What Is a Training Needs Analysis?
For those who are unfamiliar, a training needs analysis (TNA) is a systematic investigation of an organization’s training needs based on collected data from an online learning system or from other means (Skillnets, 2013). The purpose of a training needs analysis is to ensure that trainings satisfy business needs and help targeted employees develop targeted skills (Peters, 2014). This data can be collected by a number of methods: (a) surveys, (b) focus groups, (c) individual interviews, (d) existing document reviews, and (e) discussions with external parties relevant to the sector of interest (e.g., universities, unemployment services, trade associations, etc.). Ideally, a training needs analysis process utilizes multiple methods (Skillnets, 2013). To conduct a training needs analysis, follow these helpful steps.
The Training Needs Analysis Process
- Determine Business Goals of Trainings And Relate Goals to Desired Employee Skills.
- Clarify the goal of the training and have it align with business objectives (Peters, 2014).
- For example, a goal of a training can be to improve yelp ratings.
- Identify the employees or employee sector responsible for meeting this objective.
- Identify the skills, knowledge, or qualities necessary to develop to meet those goals (Peters, 2014).
- Evaluate the Trainability of Necessary Competencies.
- Collect information from experts regarding the necessary skills, knowledge, or qualities to meet that business goal (Peters, 2014).
- Determine if the desired skills, knowledge, or qualities can be developed on the job, or should be fully developed upon hiring (Peters, 2014).
- Determine Performance Gaps.
- In the onboarding process, an easy LMS can deliver online assessments seamlessly and reveal important training needs of your organization. These assessments can test new hires and veteran employees on knowledge in relevant areas, and determine whether or not they have desired traits or abilities to meet business goals. If it is revealed that a certain sector lacks necessary competencies, a training to gain those competencies is deemed necessary. If a training is necessary, data stored in the online learning system can help inform training goals.
- In addition to assessments, surveys, performance evaluations, interviews, focus groups, and customer feedback can also be helpful in conducting a TNA (Peters, 2014).
- To design an optimal survey for a TNA, ensure confidentiality to avoid confounding variables that may yield faulty results (Skillnets, 2013). Additionally, avoid two-part and leading questions and give clear instructions at the top of the survey to ensure that questions are clear and straight forward. Also, include various question types (e.g., Likert scale answer choices, check all that apply, open-ended questions, etc.) to ensure comprehensive extraction of pertinent information from respondents (Skillnets, 2013). To ensure higher response rates, deliver the survey in a way that is most convenient to respondents. Usually, these surveys are easiest to deliver online. By delivering training needs analysis questions through an easy LMS, respondents can access survey content easily on the go via smartphone, tablet, or laptop devices.
- Performance reviews and customer feedback are key components in a TNA. These provide an understanding of employee competency from outside perspectives. This aids self-assessment tools by giving a more holistic view of employee skills and desired traits. Additionally, these measures also can show gaps in performance that the individual or employee sector is unaware of themselves. Access customer feedback through your organization’s customer service online platform, employee sector, or support email account—and access performance reviews from managers at each organizational level.
- Prioritize Training Needs.
- Once performance gaps have been identified, rank each skill or trait and prioritize the skills or traits most necessary to develop (Peters, 2014).
- While ranking, consider the percentage of employees that need the training and the degree to which developing these new competencies will meet business goals (Peters, 2014).
- Determine Optimal Training Methods.
- Evaluate the best method to teach the outlined competencies (Peters, 2014).
- For example, if soft skills training is necessary, it would be best to have an in-person training session—whereas a training session regarding a procedure may be best delivered to employees via an online learning system. With an online learning system, you can customize courses with multimedia content. This engages users through multiple mediums to enhance learning.
- Training methods also include books, conferences, in-person academic programs, classroom lectures, e-learning classes, and/or standalone online exams via an online learning platform given after an in-person training session (Peters, 2014).
- Once you have determined the best methods to teach the necessary competencies, conduct a cost benefit analysis associated with the training method. This cost benefit analysis will help you understand the extent to which the training will positively impact your business (Peters, 2014).
- Costs to consider in a cost benefit analysis may be (a) the duration of the training and how much productivity is lost due to training time, (b) the duration of training material development if done in-house, (c) prices of content deliverymethods, (e) travel expenses, and (f) other logistical expenses associated with travel (Peters, 2014).
- Incorporate Selected Training & Evaluate Training Effectiveness.
- After the training is given, it is imperative that learning outcomes be evaluated (Peters, 2014).
- The effectiveness of these training programs can be evaluated by a variety of methods.
- One method involves utilizing a third-party training evaluation company.
- Another method involves utilizing an easy LMS standalone exam, created in house, to test long-term learning outcomes of trainees.
- Additionally, another method involves conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses that compare pre-training performance reviews and customer feedback to post-training feedback.
- Evaluating training programs should help you optimize your training program to better eliminate performance gaps, better meet business goals, and better improve employee competence (Peters, 2014).
Peters, S. (2014). Training needs analysis: 8 steps to conducting a training needs analysis [Slideshare Slides]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/SallyPeters1/training-needs-analysis- 8-steps- to-conducting- a-training- needs-analysis
Skillnets. (2013). Training needs analysis (TNA) guide. Retrieved from http://www.skillnets.ie/sites/skillnets.ie/files/imce/u7/tna_guide_2013.pdf