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Understanding staff needs and how to meet them


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Introduces a range of practical 'needs analysis' techniques for understanding staff needs.

Introduces a range of practical 'needs analysis' techniques for understanding staff needs.

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • 1. Understanding staff needs and how to meet them James Robertson, Step Two Designs (
  • 2. Too many intranet redesigns fail to hit the mark
  • 3. There is a world of difference between usable and useful
  • 4. An intranet will only be used if it is useful
  • 5. But whatever you do, don’t ask users what they want!
  • 6. Example: a call centre
  • 7. We’re given a job to improve and redesign a call centre intranet…
  • 8. This is actually one of the main sources of information for staff …
  • 9. … as are these documents, sitting on every desk
  • 10. These documents were actually the big problem for staff
  • 11. Email was the other big source of pain …
  • 12. Needs analysis techniques
  • 13. It can be hard to know where to start in a large organisation…
  • 14. … and we need to target our efforts for the greatest impact
  • 15. We also need to know why staff visit the intranet
  • 16. Use structured methods to identify and understand staff needs
  • 17. Surveys & focus groups
    • There are two traditional investigation methods:
    • Focus groups
      • unstructured
      • often does not reach consensus
      • can be dominated by a few vocal members
    • Surveys
      • staff will tell you what you want hear
      • results don’t match reality
      • difficult to create, time-consuming to analyse
  • 18. Staff interviews
    • Conduct staff interviews with actual users
    • Focus on jobs, not intranet, with questions like:
      • What are the main activities that make up your job?
      • Who do you communicate most frequently with?
      • What information do you use during a normal working day?
      • Where do you obtain this information from?
      • How do you find out about what’s happening in the organisation?
    • This is a simple form of knowledge mapping
    • Can be the first time staff are actually listened to
  • 19. Staff interviews (cont.)
    • For more on this, see the following articles:
    • Stakeholder interviews as simple knowledge mapping
    • Selecting staff for stakeholder interviews
    • Fast-tracking research with paired interviews
  • 20. Workplace observation
    • Involves going ‘out into the field’, and watching staff conduct their normal activities
    • It is a holistic approach that can identify many issues and needs
    • Need to spend enough time to ‘blend in’
    • Must be done ethically
    • Very effective in a ‘front line’ environment, such as call centres, branches, etc.
  • 21. Selecting a cross-section of staff
  • 22. In-depth with a single group
  • 23. You can’t deliver effective solutions to people you haven’t personally met
  • 24. Questions?
    • Stay in touch:
    • James Robertson [email_address]
    • Website:
    • Blog:
    • Articles :
    • Facebook: