A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is used to assess an organization’s training needs. The root of the TNA is the gap analysis. This is an assessment of the gap between the knowledge, skills and attitudes that the people in the organization currently possess and the knowledge, skills and attitudes that they require to meet the organization’s objectives. The training needs assessment is best conducted up front, before training solutions are budgeted, designed and delivered. The output of the needs analysis will be a document that specifies why, what, who, when, where and how. More specifically, the document will need to answer these questions: why do people need the training?
what skills need imparting?
who needs the training?
when will they need the new skills?
where may the training be conducted? and
how may the new skills be imparted?
There are so many ways for conducting a Training Needs Analysis, depending on your situation. One size does not fit all. Is the purpose of the needs assessment to: lead in to a design of a specific purpose improvement initiative (e.g., customer complaint reduction) enable the design of the organization’s training calendar identify training and development needs of individual staff during the performance appraisal cycle … and so on and so on.
In clarifying the purpose of the TNA, consider the scope of the TNA. Is it to determine training needs: at the organization level?
at the project level for a specific project? or
at the department level for specific employees?
Your answer to these questions will dictate:
who will conduct the TNA
how the TNA will be conducted, and
what data sources will be used
Training Needs Analysis Method
Below are three scenarios in which you may find yourself wanting to conduct a Training Needs Analysis. This is not an exhaustive treatment, however, it will give you some tips on what to do. Employee Performance Appraisal
In many organizations, each employee’s manager discusses training and development needs during the final part of the performance appraisal discussion. This method suits where training needs are highly varied amongst individual employees. Typically, the manager constructs an employee Performance Development Plan in collaboration with the employee being appraised. The Plan takes into consideration: the organization's strategies and plans
agreed employee goals and targets
the employee’s performance results
the employee’s role description
feedback from internal/external customers and stakeholders, and the employee’s stated career aspirations
The employee’s completed Performance Development Plan should document the area that requires improvement, the actual development activity, resource requirements, expected outcomes and an agreed time frame in which the development outcome will be achieved. Check out our Training Management Template Pack for a customizable Performance Development Plan and instructions for use. You may find some commonality amongst individual training and development needs identified in the various performance appraisals. In this case, it may pay the organization to review and classify each of the needs and convert them into appropriate training courses (or other interventions). The next step is to prioritize their importance and aggregate the results so that you end up with a list of courses and participant numbers against each. Then negotiate a delivery schedule that fits in with managers/supervisors and employees whilst keeping an eye on your budget. Improvement Project
Most, if not all, improvement projects have some employee training associated with them. Examples of improvement projects include planned and structured attempts to reduce the incidence of product defects, increase sales volume...