Press Release

Start With a Needs Assessment to Ensure a Positive ROI


(Alexandria, VA) November 14, 2023—In Needs Assessment on a Shoestring (Association for Talent Development, November 2023), L&D experts Kelly L. Jones and Jody N. Lumsden advise and guide talent development (TD) professionals on how to perform a needs assessment before diving into the design of a training program to ensure a full understanding of the business problem and that training is the right solution. Regardless of the business problem’s scope or constraints, Jones and Lumsden outline a sure-fire approach to planning and implementing a successful needs assessment. Ultimately, performing a successful needs assessment will save time and money and ensure a positive return on investment (ROI).

Training is expensive—it costs time and money to build, deliver, evaluate, and maintain training programs. Employees’ time spent in training is also expensive. By ensuring that training is only leveraged as a solution when the need is a knowledge or skills gap, and that when training solutions are built, they are effective, TD professionals can make positive contributions to their organizations’ bottom lines and build trusted partnerships with organizational leaders. It is particularly critical in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing work environments—where the availability of resources can shift quickly as disruption occurs—that TD professionals adopt a business mindset when developing their training programs.

Strategically planning a needs assessment in collaboration with your organization’s stakeholders is the best way to gain the insights needed for meaningful, measurable results. It will also provide a strong foundation for the next parts of the process, building the case and then building the recommendations.

“A needs assessment is a fundamental project management practice required for any business project. Training, organization development, and change management projects are business projects. Start with a needs assessment. There is no one right way to conduct a needs assessment, but conducting one is always the first step,” says Jones.

“Performing a needs assessment may seem like a daunting task at first, but Kelly and I provide step-by-step guidance and examples around planning, data collection, analysis, recommendations, and results reports, so you can get started, gain confidence, and reap the rewards in no time. Put on your detective hat and approach a needs assessment like solving a mystery. It may seem less overwhelming and even fun with that lens. Apply your critical thinking skills to get to the root cause of the business problem,” advises Lumsden.

With Needs Assessment on a Shoestring, the Association for Talent Development introduces the On a Shoestring series, which helps professionals successfully execute core topics in training and talent development when facing limitations of time, money, staff, and other resources. These books are designed for practitioners who work as a department of one, for new or “accidental” trainers, instructional designers, and learning managers who need fast, inexpensive access to practical strategies that work, and for those who work for small organizations or in industries that have limited training and development resources.



About the Authors

Kelly L. Jones, PhD, is a researcher, leader, consultant, and problem solver with expertise in building solutions that help people and organizations learn and 20 years of experience in curriculum development, instructional design, needs assessments, learning technologies, and workplace training and development. She holds a PhD in curriculum and instruction from Mercer University, and a CPTD® certification from ATD. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.


Jody N. Lumsden, EdD, is a consultant, speaker, and facilitator with 17 years of professional experience as a talent development and graphic design practitioner developing and implementing strategy and data-driven performance metrics in the areas of adult and workplace learning, curriculum planning, change management, and leadership coaching. She holds a doctorate in curriculum design and instruction from McKendree University. She lives in Jackson, Missouri.

About ATD Press
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit

Needs Assessment on a Shoestring
ISBN: 9781953946935| 280 Pages | Paperback

To schedule an interview with the authors, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected] or 703.683.8178.
To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

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