer is on leave”
  • “when i first graduated from junior college, waiting for my university to start, i tried job hunting to direct employers..but without prior work experience, i had to seek help from recruitment agencies in Singapore and my friend introduced RE.. i tot the service wasnt too bad as my agent improved on my resume, found me a suitable job. however, my friend who also got her job through RE happened to read the email that was sent from RE to her employer about the salary payment/transaction. temp/contract staff like me and my friends were paid $6/hour (the lucky ones got it at $7/hour), but in fact, according to the email correspondence between my friend’s employer and RE was that her salary is in fact $9/hour…meaning RE is ‘eating up’ $3/hour as agency fee..too ridiculous to me.”
  • “Strangely, didn’t have that bad experiences wit recruit express…”
  • “I’m a Senior HR professional wkg for various MNCs for about 8 years…Sad to say its true that many recruitment agencies in Singapore r substandard..u will realise that the better recruiters are caucasians notably aussies..they r courteous, professional and will always try to follow up if possible. My opinion is that the worst agency in Singapore is Recruit Express. The only reason they r doing well is they know how to provide good account management to companies but they show a different facet to candidates.”
  • “definitely on my “DO NOT GO” list… many agents behave in a childish & unprofessional manner; major turnoff”
  • “I again had a bad experience with a female consultant after 6 years at Recruit Express UOB Tower 1 56th floor last week. Please aware of this consultant as she use hard sell tactics to force candidates to take up jobs from her private clients. And here is her profile at LinkedIn :…cmpt%3Aprimary
  • Recruit Express is No. 1 on my ‘Worst’ list as well. Only contract you on the very last min and they screw up, telemarketing sale can become retailing sales!”
  • But they were voted best recruitment company leh.. I wonder how they manage to get it.. Ya, I agree, RE really wasting my time to go down fill up form and never reveal details, hide information until last min then tell you”
  • Had bad experience with recruit express also. All different agents from same or different branches will call you down to fill up forms over and over again. They have to understand that it is important not to waste candidate’s time.”
  • Mine RE branch is at the Ngee Ann City. I applied for the post of engineering asst offered by RE via the job portal. That was the first time I went down to Recruit Express and my experience with them was a pleasant one. I was kind of taken aback when I read through forums in jobscentral and hardwarezone to learn that many ppl have bad experiences with RE. I guess I was really very fortunate to come along a friendly and thoughtful consultant who can even goes as far as giving me additional tips/advices on getting through my second interview with their client successfully. “
  • Consultants let candidates make wasted trips to their office , cater only to candidates with high qualifications”

Adecco Singapore

  • “I have taken up numerous job assignments from Adecco and from my experience, I did not see a cut in my salary and neither did they require a fee for using their service.”
  • “If you are looking for a job, go for the reputable ones such as Adecco, Kelly Services and Manpower. Agencies that are in the Global Fortune 500 are even more trusted.”
  • “I do have a personal friend who got a job through Adecco agency and very happy with her current job with good pay and no need to work long hours too.”
  • “Although they are my competitors, i must say that they do have a very good reputation and till now i’m impressed with their service.”
  • “I have good experience with Adecco. Few years back, I got a job with a US MNC through Adecco recommendation and my pay is the same as those who were recruited directly by the MNC”
  • “Adecco and Kelly Services not bad”
  • “i have been to Kelly, Adecco & GMP. All 3 provide good service to me.”
  • “The person who spoke to me is well-mannered and explained patiently to me”
  • “Adecco is much better.”


recruiters in singapore

Kelly Services

  • “If you are looking for a job, go for the reputable ones such as Adecco, Kelly Services and Manpower. Agencies that are in the Global Fortune 500 are even more trusted.”
  • “I feel that Kelly Services is not a bad choice.”
  • “Kelly services seems quite reputable and reliable”
  • “Adecco and Kelly Services not bad”
  • “I’ve gotten a job (worked for an established logistic co.) before from Kelly Services. The consultant even came down to the my workplace to check up on my friend & i and also some of my other colleagues, who apparently gotten the job through KS too. Anyways, there weren’t any processing fees whatsoever but just the same ‘no termination within 3 months’ thingy.”
  • “Kelly Services for me. had a bad experience with them once.”
  • “i have been to Kelly, Adecco & GMP. All 3 provide good service to me.”
  • “Kelly Service didn’t give me good impression when their consultant called me, so i let them fly kite”
  • “Some weird agent asked me go to her office keep on calling my given name as my surname! told her not to release my CV unless she tell me what company she got pissed off and became very rude! I was like WTF!”

SG Recruiters

“Sgrecruitment is the worst”

JAC Recruiters Singapore

  • “I considered JAC recruitment as the best recruitment agency in Singapore thus far. They are sincere with their service, very professionally and ethical. Their business operation standard has far exceeded beyond other agencies that still use paper+pen for registration and have you to fill up few pages”
  • “JAC is good while recruit express is crap.”

Mullan Schwartz

“I have just get a job here in Singapore with Goldman Sachs but secured my position through a Hong Kong based search firm called Mullan Schwartz. They were very professional and concentrate on mainly the investment banking sector.”

Global Sage

“I also managed to secure a number of interviews through another firm called HK firm called Global Sage. The firm is staffed by people that really understand investment banking and who have great contacts in the market.”

Manpower Singapore

  • “If you are looking for a job, go for the reputable ones such as Adecco, Kelly Services and Manpower. Agencies that are in the Global Fortune 500 are even more trusted.”
  • “Best experience with: manpower”
  • “For IT jobs, try Manpower Staffing. May not be the most responsive but definitely worth your time. Me & friends – all IT folks got our jobs from there. Consultants very friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand. They fight for our salary as well.”
  • “In terms of more junior positions, they r one of the better agencies together with Randstad. No doubt about it. Everyone knows they r the master vendor for IBM. In other words, you wan a more credible agency you can use Manpower.”

Axis Manpower

“Axis Manpower is the worst agency”

Global Manpower Professionals (GMP) Group

  • “GMP is quite good too as there is CPF contribution from employer part too. I was working as temp IT position then. I seldom see CPF contribution from recruitment agency before for temp position, correct me if I am wrong.”
  • “i have been to Kelly, Adecco & GMP. All 3 provide good service to me.”
  • “remember a REALLY bad experience with GMP Recruitment Service. They turned their noses up at me and said I lacked drive and ambition and would remain a failure in life.”
  • Consultants with stuck up attitude , Look down on candidates with low qualifications”

Unilite Recruitment Services

“I called to enquire about a job before sending in my resume since it is stated in their ad that applicants can call for a confidential chat. Twice, I was rebuffed by an impatient lady who keep saying to send in my resume so that they can KIV my profile if there are no suitable openings. ”

Thomas J Consulting Services

“I went there for interview and the interviewer keep yawning during the interview and even handed me, not his, but another consultant’s namecard!”

Robert Walters Singapore

“This manager is also impatient. Did not want to talk too much to me and she rudely cut me off.”

TBC HR Consulting

  • TBC is commonly recognised as one of the worst recruitment agencies in Singapore.”
  • “Agree with you should forget about TBC. This company blacklisted by many candidates and companies. They last time always delay payment to their staff and promoters until a lot left.”
  • TBC is the worse of the worst recruitment agency. Beware of this TBC consultant, Dave! I’m not going to seek any jobs from TBC and neither am I going to recommend to anyone. “

Search Network

  • “Recruitment agencies in Singapore that charges a fee are purely BS, man! Search Network is another case.”
  • “Search Network are dishonest with payment of salary . You’ll always get $50++ lesser then your actual pay and when u call up the consultants to clarify . COINCIDENTALLY , they’re not there ALL THE TIME .”
  • “Search Network not bad. got my current job.”

Ace Recruiters

“1. I send in my resume on Monday, they called me on Tues morning and I was offered a job on Tues afternoon and went down to their office to sign the contract

  1. the staffs are very polite. Every call they make, they always start with “Hi, is this XXX? i am YYY from Ace Recruiters.” Everytime i call them, they will start with the standard greeting of “hi, XXX company, i am YYY”
  2. And while i was at their office signing the contract, they are really busy, keep making phone calls and doing job matches. i also listen to the way they speak, thus i know that they are not acting but really polite and very friendly as well.
  3. The staff also went through the contract with me in detail and was very patient with all sorts of questions that i asked (i still didn’t trust them 100% though) and they are very transparent in terms of how the money will be process, submission of timesheets etc. all these are explained clearly

the only thing is that they only have 3 staff, so they are really super busy. sometimes the staff might forget so you must take the initiative to check out details”

 Raffles Agency

“The Worst Recruitment Agency EVER in SINGAPORE is RAFFLES AGENCY..I hope Jobseekers never approach this agency..they will fix and change your CREDENTIALS”

BGC Group

  • “Not that bad, no tricks unlike RE”
  • “My worst experience so far is with BGC Group. I applied for one of their jobs through jobsite. One day later I got a phone call from them around noon but I didn’t pick up on time, I called back at 12.10 and was told to call back later as they were all out to lunch. At 2pm I called again and they were STILL all afk (wow 2 hour lunch!), the consultant on the line took my name then promised to ask around to see who called me, ofc there was no reply. 3 or so days later the same thing happened again, I noticed a missed call and called back, I gave the consultant who pick up my name and ask him to help to ask around regarding who called me, he tried to taichi me away but i insisted and then he put me on hold, and after that came back and then said that nobody called me. I want to work for BGC now. 2+ hour lunch + you can prank call jobseekers for fun!”
  • Worst Agency = BGC & TBC & RE. No calls back from BGC/TBC if u failed 1 of the client’s interview – no other lobang for u – Blacklisted !!”
  • TBC/BGC i think same company under 1 boss. If once you attend 1 of their’s client’s interview then if failed, they usually say will KIV ctc u if there anything. but they would throw yr resume aside in the bin and no more news from them. I dont know why both agency are like that.”
  • BGC not bad, looks very corporate. Depending on which office you go to. The one at One Raffles Place, offers alot of call centre jobs. The office at Former Hitachi Tower are more of perm & high positions.”


“They r one of the better recruitment agencies in Singapore together with Randstad.”


employment agencies in singapore

People Search Singapore

“Recruit Express and Peoplesearch are related. Peoplesearch is a sister company of a search firm called HR Net One. The owner of RE is the sibling of the owner of HR Net One. Thats why their philosophy and way of doing biz is similar”


  • “Ambition is a search firm which means they only handle positions above 4k normally. Yes their consultants are quite professional. But then search consultants normally are more experienced and professional”
  • “Recently got a job through Ambition. I think they specialize in operations in the finance industry. The consultant was quite good. Before the interview, he asked me down to his office to prep me for the interview and gave me more info of the hiring managers, which i found very useful. After that, he kept updating me with the results, so ya lor.. I think overall experience is good”

Career Central

Hi friends, I just want a add to the list of worst recruitment agencies in singapore. “CAREER CENTRAL” in tanjong pagar. Until you pay the money they ask, they will respond. Around 1000$ i paid. Later no respect or response they will provide. They will shout back if you ask for reason/clarifications. I dont know how people take others money just for granted shameless creatures. Just an eye wash thy will do. Arrange for a interview and for that they charged around 200$. same company same position they will send 100’s of people and say every one got selected.Then they say give 750$ for mom application procedures. knowingly your application will get rejected[Every one can do this by checking self assesment tool to check salary]they will tell it doesn’t matter and you will get selected with other criterias.They will apply for pass and say thats it we did our job, but you are not qualified. And no repaymet of money. It takes only 60$ for application even that they will get back if our application got rejected. But these people costed like hell..they know we wont be shouting back at them since we would have been in short term visit we will get back to our country and they can live happily. I know around 10 people paid the same in that week. Not even one got selected. I don know how many they will cheat for a month then surprised to think about year. They don understand how people suffer to earn that money. They will also suffer the same way getting cheated by others. Kind advice dont approach/trust and lose hope. Better not to approach this idiots so that atleast we will not feel cheated along with not having a job.”

TCC Group

  • I went to TCC hr to apply for hotel food server job part time, and they require $10 for TCC card, non refundable paid during job training wif employer. Is this reasonable? Also, I have to go to the agency to collect salary, is this standard practice?”
  • i tried TCC before but not on the retail nor F&B side, they also offer part time work at Marina Bay Sand Casino as well. so far experience quite good, if your working at casino, clothing and meals provided..etc salary wise is standard $7 per hour depending on where field your working”
  • Tcc also scam one. They do give some training but the actual job slots? Nothing.”

IT Force

“One more recruitment agency in Singapore to avoid at all cost. IT Force Pte Ltd. their only client is NCS and their big problem is they always late in salary payment. with reason that ncs takes time to pay them. once my salary was late for 2.5 months. Please avoid this agency at all cost.”

Recruit Plus

I would like to add RecruitPlus into the list of worst recruitment agencies in Singapore. I called them up to enquire about a position they have listed on JobsDB. The consultant, Christopher Lim, answered my call and did not even address himself. He spoke with a rather unpleasant/unfriendly tone as if everyone owes him the world. What made me unhappy was when he asked me what I wanted when clearly I told him I called to enquire about the position availability and more details of the job. None of the queries were answered, after which the call was disconnected abruptly. I called back immediately and questioned why the call was hung up. He responded saying that he was in the lift and did not even apologize. He went on asking what my expected and previous salary was and commented rudely after hearing my answer. His exact words were,”Huh! Why you want to change job, your pay so good, I suggest you stay in your current job.” I was literally speechless. He went on saying I don’t have the experience without even vetting through my resume. Totally un-professional! The best part is that I googled his Linkein account and found out he does not even have experience in this field. Really makes you wonder if the recruitment agency really has the capacity to actually help job seekers.”


  • “share with chiu my experience with xcellink.. went for interview last week and few days later was offered the job. went to their office to sign the LOA and they told me to do some xray before i start my job. supposed to start my job this week but when i called them, they said haven’t process my clearance etc. then few days later, call me again saying no longer have this job position. wtf? angry
  • “Consultants not serious and giggle during interview , let candidates make wasted trips to their office , stuck up attitude”
  • Had a very bad experience with Xcellink Pte Ltd named Jacqueline(Piony). Don’t even know what is she doing or reading.”

Advent Resource Consultancy

very rude when calling candidates on the phone , attitude problems , lecture candidates on the phone , hurried interview with candidates at their office , not sincere.”

Multiply Search

“Insisted got many job offers for me, when I asked to email me the job details or call me, he didn’t do it. But when I went down, nothing at all. Also, the person who talked to me wasn’t the one who contacted me.”


  • I would like to add “Hutranz” into one of the worst recruitment agency. As they requested me to provide a early termination from my previous company and promise me they will absorb the penalty, they didn’t give me the “black and white” as i keep asking for it. As they keep saying that they need time to produce the “black and white”, i worked for 2 weeks in an uneasy manner.

    During my payday, i didn’t receive my pay. When I called them, they mentioned that my pay is on hold for “various” reason. They were unable to provide me the “reason” as i asked them. I feel cheated therefore i quit as there is no guarantee that i will get my pay. As i asked them what is the proper procedure to leave the work, what is the notice, they told me 1 word – Why should I pay you? This word is told by “Director” of Huntranz, Suresh. I am furious and i have no way to go about it. Therefore I informed the place I worked for that i will just go and find another job. 

    And within 1 day, I received a “black and white” from them stating that they do not owe me any salary. A word to describe my situation: WTF??? Feeling sad and betrayed, I left the company without getting paid. Therefore hope that the people after reading this post, won’t encounter such issue like me anymore.”

Success Human Resources

Not sure if anyone tried Success Human Resources(peace centre).  I have been spamming my resumes all over, going for interviews to find a job I’d like. Gotten a call from a recruiter (J*nsen), been asked to head down for an interview with him before I went to their client for another interview, for all, which I went, and their client, a banking organization, accepted me. He told me that if i verbally accepted the job, it means that i have committed to the job, and anytime if i back out, i would have to pay a month salary for compensation. After that he told me to start work on Wednesday, then he called again to say they want me to start the following monday instead, and that he will call me back to confirm with me. Of course that didnt happen, and I have to call him for the updates. Then finally he told me that the hiring manager decided to freeze the position. In this process, I rejected 4-5 jobs. 

From then on, he didnt really wanna give an F about me. He’s not even guilty of this. I got so pissed off that I scolded him and ask him to delete my profile from their data base.”

Rcube Vital Consultancy

“But I have recently tried a new recruitment agency and had a not bad experience with them as the staff are polite and friendly, they feel sincere enough to me. Donno if anyone here heard of them before: Rcube Vital Consultancy.”

Applied job with them before, didn’t get selected tho but their staff quite friendly compared to the others…”

4 Ways Career Counseling Can Help IT Professionals

The IT world is extremely competitive, but it can also be very lucrative as well. There are several fields within the IT industry growing rapidly and that means great opportunities for IT professionals. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the software developer field has been growing at an astonishing rate of 22 percent since 2012. In order to take advantage of that kind of career opportunity, IT professionals need to work with career counselors to map out a plan that will allow them to achieve all of their goals.

Define IT Career Goals Clearly

In the IT world, many professionals gain certifications and experience that allows them to cross over into several different fields. The value of an IT professional increases dramatically when that professional builds up an impressive list of certifications, especially in platforms that are dominating the corporate world.

Career counseling can help an IT professional by mapping out career goals that will dictate what certifications and experience the professional wants to pursue. It is easy to get off-track in the IT world and start pursuing certifications that may not have any value in the future.

A career counselor will help an IT professional to develop a career path that will dictate what kind of certifications the professional will pursue, instead of allowing the professional to get side-tracked by wasting time and resources on experience that will never add value to their career.

Stay In Tune With The Changing IT Job Market

Technology changes quickly and the industries that support technology change quickly as well. Career counseling can help an IT professional to stay in tune with the changing IT landscape and help the professional to make sure that they have the proper educational background to take advantage of the newest and most lucrative opportunities.

Persistent Assessment Of Talents

One of the more important tasks a career counselor will perform for an IT professional is helping that professional to assess their talents and make sure that the professional is up to date and competitive.

For example, if a major platform manufacturer changes their technical certification requirements, then a career counselor will be able to guide the IT professional on what they need to do to stay up to date in the IT world.

Help Maintain Emotional Balance

The IT world has many emotional challenges that can be easy to take for granted. For example, IT projects tend to run around the clock and can be emotionally draining and demanding. The desire to move into a new area of IT work can be intimidating, but it can also be necessary when it comes to advancing a career.

A good career counselor also acts as emotional support for an IT professional who can feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated. By helping the IT professional to maintain a good emotional balance, career counseling can keep the professional focused on their career goals.

Sandbox Advisors has years of experience in helping IT professionals to navigate the highly volatile and dynamic IT world and find success. Sign up for a free consultation and let our expert career counselors show you how Sandbox Advisors can be your secret weapon in a successful IT career.

The Need for Training in Creativity and Innovation

Technological Innovation

New products and services are appearing all the time and the latest versions of products are appearing more quickly than ever before. Technological innovation facilitates this increasing rate of product development. Technological innovation also facilitates the development of new processes that produce these products and services more quickly or with better quality. Items that were thought of as belonging to science fiction only a few years ago are in common use today. Technology is pushing the pace of change in an already fast-changing world.

Globalisation and a Shrinking World

Furthermore, the world itself seems to be getting smaller as companies are no longer restricted by distance and time – fast air travel can bring people or products from the other side of the world in just one day. The advances in telecommunications and internet technology facilitate the immediacy of long-distance business. This globalisation of business and commerce has led to increased competition. On top of this, many countries and groups of countries are entering trade agreements with others in order to facilitate increased international trade both inbound and outbound. This too increases competition from abroad.

Internet Business Development

More and more industries are expanding their markets through ever developing internet business models and technologies. The internet itself has vastly lowered the barriers to entry into many markets which again has increased competition in ways unknown only a few years ago.

Economic Turmoil

The economies of Europe andAmericaare in turmoil and these are having a knock-on effect on Asian economies – the level of manufacturing inChinais decreasing month on month.

All of these factors mean companies are facing greater uncertainty, ever-increasing competition and a faster and faster changing operating environment.

The Need for Flexibility and Speed of Response

To succeed – indeed, to even survive – businesses have to be flexible and to be able to respond quickly to their changing environment. This flexibility and speed of response are strongly dependent on creativity. In a relatively high wage economy likeSingapore, the government has urged organisations to be creative enough to add value through creativity and continual innovation. It is through creativity and innovation that new ways of working are developed that ensure survival, profitability and success.

Creativity Skills Needed to Survive and Flourish

To become more creative and innovative, organisations need to train their managers and other employees in creative thinking and creative problem solving techniques. Creativity training will provide them with new skills and knowledge so that they are better placed to solve problems facing the business and exploit opportunities offered by the fast changing environment.

Whatever issue, problem, challenge or competition a company is facing, creative thinking, novel ideas and innovative approaches will make the difference between a stagnant or failing business and one that is thriving and successful. Being effective and efficient in the modern business world requires all employees to have creativity and innovation skills, and not just the managers.

Creative Capability Provides the Competitive Edge

Creativity and innovation training provides managers and other employees with skills that can exploit their knowledge and expertise of the company in new ways. Developing a company’s creativity capability by training employees in creative thinking and creative problem solving can lead to increased productivity; help make continuous improvement happen; develop new products or services; improve the quality and features of existing products or services; and improve processes for faster production and better service.

Creativity and innovation training (whether in-house or through external providers) provide the skills that make the difference in today’s fast-moving and complex world. Creative thinking, creative problem solving techniques and innovation skills are the key to competitive advantage.

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) for Effective Recruitment & Selection

Time and Money

Recruitment and selection of employees can be expensive, especially so when those employed do not stay. The direct costs involved include advertising vacancies, recruitment agencies, and possibly initial training. Then there is the cost of staff time for those involved – not only the time of those involved in writing advertisements, meeting recruiting agents and providing training, but the time already-busy managers will have to devote to sitting on selection interview boards, induction, and various settling-in support activities.

When a new employee decides to leave after a few months, the time and money spent on recruiting them is wasted, and the process has to be repeated to find a replacement – this involves more time and money. Similarly, these costs and time are involved when you need to terminate the employment of a new hire because they didn’t ‘fit in’ or couldn’t do the job as well as expected.

Lack of ‘Fit’

The reason new hires leave or have to be terminated is that there wasn’t a proper ‘fit’ between them and the job or the company. This lack of ‘fit’ results from an incomplete recruitment process, whether in terms of an incomplete person specification, inadequate short-listing or selection criteria, or inadequate training in selection-interviewing techniques for managers involved. Problems with any of these aspects of the selection & recruitment process can result in the wrong person being employed.

Pay Attention to the Process

To recruit a person who is more likely to stay with the company for the medium-to-long-term, serious attention needs to be paid to all stages of the selection & recruitment process. Proper processes and documentation need to be devised including a job description, person specification, and selection criteria for both short-listing of candidates and for final selection. If your company is deficient in any of these, get outside help to remedy the situation.

The Need for Training

Managers and others involved in interviewing candidates for a job must have training (and re-training as required) in selection-interviewing techniques. It is no longer acceptable for managers to hire based only on instinct or ‘gut feeling’. Competency-based interviews (also called behaviour based interviews) produce candidates who have the necessary skills to do the job and interviews like these work best when the appropriate line managers are involved. However, managers require training in order to conduct competency-based interviews successfully as the type of questions asked need to be specifically focused.

Have In-House Capability

Building in-house selection and recruitment capability is cost effective in the long term. Not only are there cost savings to be achieved, but getting the right ‘fit’ of employee increases productivity and morale, and aids staff retention. The most effective way of getting this right ‘fit’ in recruitment is by doing it yourself (DIY).

Make Your Goals Smarter Than SMART

We all set goals. We set personal goals such as loosing weight, or saving more money, or getting a new job. We set business goals or they are set for us by our boss – goals such as increasing sales, increasing productivity, or cutting costs. Frequently however, these goals are not achieved and that’s because they are not sufficiently concrete.
Vague goals are more an aspiration than a goal – they are a desire or a wish that do not have concrete expression.

However, there are those who do set goals and nearly always achieve them. People like Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic or Steve Jobs from Apple – when they set goals, they do so in a compelling way that motivates them and others to achieve them. So what is the difference between goals set by people like Branson and Jobs, and those goals that are not achieved? The difference is positively and concretely stated SMART goals and starting with the end in mind.

Many people have heard of SMART goals, but unless you understand how to make SMART goals concrete, compelling and motivating, they still may not be achieved. So we have to make goals smarter than just SMART by making them concrete and positively stated.

Making SMART Goals Smarter

S is for Specific, Simple, and Sensory-based. An achievable goal needs to be defined as precisely as possible – what exactly is it you want. Write it out in simple terms and in terms of who, what, where, when and how. It should be stated in the positive as something you want rather than as something you don’t want – if your goal is something you don’t want, ask yourself what you want instead. A goal is sensory based when it is expressed in terms of what you can see, hear and/or feel.

M is for Measurable. How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Expressing your goal specifically, simply and sensory-based (as above) will greatly help with this. When you have achieved your goal, what will it look like? What will it feel like? What will you hear? How will you know you are half-way to achieving it? How will you know you are a quarter or three-quarters way to achieving it? What measures will you put in place?

A is for Achievable and Action. Is your goal achievable? Is it within the realms of possibility? If the achievement of the goal is not completely within your control and you need others to do something, concentrate on what you need to do to get them to respond in the way you want (this may be a separate goal to pursue simultaneously or prior to your original goal). Also, if your goal is too big, it may need to be split into smaller goals to achieve it. For any goal to be achieved, action must be taken (more on this below under “T”).

R is for Realistic and Resources. A realistic goal is “do-able” and within your skill-set and available resources. Do you have the resources to achieve it? These resources may be internal or external to self. If you require other resources first, attaining them becomes a prior goal. One way to check for the required resources is to ask yourself what is stopping you from achieving it right now?

T is for Timed and Take Action. An achievable goal must be timed – it must have a deadline. When do you want it? When will it be achieved by? When a goal is timed it adds a sense of urgency to it. Most importantly, to achieve a goal, you must take action. Remember the old Chinese saying that a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step – well, to achieve your goal, you must take action – you must take the first step to achieving it.

Start with the end in mind

Making your goals smarter will make them more compelling and will build the motivation required to achieve them. Developing a SMART goal enables you to begin moving towards achieving that goal whilst bearing the achieved goal in mind. Starting with the end in mind not only keeps you focused and motivated, but will also have your mind open to all opportunities that may assist in the achievement of your goal.

So if your life goals are still dreams, if your career goals are just not happening, or if business goals are not been achieved, restate them in a smarter way and start with the end in mind. Then take the necessary first step. Go for it!

Ensuring Corporate Training Sticks

There are organisational costs to training – and not just financial costs but opportunity costs as well as other resources. Course participants invest their precious time and energy in the training – they are also taken out of their comfort zone and feel the stress of doing new things or doing familiar things in a new way. So everybody wants the training to be successful and obtain its perceived benefits. But how do you ensure that training sticks?

How do you ensure that the new skills, knowledge and attitudes learned are transferred back to the workplace? The key is planning for it.

For the successful transfer of learning to the workplace, one must develop a plan that encompasses three phases: the before, during, and after-the-training phases. Each of these phases is explored below.

Before the Training

This is the key phase as it is when the overall plan is created – unfortunately, in organisations of all sizes and in all industry sectors, it is frequently neglected. The starting point of course is when the training need was identified, whether this was through a formal Training Needs Analysis (TNA) or as the solution to a performance problem – what goal or objective was identified that the training is to achieve? This objective must be clearly identified. Any fuzziness to this objective will cause multiple problems such as unfocused training provision, lack of relevancy in the content, and unclear success criteria. Evaluation of training requires clear objectives to be set at the outset. So, spending time clarifying this with relevant line managers and those providing the training pays large dividends.

Associated with having clear objectives for the training is spelling-out the benefits of the training to the organisation, to the team and to the individual. The latter is most important because participants need to understand what is in it for them: Will they be able to do their job more easily or more productively, and if so, will there be a reward for doing so? Will they be able to take on more responsibility and thus improve themselves career-wise?

It is crucial that line managers are fully involved (regardless of how busy they undoubtedly are). The training manager should make it clear that the line manager has the primary responsibility for ensuring their staff are properly trained and that they must actively supervise the transfer of learning to the workplace. They should also be assured of the training department’s support. So before the training, the line manager should discuss the overall objectives of the training with the participants and set clear goals for the individual participants. This discussion should also include the benefits of the training to the team as well as to the individuals. The line manager should also briefly outline a plan to ensure that the learning and skills acquired are transferred back to the workplace – the training participants should be asked for their initial comments and be told that this discussion will be revisited after the training.

During the Training

At the beginning of the training course (or seminar or module), the trainer should revisit the objectives of the training and briefly highlight its benefits. While the trainer will ensure that the course is engaging and includes techniques to aid the retention of learning, the training manager (or training administrator or internal trainer) should ensure with the trainer that exercises and examples are specifically work related and relevant – this will more easily facilitate the later transfer of learning to the workplace. A useful final exercise in the training is to have participants discuss how they will ensure their new skills or knowledge will be transferred to the workplace – have them develop a plan which can feed into their post-training discussion with their line manager.

After the Training:

The line manager should meet with the training participant(s) as they return to work and briefly discuss how the training went, what new skills or knowledge they learned, and together agree a plan how the new skills etc will be transferred to the workplace. As this was previously discussed before the training and participants also discussed it as the final exercise of the training, a feasible plan should quickly emerge. A review meeting should also be agreed in case things don’t go according to plan.

The before and after planning does not actually involve a lot of time for managers or training participants, but it’s essential if training is to be successfully transferred to the workplace. Training managers or training administrators should ensure the involvement of both line managers and training participants in the process.

Individual Managers Can Make A Shiny Happy Workplace

Recent research has shown that employees in Singapore are not happy in their workplace – indeed, out of 14 countries polled,Singapore is ranked last in workplace happiness! Unsurprisingly therefore, they also ranked as the least loyal to their employers. The research, also revealed that only 12% of the Singaporean employees surveyed reported having a positive and supportive workplace.

Worker perceptions such as these usually accompany less than optimal productivity and a higher than desired staff turnover rate, including problems with talent retention. To do something about this situation, employers must be aware that loyalty and staff retention is not just about money, but about whether staff perceive themselves to be appreciated, valued, supported and respected.

So what can individual managers do to make employees happier in the workplace and thus increase productivity, loyalty and talent retention? Here are 6 areas that might be improved upon:

1. Appreciate and Praise

How often do you hear managers saying ‘thank you’ to staff for their efforts? Even when people ‘go the extra mile’, they frequently are not thanked. A simple ‘thank you’ every now and then has a positive effect on employees and tends to result in them doing more. Similarly, praising staff not only for extra effort or showing initiative, but also for just doing their job well, can help create a positive atmosphere in the workplace.

2. Be Supportive

Being supportive of staff has two aspects – supporting them in doing their job and supporting them with the non-work part of their lives. Even employees who are getting the job done may be struggling to do so. Having a chat with individual employees to check on how they are getting on can sometimes uncover seemingly simple little things that inhibit easier or greater performance. Such chats can also reveal problems in their non-work life, and since what affects their personal life affects their work, facilitating or assisting them in resolving personal issues will also facilitate greater productivity. More importantly, by being personally supportive of staff, the manager builds a more positive and supportive workplace.

3. Provide Training and Development Opportunities

The primary responsibility for the training and development of staff lies with the individual manager. The training or learning & development department is responsible for supporting managers with this, but the primary responsibility lies with the line manager. Managers should be proactive in this regard and always include training & development in performance reviews. Even outside of the formal review, managers should be attentive to signs of a training need or a subtly expressed desire for development. Providing training and/or development opportunities need not necessarily involve a course or cost scarce money. The old ‘sitting next to Nellie’ type of training where an employee sits in with a more experienced or better performing member of staff can produce great results. So too can simply letting a staff member shadow a more senior person for a period to learn more about a job they aspire too. By providing such opportunities, a manager can foster a better atmosphere of support and loyalty.

4. Involve and Engage

The benefits of employee involvement and engagement are increased motivation and commitment. Even in his or her own department, an individual manager can increase the level of employee involvement and engagement. Informing staff of all that is happening is a first step whether this is done through team briefings or a weekly e-mail. Consultation with staff over matters that concern them or their work where the manager informs, listens, and takes into account the ideas, proposals and concerns expressed by employees is another way of building motivation and commitment – but such consultation will be seen as meaningless by those ‘consulted’ if the manager’s mind is already made up. A staff attitude survey can also be a good starting point, provided that the results are shared with staff and they are involved in resolving any issues raised.

5. Ensure Fairness in Procedures and Process

Perceptions of unfairness can lead to reduced motivation and commitment resulting in reduced productivity and loyalty – employees are willing to do less and often criticise the company to outsiders including customers. On the other hand, perceived fairness leads to increased commitment and motivation, greater effort (particularly discretionary effort), reduced absenteeism and increases talent retention.

Procedural fairness relates to the fairness of processes such as the performance appraisal system or the career management system. Many performance appraisal systems have a de-motivating effect on staff. Those where the appraisal process did not begin with objectives being agreed for individuals at the outset and where the manager outlines where the employee could have done better are an example – certainly the employee could have done better if they had known that the manager would focus on these particular aspects of the job! Surely it’s only fair to let employees know exactly what they will be judged on at the end of the year.

Interactional fairness is about treating employees with dignity and respect. Procedures and processes may be fair, but sometimes the way they are administered by individual managers may be perceived to be disrespectful. Shouting at staff, admonishing them in front of others, ignoring their opinions, sexually harassing them are all examples of not treating staff with dignity and respect.

6. Pay Attention to Atmosphere and Ambiance

What is the atmosphere like in your workplace? Is it overly quiet, cheerless, dour and depressing? If so, productivity will be below what it could be and staff if surveyed will report the type of perceptions outlined at the top of this article. It will be an effort for them to go to work. Or is your workplace a place where people crack jokes, banter with one another, where laughter can occasionally be heard, where staff take coffee breaks together, etc? If so, employees will more likely ‘go the extra mile’ when needed, even without being asked. They are probably committed and loyal to the company. Productivity should be good and staff will be willing to make it better.

Many of these suggestions are inter-related. For example, providing training & development opportunities can be perceived as being supportive, engaging, and appreciative. Consulting and listening to staff can be perceived as promoting fairness as well as involving and engaging. Both of these examples will help develop an atmosphere in which employees feel valued and respected.

So even if the company is not a happy workplace, an individual manager can take steps to ensure that at least the part they are responsible for is.

Confidence When You Need It

Sitting in an interview or standing up to make a presentation is much easier when you are feeling confident. Confidence gives you a presence and an inner strength. Appearing confident makes you more attractive to your listeners – they listen to what you say. Being confident makes you appear in control of a situation. So wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could ‘flick a switch’ and turn on confidence when you need it? Well you can – and here’s how in 5 easy steps.

Firstly, let’s explore and play. Remember a time when you felt totally confident – fully in control – feeling I can easily do this! As you remember that event, see what you saw then, hear what you heard, and feel how you felt. Just re-live the situation until you are actually ‘there’ – seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, and feeling what you felt. You may also have a particular smell or taste associated with the experience – if so, smell what you smelt and taste what you tasted. Let the sights, sounds and feelings come over you. Now you have that feeling of confidence in your body that you had during that past event. Doesn’t it feel great!

Even if you have not got a memory of a time you felt totally confident, you can imagine it. One of the wonderful things about the human mind is its ability to dream – to imagine – to create in your mind a situation where you are totally confident and fully in control. And as you do, notice what you see, what you hear, and what you feel. Even this imagined scenario of feeling totally confident and fully in control causes your body to actually have those feelings. Your body cannot tell the difference between a real and an imagined scenario and gives you the feelings.

You can also imagine what a person you admire feels, whether that person is a movie star, a politician or somebody you work with. In your mind, you can imagine that person in a particular situation – perhaps in an interview or perhaps giving a presentation – and you can see what they would see, hear what they would hear, and feel the total confidence they have – the feeling of being fully in control. As you do, notice that you actually feel the confidence!

So now that you know you can feel the confidence in an imagined scenario, you can also aggrandize or enhance your own memory of that time you felt confident. As you re-live that experience – as you see what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel the confidence, feel totally in control – just heighten the feelings – turn up those feelings so that you are feeling even more confident – even more totally in control – even more powerful. The only limit is the depth of your imagination.

The Technique

Step 1

Be clear about the resourceful state of mind you wish to have – above it was described as being totally confident, fully in control, totally powerful – but you should use your own words to describe the state you want to be in.

Step 2

Decide on an ‘anchor’ you will use to fire off the totally confident (etc.) feeling. The desired state of mind will be ‘anchored’ to an easily repeated gesture, or phrase or symbol. This might be squeezing the top of your little finger or making a tight fist with your hand. Or it could be a phrase you say in your mind such as “I’m confident – really confident!” or “yes, yes!”. Or it may be something you see – a symbol perhaps. Just remember that you will need to repeat this ‘anchor’ at the start of your interview or presentation, so the anchor should be easy to repeat in the appropriate situation.

Step 3

Go back to a time in the past when you felt totally confident (or however you describe it) – to a specific occasion when you felt totally confident – and re-live the experience so that you see what you saw, heard what you heard, smell what you smelt, and feel what you felt.

Step 4

Just before the experience reaches its peak – when the sights, sounds, smell and feelings are almost at their strongest – anchor it as described in Step 2.

Step 5

Now think of something totally different or look out the window and notice what is happening outside. Just come out of the state you entered. Now fire off your anchor again and notice the extent to which you feel totally confident (or however you describe it). If it is not as intense as you want it to be, repeat the process to more closely link the anchor and the desired feeling of total confidence.

Repeat this process often to reinforce the link between the anchor and your desired state of feeling totally confident. Repetition will keep the anchor active so that you can be confident just when you need it.

Build Rapport & Instantly Connect With Your Interviewer

What does Building Rapport mean?

Rapport is a relationship of trust, sympathy, respect and understanding. It is essential for good communication as it ensures that others are open to your views and ideas. It is a situation where you know you are being listened to. Rapport is when two people connect – when they ‘click’ or ‘hit it off’ – when they understand and like one another, even though they might just have met.

Therapists, counsellors, businessmen, sales people, trainers and educators all understand the importance to their work of building the trust and empathy that is rapport.

I’m sure you have seen two friends sitting at a bar or table and its obvious they like and understand one another. Their body language matches and mirrors that of the other – they use similar gestures, make and hold eye contact, and eat or drink at the same time. They are relaxed in one another’s company. If you could overhear their conversation you would notice that they use similar words and phrases, and their voice tone, rhythm and talking speed all match. They are in rapport with one another.

So, if you are going for an interview, wouldn’t it be useful to know how to go about building rapport with your interviewer? Wouldn’t it be useful to know that you can deliberately connect with the other person and know that they are really listening to you, and are sympathetic to you?

How to build rapport

Knowing what happens when two people are in rapport gives us an idea of how to go about building it. The signs of rapport discussed above give an indication of what we need to do to build rapport. However, rapport is a relationship between two people – you and another. For rapport to exist or be established, both people need to be doing certain things, and you can only control your side of this relationship (at least initially). So you need to take their cue and follow their body language, words or voice. Here’s how:

Match or mirror aspects of their body language, in order to build rapport

When two people are in rapport, they match and mirror one another’s body language. To match another person, tapping their left foot for instance, you would tap your left foot too and at the same pace. If they gesture with their right hand, to mirror them you would gesture with your left hand – it should look as if their gesture was done in front of a mirror! The intention is not to fully mimic the other person as that may well be offensive to them. Rather, what you need to do is pick up on some aspect of their body language and adopt it yourself.

For example, look at their posture. In an interview, you most probably will only see the upper part of the other person’s body. How are they sitting? How do they hold their head? You can easily adopt the same posture without it being consciously noticed.

Most people use gestures when they speak. Unless the other person’s gestures are so unique that it would be obvious if you copied them, you can use a similar gesture. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, just similar.

People have different breathing habits. They breathe at different rates and from different locations. Some breathe in the top of their chest, others in the middle or down near the abdomen. They can breathe fast or slow. Watch people and notice their breathing. Practice breathing the way another person does, both in terms of the location and the pace. Then you will be able to match other people when you need or want to.

However, do not try to match a person who breathes very fast or very slow – this could be both uncomfortable and dangerous for you. Instead, match the rate of their breathing with your finger – lift it as they breathe in and lower it as they breathe out. Your gesture will be in rhythm with their breathing.

Words and voice tonality can also help with building rapport

Notice the words and key phrases that people use. Again, without actually fully mimicking them, use the words they use when you talk to them. Subtly include their key phrases in your own conversation. You could also occasionally repeat their sentences, especially when they ask you a question. Repeating their sentence will seem as if you are considering it before you answer, but done at the same pace and rhythm can be a rapport builder.

People speak at a particular tone, pace and rhythm. You can adopt these too, but its best not to do all at the same time as this might sound like you are mimicking them. Try talking at the same speed as the other person. Or adopt a similar tone. You don’t have to get it exactly right – a movement towards their tone, speed or pace will build rapport.

Smile! An easy way to build rapport

The easiest way to build rapport is to smile! Smiling at someone usually produces a smile in return. When both people are smiling – when they are doing the same thing – they are in or on the way to being in rapport. However, unless you already smile a lot, you will need to practice until you do it naturally. Attempting to turn on a smile when you don’t usually smile might end up like a snarl! People who smile frequently are generally liked by other people – people like to be smiled at. Smiling also increases a person’s level of happiness. So, smile, smile, smile!


Some of these techniques for building repport come naturally to people and others need to be practiced to build proficiency. Take them one at a time and practice them. As you become more familiar with them, you will be able to productively use these techniques when they are needed. Try these techniques when sitting on the train or bus – you may be pleasantly surprised by what happens – you may even make a new friend!

Training Needs Analysis – a 5 Step Process

Training Needs Analysis (frequently abbreviated to TNA) is an essential though often a daunting part of trainers and training managers’ jobs.

As a full training plan for an organisation or a department happens, at best, once a year, a Training Needs Analysis is an activity that is only infrequently required. This infrequency, combined with the amount of paperwork involved, makes a Training Needs Analysis more intimidating and overwhelming than it need be.

In this article a Training Needs Analysis is simplified into a 5 Step process..

Step 1: Set the TNA in Context.

The key to getting a TNA right is to set it within its proper context, whether the focus of the TNA is company-wide, a department or a new project team. The context of a Training Needs Analysis is the organisation’s business plan and this should be readily available, especially at the higher levels of the organisation.

The business plan will spell out the organisation’s goals and objectives. Ideally, each department, each section and each team will have specific objectives related to the overall organisational business plan. Whether this is the case or not, the training manager will need to assist the relevant line manager in clarifying the objectives of the business unit that is the subject of the Training Needs Analysis (be this a team or section or a whole department). If there are sub-units or teams within the business unit, the objectives of each should be clarified.

Step 2: Identify the Knowledge, Skills, Behaviours and Attitudes required.

In order to meet the objectives of the business unit, what knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes are required? The focus here is not on individual roles but on the business unit as a whole. If there are sub-units or teams within the business unit, this process needs to be completed for each. This is an important task, but it is primarily the responsibility of the relevant line manager and the training manager should only play a supporting role.

Step 3: Cascade Down from the Business Unit Level to Individual Roles.

Having identified the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes required to meet the business unit’s objectives (and those of any sub-units), this should now be completed for each individual role. Again the starting point is the objectives of each role and this keeps the focus of the TNA on business objectives. Job descriptions for the various roles will be useful here.

Step 4: Assess the current levels of Knowledge, Skills, Behaviours and Attitudes.

The current level of knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes should be assessed for each individual. Where performance appraisal systems are in use and capture such information, this will greatly assist with this task. Where gaps are identified, a training need exists in that area for the individual concerned.

Step 5: Collate the Material.

The information gathered on gaps between required and existing levels of knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes for each individual should be collated at each sub-unit or team level. This will identify the training needs of the sub-units or teams. Collating the information of all sub-units or teams will then identify the training needs of the overall business unit in question and the Training Needs Analysis is complete.

The information gathered at each step of the process should be retained as it will be useful for subsequent Training Needs Analyses. In particular, while the information on the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes required for the business unit and each of its sub-units and individual roles is time consuming to uncover, it is invaluable not only for future TNA’s, but for many other organisational purposes too such as recruitment and performance appraisal.

Once the Training Needs Analysis has been completed, solutions to the identified training needs should be developed in consultation with the relevant line managers and individuals. As the Training Needs Analysis was focused on business objectives throughout the process, the training solutions too will be focused on better meeting business objectives.

This makes obtaining the necessary resources easier to obtain as the ROI (Return on Investment) can be more straightforwardly stated. Additionally, evaluation of training provision will be also be straightforward as the training will have clearly stated objectives.