A SWOT analysis is a tool usually used in marketing planning as a means of identifying an organisation's inherent strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats brought by the outside world. I helps people to make decisions and identify appropriate strategic directions. A personal SWOT analysis can also play a useful role in talent management and people development. Used as part of a performance evaluation, it can identify a person's training needs and potential career paths.
Using the SWOT analysis template, you can guide an employee through a discussion of their skills, connections, knowledge and other strengths. It is often difficult for both employees and managers to appreciate individual abilities that do not have an immediate impact on the job in hand. However, using a SWOT analysis in this way could help you identify abilities that would mean the employee would be an asset to a project team, for example.
Discussing an employee's weaknesses is not pleasant, but it is an opportunity to identify areas for training and development. Often people hold back from contributing as much as they could because they are aware of gaps in their skills. A SWOT analysis is a good way of teasing out these skills gaps.
Opportunities include personal opportunities, such as the prospect of a more senior post becoming vacant. Discussing opportunities is a good way to have a wider, more creative conversation about where the employee fits in the organisation and how he or she could contribute in different ways. For example, if you have identified that someone's strengths lie in strategic thinking but they are weak at implementation, rather than forcing them to get better at implementation, you could identify a different role that is purely based on planning.
Threats could include a different direction that the company is taking that means that an employees strengths would not be as valuable. This section of the SWOT analysis is essential in making decisions that will actually be helpful for the employee in the future. There is no point in building on an employee's strengths if they are not going to be needed at all in the future.