Introduction: What is a Training Needs Analysis and Why is it Important?
A training needs analysis (TNA) is an important tool that HR professionals use. It helps figure out what areas of learning and development need to be worked on for your employees for them to improve their skills, knowledge, and abilities.
A trained workforce will have better productivity, less employee turnover, and higher customer satisfaction.
This article will provide you with a complete guide on how to conduct a training needs analysis and the benefits of doing so.
Why is a training needs analysis important?
A Training Needs Analysis can help your company identify what types of training are needed in order to further the company's objectives.
A TSA looks at your organisational goals, objectives, and employees to find out what training they need to succeed. The needs analysis will identify the tasks and people required to achieve your organisational goals and help align your staffing levels with those needs.
In short, if you neglect this step, your staff will drift into the middle of a vast ocean and become lost. They won’t know which direction to go or how to achieve their goals. They'll just get exhausted and likely give up.
The Benefits of Conducting a Training Needs Analysis
Training needs analysis is an essential activity for any organisation. It helps in identifying the gaps in the knowledge and skills of employees. This in turn helps the company to take corrective measures and make sure that their employees are productive. It also helps them to know what kind of training programs they should start with.
Training needs analysis can be conducted at various levels, depending on the type of organisation and its size. Smaller organisations might need to conduct a one-time training needs analysis whereas large organisations might need to conduct it every year or every quarter.
How to begin your training needs analysis?
- Identify organisational objectives- what you’re trying to achieve
- Pinpoint what you’ll need to meet your objectives- knowledge, skills, abilities
- Recognise the training needs of employees
- Talk to managers about their needs
- Ask your team what’s important to them
Identify organisational objectives
What are you trying to achieve?
Some people like to evaluate their employees’ knowledge before setting goals for them. However, deciding on your company's organisational goals and objectives should be prioritised. Only when you know your end goal should gathering data from your employees to decide what you should spend your time/money on should be factored.
Goals can be very tangible, like moving the office over to new software or goal can be more intangible, like boosting customer service. If you set your goal and train the model accordingly, you'll measure your progress!
Pinpoint what you’ll need to meet your objectives- knowledge, skills, abilities
As your company grows, it's likely that some of your employees will not be able to keep up. In order to function efficiently, you may need to expand their skill sets so they can do their jobs more easily.
This step carefully states what each employee needs to know, understand, and be able to do at the end of training. That way your training will cater to their individual needs and make sense for them personally. This can help you guide and focus your training better in the future. A training needs analysis is a process of assessing the skills and knowledge to see if people are brushing up on their skills or need more extensive training.
Recognise the training needs of employees
Ensuring your training meets the needs of employees means providing enough training to ensure they are qualified while also tailoring it to their needs. Provide the time and resources needed for training now so you can make sure your organisation's goals are being met. Employees often don't have enough time for training, so you need to be sure they're receiving everything that they need.
It's important to never try to fix all of your problems or change an entire process at once. Going about business in a logical step-by-step way will keep everyone, from the employees and managers to the CEO, from feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.
Talk to managers about their needs
Speak to your managers if you want feedback on what's going well and not so well in the workplace. They'll have a unique understanding of how executive decisions are affecting the team out there.
Ask your team what’s important to them
You should take steps to get to know your employees by asking them what they need to do their jobs better. Are they satisfied, and if not, what might make them happy?
Encourage feedback by separating the conversations from any form of HR setting. This should be clear that you are willing to set goals and objectives for training that meet employee needs, not for getting rid of team members. This can help you save time and make sure every aspect of your business is up to a certain standard. Especially areas you wouldn’t have insight into like your employees have.
What are the three levels of training needs analysis?
Training needs assessments are best done across three levels. These are:
These aspects are interlinked and assessing training requirements in this sense, provides a more complete picture - both of the strategic aspect and its effect on individuals within the organisation.
When you have a strategic understanding of your organisation’s objectives, performance and future direction, you can review this from the perspective of knowledge. Skills and behaviours that will help your organisation grow. Training at this level would start with a review of your strategic and operational plans. For example, is senior leadership and management getting safety training?
It is also important to analyse training needs on a department/team level.
Review your team's employee skills and goals to see how well they align with the company's needs. Take into account personal needs as well as anything that can help the department/team to work together as effectively. This usually includes considerations of things learned from appraisals or performance reviews.
All managers should be well-versed in health and safety management. Managing a team of people takes up a lot of your time, so it might be beneficial to invest some time in training everybody. Competency frameworks for different jobs or types of work can serve as useful reference points for training purposes.
Appraisal and supervision meetings provide a chance to reflect on your training needs and forge clear links between your objectives and the work you are doing. This helps identify what needs to improve– like through a training program that there required to complete or other continued professional development.
What type of training would best suit your organisational, team and individual employee needs?
Courses can be public or private depending on the organisation and its needs. Some organisations might only want to provide training for certain employees because of their role or job.
Companies typically use this format when they don’t have a large budget for traditional training that might last several days or weeks, but they want trainees to access to a course or program. This type of training is typically designed to be consumed online, which could be through a website, app, or video tutorial.
The Pros: These types of courses can be more affordable and convenient for the company, as well as its employees (no limited time off); it saves time by providing trainees without having to travel to a physical location. It’s best for companies that want to train their employees without the overhead of meetings and classrooms.
Cons: Companies and employees are more likely to leave if the training is not being taken seriously and if they don’t see progress.
Coaching and mentoring
Study groups or a structured training course can be great. However, mentorship and coaching lead to better results.
Pros: Investments in training and mentoring programs at your company create both development opportunities for employees as well as closer relationships with new hires.
Cons: Mentorship is amazing but comes with a couple of challenges. Your best employees will be asked to take time off from their work to train newer staff members, which can seem like a big sacrifice at first. Though this has proven beneficial in the end, it does require a little sacrifice in the meantime.
Classroom-style training is popular in the workplace as it closely simulates a typical classroom experience. The instructor prepares, leads and explains the content with a more traditional lecture-style approach.
Pros: Interactive training is beneficial for many different reasons. One of those being that the trainee has to participate and ask questions. You can teach them and address any question they might have in a way that would be virtually impossible with other training types. Trainees can build a strong relationship with their trainer as well as other employees in the training sessions.
Cons: One of the potential drawbacks of instructor-led training is that it can't be scaled. If the class size becomes too big, instructors might not be able to give each student enough one-on-one attention. This will be part of the intensive training, wherein trainers will periodically monitor trainees at in-person sessions. Trainees cannot advance in this environment by themselves and require constant supervised attention.
Use these tips to avoid energy dips during your training sessions: provide enough breaks for students and allow for movement, so they can feel more engaged. This will decrease the chance of boredom setting in.
Conclusion and Takeaways for Conducting More Effective Workplace Training
Workplace training is an important part of any organisation that wants to keep its staff well-trained and up-to-date. However, it can be difficult for some organisations to find the time and funds to provide this training.
By ensuring that your training is relevant and tailored to the needs of the participants, you will more effectively train your staff. They will retain more information from your training sessions and better understand how to be successful in their current position. With high job satisfaction through efficient training, employees are more likely to stay with an organisation and move up the promotion ladder. Taking their accumulated skills, experience and knowledge into new employees.
If you enjoyed this post on our example of training needs analysis, then you may find our post on ‘what is a talent acquisition specialist?’ useful too.