Training Needs Analysis – Explained

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Staff training has become one of the most crucial element of a successful business. An effective and well-trained team is the central force that leads to an organization to achieve its goals and wider objectives. Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is the first step to productive training within an organization.

What Is Training Needs Analysis?

Training Needs Analysis is a systematic and data-driven approach which seeks to identify training needs across all levels of the organization, from individual to team. Once needs are identified, TNA leads to the implementation of effective training methods which help the company to achieve defined goals.

Information can be collected via internal and external surveys, questionnaires, SWOT analysis, interviews, observations and focus groups. This information is used to explore the ‘training gap’ in your organization – the gap between the current staff competencies and the desired level of skills and training needed.

Training Needs Analysis takes into consideration business needs, current staff levels, available training methods, costs and training effectiveness.

When Should You Conduct A TNA?

A company may choose to conduct a Training Needs Analysis as part of their overall performance management, for employee review and appraisal, or for many reasons to do with organizational change. In fact, change is a key factor that organizations must respond to, and this often leads to a TNA being conducted.

Organizations need to respond to many factors and changes around the way in which business is conducted, or indeed to changes in tasks and roles of staff. These changes can be technological, legal, or based on companies need to respond to customer feedback or drops in productivity and profits.

Why Is Training Needs Analysis Important?

Training Needs Analysis should always be the first step in any company’s approach to training, and a key factor in their response to changes and shake-ups to market forces. TNA can:

  • Help organizations to identify training gaps, as well as implement the most effective training programs and courses that lead staff towards the fulfilment of company goals.
  • Gives managers insights into key areas of staff development, increasing overall productivity.
  • Prepare staff for upcoming or future roles and promotions, new responsibilities, and opportunities within the company.

A successfully conducted Training Needs Analysis leads to recommendations about training, and tangible, data-driven justifications behind these recommendations. Training rooted in TNA addresses a defined business need, trains the right staff, and uses the most productive and cost-effective training method to achieve the outcome.

How To Conduct A Training Needs Analysis

There is no set way to conduct a Training Needs Analysis. It is recommended that organizations find and refine their own approach based on what is relevant and appropriate. For example, not all methods of collecting information will be relevant for all organizations. Having said that, here is a brief guide to conducting TNA:

  • Your first job is to determine your business objectives, and define your desired outcomes. This is important, because staff training will be, for the most part, directed towards these goals. For example, you may wish to improve the speed of your orders based on data that suggests that they are going out slow, or you may wish to improve customer satisfaction based on the reviews and feedback that you are getting.
  • The next step is to link your business objectives to ‘employee competence’. Think about the skills, knowledge, behaviours and qualities that will be needed in order to achieve the particular business goals that you defined in step one.
  • Next, you need to evaluate current staff competencies. You can use tests, surveys, self-assessments, interviews, customer feedback, or other methods to gain a measure of this. The idea here is to identify that ‘training gap’ that exists between skills your staff already have, and the skills required to move forward.
  • Now you need to decide on your priorities for training. Identify the percentage of staff who would need training in a certain area, and the importance of the training in terms of how much it helps your company to achieve its overall objectives. Prioritise the most important training which requires the least staff.
  • Determine how to conduct your training. Take a look at training methods available, and decide on suitable options that will boast the best results and effectively prime your staff for the tasks, responsibilities and skills that they need. There are many forms of training available, including on-the-job, mentoring, classroom/seminar, e-learning, and training courses.
  • Once you have decided on your training areas and methods, conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Study the expected training and logistical costs, as well as the time taken off work by staff. Weigh this up against the extent to which the training is expected to help your organization to achieve its goals. Essentially, this stage of Training Needs Analysis involves predicting the overall impact of the training on your business.
  • Finally, you can implement the training schemes based on the results, but TNA doesn’t stop there. It is important to evaluate the training to see whether it lead to staff improvements and the attainment of company objectives.

Courses Dojo has a range of training courses available for individual staff and teams across a number of industries. Once you have conducted your Training Needs Analysis, you can browse through our highly cost-effective courses to find the training that will help your staff to gain the skills and competencies needed to increase productivity and achieve your organization’s goals. Browse through our courses now.


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