What is a Training Needs Analysis?
When it comes to learning and development, training needs analysis (TNA) is a process which helps you review the current state of your organization’s training. It is a highly valuable tool to aid in the design and development of an effective training program
In specific terms, the analysis will help determine what skills and knowledge employees need in order to excel in their job. In a broader sense, a training needs analysis helps identify skill gaps that strongly impact the company mission, and new skills which need to be developed. Think of this as a performance improvement tool to use in the following situations:
- to update employees on business process changes or improvements
- when new equipment or technology is being introduced into the workplace
- to address changes in laws or industry regulations
- to realign job functions due to restructuring
- to address the performance gaps demonstrated by particular employees.
If you’re ready to dig into the steps of conducting a training needs analysis, our downloadable guide is your go-to resource. Use it to navigate the step-by-step process of conducting your training needs analysis.
Interested in learning about the TNA benefits, process and best practices first? Keep reading to learn more about:
- Benefits of conducting training needs analyses
- How to conduct a training needs analysis
- Best practices
- And best of all - a detailed, downloadable guide
Training Needs Analysis Benefits
A training needs analysis provides a foundation for evaluating the effectiveness of an organization’s training program. It helps establish a baseline of where you are today. This is the only way to tell if you’ve really improved after training has been completed. Let’s break it down in simple terms: a TNA helps determine who needs to be trained and in what area(s) the training should be targeting. When a TNA is comprehensive, the subsequent training is likely to meet a desired training goal, which in turn meets a larger business goal.
A successful TNA offers these benefits:
- Creates a benchmark for training planning and evaluation
- Identifies performance and knowledge gaps
- Aligns training with organizational objectives
- Helps develop* training that is most relevant to learners
Speaking of the development aspect of training (mentioned in the last bullet above), there’s a great blog on training development and effectiveness here if you’d like to learn more about that.
Training Stat: Did you know that companies who invest in employee training enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who don’t*?
Conducting a Training Needs Analysis
Conducting a training needs analysis will help you describe your current and future state, identify gaps in training, learn critical knowledge and skill needs, and set specific goals. More detail on the methods mentioned above are included here:
- Describe current and future states – assessing the current state will help identify specific areas of improvement like pain points, history of training effectiveness, and performance challenges. Future state involves envisioning your organization’s desired state based on specific training needs and overall strategic company vision.
- Define skills and knowledge needed – for maximum effectiveness, it’s helpful to map out what knowledge and skills workers need to fulfill the responsibilities of their specific roles, including job experience and education.
- Determine skill and performance gaps – determining performance gaps that exist between the current state of performance and the desired future state is crucial. To do this, a good technique is to conduct interviews with employees, supervisors, and senior management to find out what their roles include, if they have performance improvement suggestions or ideas, and what their desired learning opportunities are.
- Set training goals – define high-level training goals based on what trainees need to do to successfully perform their jobs and decide how training outcomes will be assessed and measured.
There’s no question that conducting a training needs analysis will make your training program more effective. TNA helps organizations address the newest and most important issues impacting performance. Without the guidance that a training needs analysis provides, three potential missteps occur: companies may end up overtraining, won’t train enough, or will focus the training on improving the wrong skills.
Best practices prove that effective training needs analysis will answer at least these questions:
- Who needs training?
- What do they need to learn?
- What skills are needed and for what reason?
- What skills are already in place?
- What is needed, but is not accessible?
- What is missing from existing training?
- Where will trainees learn best?
Increasing productivity through Innovation in the training landscape is important because it provides support for continuous improvement and future company advancements in knowledge and performance. A training needs analysis is the first big step in making a long-term, valuable investment in your company’s growth and future health.
Take your first step and download our 5-step training needs analysis guide here. This is a thought-generating starting point in which to collect crucial information such as training history and potential training needs. This analysis tool also gives you an opportunity to document new ideas and information on your organization’s current and future state and training goals.