Before conducting a training need analysis, make sure to compare it against the following checklist:
Second-guessing the effectiveness of training programs is easy. This is why it is critical for organizations to calculate the ROI of their training programs.
The ability to develop and enhance employee knowledge using L&D programs benefits organizations in two key areas:
The skills gap analysis model is a type of tool that is used to understand the gap between the actual skill state and a future goal state. This tool helps to identify the skills that an employee may be lacking to perform certain tasks/jobs effectively in the near future. There are numerous ways in which HR personnel can address the skills gap within the organization, such as upskilling, reskilling, succession planning, and so on. Understanding the skills gap has become increasingly essential as, according to the World Economic Forum, by 2022, no less than 54% of all workers will need to update or replace their competencies.
At this point, it makes sense to understand the major challenges that plague learning and development programs and how organizations can address each challenge. But first, let's look at what the data tells us. According to research by the Harvard Business Review,
Is there a recipe for success for creating a learning and development strategy?
In this section, we will talk about what it takes to create a holistic learning and development strategy framework.
The role of Learning and Development in HR is now more critical than ever. The HR manager's primary responsibility is no longer restricted to scouting for talent and hiring the right people. They have to focus on
Let's start with the basics and understand what Learning & Development is. Quite simply, L&D refer to the process of improving an employee's skill, knowledge, and competency. The term comprises two components:
Learning and Development (L&D) is an integral part of Human Resource management. In fact, organizations are leveraging L&D programs to drive agility and performance among their employees. They are also fostering a learning culture to empower employees to "take charge" and lead with knowledge, skills, and capabilities going forward in 2022. In this in-depth guide, we will cover all the bases about everything L&D-related—from what is L&D to effective strategies and checklists that HR professionals can readily embrace. Let's jump right in.
For a more in-depth checklist, refer to the following:
The L&D team should comprise Subject Matter Experts and learning strategists. This step includes:
If the project requires a complete overhaul of the training program, its organizational impact needs to be understood. To validate the business needs, ask the following questions:
This step requires creating a profile of the trainees in relation to key areas such as industry experience, communication skills, etc. The inputs can come in from the recruitment team. Real samples of calls, emails, chats, etc. can be examined to analyze the trainees' strengths and weaknesses. This can be done by answering the following important questions:
This step involves understanding the job/task at hand. Additionally, the main duties and skill levels required for the training program need to be identified. To do this, Subject Matter Experts, high-performing employees, supervisors, and managers in charge can be interviewed.
Start by asking the following questions:
This analysis is important to setting the right expectations and using accurate metrics to assess program success. Ask the following questions to create an in-depth analysis:
One of the most integral aspects of Training Need Analysis is content analysis. Often done in collaboration with Subject Matter Experts, content analysis can be aced by asking the following questions:
Based on the data collected and by studying the existing course material, a design document including the relevant training objectives can be created. This can be used as the foundation for creating the new training course material.
This step involves being able to demonstrate the return on investment of the learning and development initiative. To do this, factor in all the key metrics and KPIs that can drive the ROI. Also account for the costs of development, delivery, assessment, metric reporting, and so on.
Evidently, there is a significant shift in the way companies are driving L&D programs. They are increasingly treating "learning" as a strategic asset. Moreover, to recruit high-quality talent, organizations are driving engaging, memorable, and "employee-obsessed" programs.
Contrary to popular opinion, learning and development programs are not just beneficial for the employee; they also hold great value for the organization. This includes higher customer satisfaction, increased revenues, and a significantly happier employee base. That said, for organizations to leverage L&D as a competitive advantage, there needs to be a shift in the organization's HR and learning culture. It is only with continuous learning can enterprises hope to innovate with a future-ready workforce at the helm.
Finally, at the core of value-driven organizations is an ever-evolving, strategic, and skilled workforce—one that's powered by learning-centric culture and training-led design thinking.
Quite simply, Training Needs Analysis (TNA) refers to a systematic process of figuring out the kind of training required to identify new skills, knowledge, and attitude needed by employees to boost performance.
When it comes to Training Need Analysis, you need to understand it's components first. Here are some of the analysis types:
Wondering what the training need analysis process flow looks like? Keep going. First, it is important to know that assessments can be done at any time—post hiring, during performance reviews, during career development plans, or even while succession planning. In other words, any change that the organization makes that can directly impact the employees' job will require an assessment. As a thumb rule, organizations should perform the assessments periodically to gather the training requirements of the organization, gauge the employees' knowledge and skills, and analyze the training program's effectiveness.
This is the first step to a successful training program and an integral part of succession planning. The idea is to focus on training areas that are important for employees to achieve their organization's goals, make optimum use of the training cost, and encourage employees to move ahead in their career development path.
The key questions to ask here are: Why is the enterprise conducting a training needs assessment? In some cases, instead of conducting training, other solutions may help solve business issues such as goal clarification, realignment of a department, or employee engagement.
In this phase, the current state of the employee's performance and skills is assessed and compared to the desired level to understand the "gap". A gap analysis can be conducted by gathering data via varying methods:
The gap analysis conducted in the previous step will lend a list of useful training options and needs. This list can be used against the organizational goals to understand whether training is a viable option or not.
Once the training needs as well as options have been assessed, the HR professional can map out a list of training priorities for the employees, the departments, and the company on the whole.
The next logical step is to report findings from the training needs assessment. Based on the data, recommendations can be made for short and long-term training plans and budgets. Remember to prioritize from the training options list. Also, ensure that the report accurately and succinctly summarizes why and how the assessment will be completed. Mention the methods used as well as the key people involved. Finally, provide a timeline within which the training should be complete. Important questions to ask at this stage include:
You could have the best training program in the world, but if you are not measuring its effectiveness, you are essentially shooting blind. According to research, despite organizations spending billions of dollars in learning and development, they are failing to engage people, and this "disengagement" is costing the US economy up to $550 billion in lost productivity each year. Another report titled "State of Learning" claims that in order to determine the impact of leadership development programs, the top-two metrics that L&D leaders look at are - employee engagement (48.8%) and retention/attrition of top performers (48.6%). Surprisingly, ROI was one of the bottom metrics used by L&D leaders to demonstrate the impact of training programs on the broader enterprise — a bad sign.
Evaluating the effectiveness of training programs is critical. Here's why:
- Are the learning programs meeting the organizational objectives?
- What kind of topics are most valuable to the learners?
- Are the trainers leveraging the right mix of delivery methods?
- Are the learners engaged and applying the content in their respective roles?
- Are the learning programs able to demonstrate tangible benefits (read: higher productivity, reduced errors, etc.) for every dollar invested?
The first step involves gathering accurate and quantitative information to justify the cost of your training programs. To calculate the ROI, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does your enterprise have the required systems in place to conduct the training and gather real-time data?
- Can the data be mined and analyzed accurately?
- What are the expectations of the stakeholders when looking for an ROI study?
- Do you need to consult with the executive sponsors to manage their expectations?
- Is self-reported data (read: information from surveys and interviews) a part of the company's culture?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can define how much you have spent on L&D. Important factors to consider include fees for speakers (digital or in-person), travel and lodging, meal costs, etc. You can also look at the lost productivity time as well as the cost of technology.
The next step is to identify the right mix of metrics to understand whether or not the L&D program is effective. Some common metrics that companies use include:
You can weigh the performance against industry benchmarks or your own goals to gauge the efficacy. For instance, say your brand wants to enhance customer service. Your training can drive best-practice customer-engagement techniques. In terms of the metrics, your organization can measure "hard" metrics such as sales or conversion rates. It is critical that you select the right factors to measure, both before and after the training. Here's the formula for calculating ROI:
An impactful and accurate ROI analysis should:
The end goal here is to understand:
For L&D programs, qualitative information is as important as quantitative information (read: hard data), especially when presenting a business case to key stakeholders. This step incorporates understanding the level of "learning" that is being imparted to the participants, which includes three elements:
After all, ROI is not just a number. Qualitative feedback and comments also need to be factored in to gather unique insights that can be useful for training managers. So make sure to identify the non-numerical aspects related to the program, such as interviews or surveys. Feedback is central to building a robust and value-driven L&D program.
In addition to the points mentioned above, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
In a recent Gartner survey, 60% of HR executives reported that their CEOs wanted to ensure employees have the skills needed for the future. When it comes to taking inspiration for killer L&D strategies, the FAANG group (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) has been a benchmark for high-performing enterprises. In this section, we will look at some of the most successful L&D strategies embraced by these giants to revisit their hiring strategies and laser-focus on the underlying skill sets.
Facebook's L&D program, "Managing Unconscious Bias," is multi-dimensional in approach and strives to offer personalized experiences for individual learning. The aim of this program is to train employees to acknowledge workplace bias and lower its negative effects.
Moreover, the brand's signature program, "Bootcamp," is wildly popular. It is a six-week introduction to Facebook that all engineers must go through. The program helps them decide how the engineers will contribute to Facebook. Plus, it aids in mentorship, experimentation, and team building, providing new hires access to an internal network, and driving unity. Apart from this, the brand has two other L&D-friendly programs:
There are numerous L&D programs that Facebook drives. All employees have to do is enroll in online communities using Facebook Workplace and connect with the desired training:
Apple's L&D programs encourage employees to self-learn, which occurs in-house, year-round. The brand leverages full-time academic staff to design and teach courses. Employees can sign up for customized courses based on their job role and background on an exclusive internal website.
The brand's "Lead to Succeed program" is an excellent example of L&D done right. The main objective of this program is to help employees understand the core business values and gauge how these values are aligned with the business strategy. The program also aims at developing skills that can support future business growth. Over 300 senior managers have completed the program to date. Employees also get access to a Steve-Jobs-inspired course titled "The Best Things," which motivates employees to surround themselves with the best things, like talented peers and high-quality materials.
Amazon's "Pivot" training program, an integral part of the performance improvement plan (PIP), is an interesting case in point. The program aims at helping employees who are in danger of getting fired. Subject matter experts—also called Career Ambassadors—provide guidance and support to underperforming employees. The program offers the following options to employees:
The brand's HR managers claim that "Pivot is the company's way of coaching and enforcing changes in behavior, a 'necessity' that ensures better work performance." Other interesting L&D programs by the brand include:
The AWS re/Start program offers a free, full-time, 12-week skills development program that prepares individuals with little or no technology experience to pursue entry-level cloud computing positions and industry-recognized AWS Certification.
Not a lot is publicly known about Netflix's L&D program. However, in 2009, the brand shared a 126-slide presentation titled Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility.
The key takeaways from the presentation include:
The brand drives a collaborative learning style to encourage new hires to settle in quickly. It allows new starters to meet senior management, CEO Reed Hastings, and a dedicated mentor from the very beginning.
At Google, 80% of all tracked training is run through an employee-to-employee network called "g2g" (Googler-to-Googler). This volunteer teaching network comprises 6,000+ Google employees who help their peers learn and grow by teaching courses, providing 1:1 mentoring, and designing learning materials. The end goal is to offer first-hand knowledge across fields, from employees to employees. This program is extremely successful as it:
There are three strategies that Google uses to make this program successful: One, it is driven by strong leadership sponsorship. Two, the brand effectively reinforces learning as one of its core values at every stage of employee development. Three, it reinforces and ensures that learning is a part of every employee's repertoire from day one.
1. It helps them stay ahead of the curve: As organizations focus on developing their "brand" and creating a good impression, L&D takes center stage. As per data by the Universum and the DHI Group, 68% of the world's most attractive employers already have an employer branding strategy in place and believe that their employer value proposition is clearly linked to their HR/talent development strategy. Needless to say, brands that demonstrate their L&D offerings across the board will emerge as the front-runners in the potential hire's eyes.
To better understand how a robust L&D program can serve as a firm's competitive advantage, let's look at a real-life case study.
Problems faced: Pepper UK is a part of the Pepper Group, a diversified global consumer finance business. The firm is regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is required to be in compliance at all times. When the pandemic hit in 2020, this became a herculean task. Other challenges that the firm faced included:
Considering that the group had a well-established L&D team, system, and processes in place, it benefited in the following areas:
With such a robust system in place, Pepper took its L&D program to the next level by focusing on employee well-being when its competitors were struggling with everyday operational issues. It launched a new employee well-being program called the "PES People Matter program," which was conceived, designed, tested, and launched in just three weeks to support employees in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Spain, and the UK. The program also won an award for innovation at the Association for Business Psychology's Workforce Experience Awards 2020. The program was clearly aligned to three key themes - well-being, connections, and leadership. It comprised of these key features:
The key learnings learned from this initiative include:
The brand claims, "In terms of outcomes, our employee engagement (Office Vibe) score has steadily increased, as has our Glassdoor score." Naturally, this initiative doubles as a competitive edge for the company in today's cut-throat business landscape.
2. It helps attract better talent: For high-performing companies, the word employee has become synonymous with talent, and rightly so. However, in order to recruit talented employees, organizations must have a systematic and employee-centric L&D program in place. Organizations that commit to their employee's personal and professional development can benefit in numerous areas, such as:
Wondering how to conduct a skills gap analysis?
Identifying the skills gap in the workplace takes plenty of effort, experience, and, well, skill.
A skills gap analysis can be performed on two levels. Here's an overview of the skills gap analysis methods for an individual/team:
The HR team should:
One of the main goals is to identify whether the skills gap is occurring due to unrealistic expectations or if there is an actual need for new capabilities and skills. This can be understood by answering one key question:
What skills do the company value and need within the next five years?
Consider the following best practices to understand the list of critical skills required:
There are numerous ways to measure existing skills. This can be done by driving surveys, employee interviews, and feedback sessions related to performance. A skills management software can be leveraged to get accurate and quick results on a skills gap analysis. To close the skills gap, consider training or rehiring.
Depending on the skills gap identified, employees can be rehired or trained. Use the following approaches and formats to train employees:
RHP is a not-for-profit housing association based out of West London. The organization aims to provide housing to people who cannot afford to live locally.
Key challenges: To achieve the company's five-year strategic goals, it needed to:
Proposed solution: To support its Learning and Development program, the organization identified the skills gap within its operational model. By analyzing the internal and external sources, such as exit interviews and talent reviews, it realized the importance of emotional intelligence and empathy as fundamental skills to be future-ready. The organization also looked at employee engagement surveys and follow-up interviews with managers and employers to get under the skin of the data. Here's the glaring gap that the brand identified:
There was an absence of a consistent coaching culture. People were leaving because they did not know how to "progress internally."
The key learnings for L&D practitioners include:
So where are companies going wrong? Here are the four possible areas:
A. The learner learns about the core of what they need to learn.
B. Then, they apply the learning to real-world situations immediately.
C. They receive immediate feedback and refine their understanding.
D. The learning cycle gets repeated.
In this section, we will dive deep to understand the main L&D-related challenges Standard Chartered faced and how the bank tackled the same.
Proposed solution: To enable the effective reskilling and upskilling of its existing workforce instead of relying exclusively on hiring new talent to meet the strategic priorities and business objectives.
- Launching a 30-day challenge competition to drive adoption and build familiarity.
- Leveraging its Global Learning Week, which brought together senior speakers both internally and externally, to highlight and discuss the importance of learning with colleagues. Through the diSCover Lab, the bank aims to train and upskill 8,000 employees in Singapore by 2022. The diSCover Lab provides a flexible learning environment and embraces a "hybrid" approach of virtual and face-to-face training. Think of diSCover as the bank's "Netflix of Learning," where employees can access a multitude of bite-sized learning modules and curriculum, from blockchain to data, to Artificial Intelligence, and personal development. The platform is personalized, career-focused, fun, engaging, and experiential in nature. The results?
This can be done by analyzing the employees' existing capabilities and narrowing down the skills that are most critical to aid the execution of the company's business strategy. Ideally, L&D leaders must review the skills-goals alignment on a yearly basis. This will ensure that the people on the team are truly reflective of the company's latest priorities and strategic objectives.
Use-Case: How PwC Singapore Catered to the Needs of a More Digital Tomorrow and Addressed the Skills Gap
To help employees upskill and stay relevant to the demands of the future, PwC Singapore undertook the following initiatives:
Step 1: The team identified the key skills that would be "relevant" for the digital future, such as data analytics skills, literacy skills, and visualization skills.
Step 2: With the role of automation increasing in monotonous day-to-day activities, the team encouraged employees to move to different roles that require more human and strategic skills (read: problem-solving, critical thinking, and effective communication).
Step 3: This radical shift was communicated to employees by the senior leaders. Moreover, the leaders "walked the talk" by adopting digital tools in their daily work.
Step 4: Communications were supplemented with a multichannel approach to drive internal awareness via events (think: town halls), regular newsletters, and emails. This helped address key issues and concerns in real time.
Step 5: The firm embraced a robust learning toolkit to hone employee skills, which included the following initiatives:
These tools provided employees with easy, on-demand access to learning materials. For example, if an employee wants to advance their skills in data analytics, they can simply search for the available resources and watch/listen to/read it at their own pace and convenience.
Here's how L&D leaders can deliver a holistic learning and development program that is ROI-driven, on time, and under budget:
Business excellence: Understanding how closely aligned all L&D initiatives are with the company's priorities
Learning excellence: Analyzing whether the learning initiatives are bringing about a change in people's behavior and performance
Operational excellence: Reviewing how well the investments and resources are being used
By leveraging these plug-and-unplug systems, L&D leaders can lay the foundation for a scalable and cost-effective learning model with technology at its heart. The right cocktail of tools can assist in core areas of HR development, such as recruitment, onboarding, performance management, real-time feedback, succession planning, career management, and rewards and recognition.
The learning: The leaders of L&D functions need to realize the importance of enhancing an organization's most significant asset—its employees. This is why embracing an innovative, flexible, and agile L&D approach (read: the Learning and Development strategy template outlined above) is key to creating a pool of future-ready human talent.
So, the real question is understanding how L&D and HR are intricately woven together. Here's a table that summarizes the individual differences and the "connect" between both of these disciplines by way of a few everyday use cases:
Moving on, let's understand why HR needs to prioritize Learning and Development initiatives in today's ever-evolving workplace.
With 76% of Gen Z participants being more focused on learning and 69% making efforts to carve out more time to learn, as reported by the LinkedIn survey, HR departments need to laser-focus on an employee's succession planning if they want to retain the best talent. The same study predicted that Gen Z learners watched 50% more hours of learning content per learner in 2020 vs. 2019. Another LinkedIn survey conducted in 2019 claims that a staggering 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if there were an investment in their learning and development. So if companies are not presenting employees with opportunities for learning and development, they are subtly guiding employees through the exit door.
In fact, organizations such as Starbucks and Unilever are already prioritizing the mental health of their workforce. Additionally, a recent Udemy report claims that there's a four-digit percentage increase in the consumption of content related to anxiety management, stress management, and resilience skills.
In summary: HR leaders need to view talent as a "renewable resource" and leverage L&D as the primary asset to attract and retain employees. Furthermore, it is clear that the key to a Gen Z worker's heart is career growth. Why HR leaders should invest in training and development efforts to reap significant benefits such as:
Learning and Development in HR can offer tangible and intangible benefits for the organization and employees alike. HR managers that do not engage in succession planning and prioritize employee-centric career growth will miss out on promoting high-quality talent for future organizational goals—a fatal mistake in today's cut-throat landscape.
A. Learning: It signifies the acquisition of skills, knowledge, and attitudes through experience and teaching.
B. Development: It signifies the deepening of knowledge with respect to the employee's personal and organizational development goals. It is relatively long-term in approach. The end goal of L&D is to
The pandemic has transformed nearly every sector—Human Resources and L&D are not exceptions. Here's why Learning & Development is increasingly becoming important in the current employee development landscape.
Now that we've understood how integrally tied skill-building is to Learning & Development initiatives, let's look at the top 3 skills employees must ace as stated in the latest LinkedIn survey. According to the survey, the following "power" skills are critical to future-proofing employees and helping them thrive in a competitive workplace going forward:
Additionally, the survey also highlights the fastest-growing top 5 skills in the business, sales, IT, and engineering domains. These include:
In Summary: In 2022, Learning & Development will involve enhancing the effectiveness of organizations and improving individuals' performance by focusing on skill-building and redeploying talent into new roles. When it comes to understanding what is L&D and embracing its essence, enterprises need to remember that
One, it has emerged as a "need-to-have" as opposed to being a nice-to-have component for employee development.
Two, they need to double down on their efforts to upskill or reskill employees if they wish to close the ever-widening skills gap.
Three, they need to align their L&D strategy with the organizational goals and reshape the way their enterprise operates in 2022.