Tales from the Field
Needs Assessment on Competencies for On-Boarding New College Graduates into Storage Tech

The Client
Storage Tech (name changed for anonymity) is a high-tech company headquartered in the Silicon Valley in
California. Storage Tech is a global provider of data management and storage solutions and is an industry leader with over $3B in revenue and more than 130 offices around the world. Consistently ranked in the top 10 of Fortune’s top 100 Companies to work for Storage Tech strives to keep their employees happy.

The Problem
One of the areas Storage Tech would like to invest in is the development of engineers brought in as new college graduates (NCGs). For the summer of 2010, Storage Tech will be hiring 140 engineers in five locations; a substantial number of new engineering and computer science college graduates in the US and India. Creating an excellent on-boarding program is important to quickly integrating a new person into the company. Currently,
engineering managers are not able to track their new hire's development in a consistent manner. Managers and NCGs would all benefit by having a more effective and efficient method to bring NCGs up-to-speed quickly and ensure they are started on a well-planned career path.
The goals of this project include
identifying a set of competencies that will help bring more consistency to the
development of NCGs by creating a roadmap of knowledge, skills, attitudes and
behaviors that NCGs need to foster for job success. By also creating a standard
for the NCGs initial development, Storage Tech will be better able to set the
tone and expectation or the newly hired person. This first development plan will create a foundation for use with
all NCGs across the organization. This tool will also aid managers who may not
be accustomed to working with and developing an NCG.
The authors of this
article were the team of needs assessors who conducted a semester-long analysis
of competencies needed to successfully on-board NCG into Storage Tech for a
project in Rebecca Bodrero’s Needs Assessment class at Boise State University.

Data-Gathering Methods
The team used a combination of methods (based on
ethnographic research) to gather empirical data. Data collection activity was done in two phases. Phase I
focused on the assessment of the core issues facing the on-boarding of NCGs.
During this phase, data collection was accomplished through surveys administered
to past NCGs and their managers. Phase II involved semi-structured interviews
with managers who were excellent in on-boarding their NCG. Phase II focused in
greater detail on the issues brought out from phase one including the current
development process for on-boarding NCGs and what skills and knowledge the
on-boarding process should address to be successful.

  • add graphic on data gathering

Data Analysis
To discover what skills were important for
NCGs to develop, the team conducted two types of analysis for this project, the
competency assessment and the knowledge and skill assessment.
Using Marker's
Synchronized Analysis Model (SAM), allowed us to look at both internal and external forces affecting the NCGs
early development. To determine which items are important, we interviewed and
surveyed several different groups of managers and previously hired NCG
  • phase III idea
possible HPTmodel with links to SAM and Hertzberg's (models nested in other models)
  • inconsistency between depts
  • no clear identifiable standard for buddy program or NCG development plan
  • poorly documented process

This needs analysis project is focused on working with managers and previously hired NCG to identify which
skills are the most important to track and develop for the in coming NCGs. Since these skills were identified, we have now determined how best to assign development of these skills using the competency feature in the Saba Learning Management System (LMS). We feel that this is as much an opportunity to expand usage of the LMS as well as standardize competencies across business units.

  • the competency dictionary and competency Implementation plan be used
  • C Dic be further refined and a competency scale developed for use in LMS to define NCG performance for use by managers.
  • Buddy system QA advantages from outside vs Dev wher buddy from within the team was better.

Implementation Plan helps to set the stage for items

IPT-grounded Advice
Three main Using a combination of the HPT model in conjunction with other models is good. checking your premices using proven models etc
Continuous Improvement


Marker, A. (2007). Synchronized Analysis Model (SAM): Linking Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model with Environmental Analysis Models. Performance Improvement, 46(1), p 28.

Laurie Toyama is a Learning Program Manager at the company for which this needs
assessment was conducted. She is scheduled to complete her master’s degree in
Instructional & Performance Technology (IPT) in spring 2011.
Laurie may be reached at LToyama@yahoo.com.

Laura Bailey is a trainer/instructional designer for the Chick-fil-A helpdesk. She is a graduate student in BSU’s IPT master’s degree program, and is scheduled to complete her master's degree in IPT and WELPS (Workplace E-learning and Performance Support) certificate in fall 2011. Laura may be reached at laurabailey333@hotmail.com.

Pam Fulwider is a Technical Training Supervisor at Ingersoll Rand. She is
scheduled to complete her master’s degree in IPT in spring 2011. Pam may be reached
at pjfulwider@gmail.com

Chris Pedrick is a Training Development Officer with the Canadian Forces. He is scheduled to complete a Certificate in Human Performance Technology from BSU and his master’s degree in Distance Education from Athabasca University in 2011. Chris may be reached at c_pedrick@yahoo.com.