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The Process of Training Need Analysis: The Ultimate Checklist

What is Training Need Analysis?

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Quite simply, Training Needs Analysis (TNA) refers to a systematic process of identifying the kind of training required to identify new skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed by employees to boost performance.

Types of Training Need Analysis

When it comes to training need analysis, you need to understand the components of training needs analysis. Here are some of the analysis types:

  • Organizational Analysis: It includes an analysis of the business needs and the organization's strategies, goals, and objectives. The end goal is to understand why a training program can solve specific business problems.
  • Person Analysis: It includes an analysis of the potential participants and instructors involved in the process. The end goal is to understand who will receive the training.
  • Work analysis: It includes an analysis of the tasks/work being performed. The end goal is to understand the primary duties and skill level required.
  • Performance Analysis: It includes an analysis of the employees' performance and understanding whether or not there is a performance gap.
  • Content Analysis: It includes an analysis of documents, laws, manuals, and procedures that are used on the job. The end goal is to ensure that the content of the training does not conflict with the job requirements.
  • Training Suitability Analysis: It includes an analysis of whether the training is the ideal solution to the problem at hand.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: It includes an analysis of the return on investment (ROI) of the training.

Training Needs Analysis Process Flow

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.

Step 1: Identify the business requirement.

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.

Step 2: Perform a Gap Analysis.

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:

  • HR records: These include useful information such as job descriptions, performance evaluations, core competencies, exit interviews, etc.
  • One-on-one interviews: One-on-one interviews can be conducted with employees, managers, and customers.
  • Focus groups: In this method, multiple individuals can be questioned about their training needs and can then brainstorm ideas together. Focus groups can be held department-wise for ease.
  • Surveys, questionnaires and self-assessments: Surveys can be sent in writing, electronically, or by phone.
Step 3: Analyze the training options.

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.

  • Solution to a problem: Understand whether training can solve specific problems. For instance, let's say an employee has a performance problem that stems from improper training. The organization can think of ways to deliver proper additional on-the-job training and boost employee performance.
  • Cost: When understanding whether training is viable or not, cost is a significant factor. The amount of investment required can be calculated by using the following formula: blog image
  • Return on investment: Return on investment (ROI) demonstrates the value of expenditures related to the training and development. It also demonstrates how long it will take for the organization to see a positive return on the investment made.
  • Legal compliance: The organization should weigh in the legal needs—whether the training needs are required legally or whether they are essential to ensuring that the employees' licenses or certifications are maintained.
  • Time: Organizations should also factor in the time that will be required to build capacity within the organization. This is about whether it will affect the operational needs or whether they may want to outsource talent from outside the organization to fill in the skills gaps. For instance, if engaging in succession planning, they can conduct the training as it is in the form of long-term commitment to skill-building.
  • Remaining competitive: Understand whether the training can help provide a competitive edge by providing employees with the required knowledge/skills to deliver a stellar customer experience.

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.

Step 4: Report the training needs and endorse the right training plans.

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:

  • Why is the training being conducted and whether it should continue to be offered?
  • Will the training be conducted in-house or externally?
  • Should the organization bring the trainer to the employees or send the employees to an off-site location?
  • Does the organization have the required subject matter experts within the HR department or other departments to conduct the training?
  • Can the training be conducted virtually?
  • What kind of learning styles do the learners prefer?
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