Published on January 8th, 2023
Training Needs Assessment or Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is an evaluation conducted on the employees of an organization. It is the process of identifying the skill and knowledge gaps within the company and developing a plan to address them. It involves multiple stages each requiring various levels of planning and execution.
Generally, a training needs assessment precedes, or is conducted before the implementation of a training program. This gives us the ability to design and execute a program with a much higher chance of success in producing the outcomes that the company desires. Since it is tailored to the needs of the company or employee, it results in better reception and engagement with the program as well, raising its effectiveness.
It is intended to improve employee performance and determine the organization’s position relative to others in the industry. To achieve this, a recruiter can employ a variety of methods, including interviews, surveys, and assessments. It is the ideal method to identify the set of skills and knowledge needed to meet the goals and objectives of the organization.
There are areas of interest that should be prioritized and things to keep in mind when conducting a training needs analysis as they are effective indicators for the relative condition of the company.
The expertise of employees and the skills and knowledge they possess are the most crucial aspects of this analysis. It helps us assess the needs of the company by setting a parameter under which we can frame the things that the company needs and lacks. It also helps us determine the need for and choose between training or hiring.
The frequency at which employees utilize the skills and knowledge they own is also a vital aspect of employee assessment. The skills and proficiency of employees are useless if a worker does not employ them in the course of their regular tasks and responsibilities. Therefore it should be included in the assessment of employees. It also provides the additional benefit of determining whether an employee hired for their skills is being put to work effectively or whether their efforts would be better utilized somewhere else within the company.
When conducting a training needs assessment, it is important to maintain that it can be aimed at multiple or differing target levels. It could be conducted on individual employees in one department, on multiple departments of the same nature or even on the organization itself.
On the organizational level, a training needs assessment aims to determine the company’s overall training needs. It directs training efforts to the areas where they are needed the most and identifies the knowledge, abilities and skills that employees need to meet the demands of their roles. We can get a grasp on the performance standards that need to be set as well as the skills and characteristics that are ubiquitous in employees that match the standards set. This forms a base upon which we can model an effective program for providing the needed skill training for the workforce.
At this level of assessment, we are determining the objectives of the training plan and how it would be structured to provide employees with training in a professional and productive manner. We gauge the need for training that employees require overall. This answers a few questions for us regarding the company’s relative position in the industry and allows us to address issues from a macro perspective. We can determine whether it would be productive to train individual employees who require dedicated tutoring or provide group training as a whole.
On the next level, we are assessing specific roles or jobs and the skills and know-how required to achieve proficiency in the same. This is referred to as the operational or task level and is the level at which we can address the issues specific to the job such as:
Are niche skills needed for the job?
Are employees matching industry standards for the skills and knowledge required?
How is the job or task carried out on a regular basis?
We clear these questions and more through the use of task analyses. Through a rigorous analysis or set of analyses, we can specify the skills and knowledge key to the job and the employee conducting them. We can then proceed to check for their presence in the company’s workforce. Any incongruence informs us of problems or issues that the employees are facing and where attention is needed. The problems discovered along the course of conducting these analyses are what the training program would aim to solve. Since they are specific to jobs or roles, they are extremely useful as they can establish company standards for roles or tasks which can help screen and sort candidates when hiring new employees.
On the individual level, we are determining the unique capabilities and characteristics of a single worker at a time. This can be done for any number of reasons. It can be done to assess individuals to see whether they possess the skills that they require or if there are personal biases or hindrances in the workplace. These highlight the wide scope of a training needs assessment conducted at this level. It can be used to get a closer look into an issue that the company is doubtful of and gives us the micro perspective of the job, role and company as a whole. Regular assessments also enable us to chart their professional growth and figure out the effectiveness of training programs that have been implemented.
An individual assessment helps us establish the root cause of lags in daily operations and take a look at what exactly is holding back employees from doing their work effectively. This way we can modify training programs to accommodate the personal differences between employees. By accounting for the individuality of employees, we influence their opinion of the company positively, improving employee engagement and retention.
Training Needs Analysis provides a multitude of benefits for those who choose to implement it. Apart from its use to calculate performance requirements and the means of achieving them, they are also helpful to :
Here are the steps to successfully conducting a training needs assessment :
1. Identify the goals and objectives of the organization
Before we assess the training needs of the company, it is vital that we understand the overall goals and objectives of the organization. We need to answer some basic questions so that we can focus the training efforts on the areas that are most important to the organization. These questions include:
What are the company objectives and what are the employees' positions on them?
How can training help the job or role contribute to the business objectives that need to be achieved?
Which sets of skills and knowledge are industry standards in this regard?
2. Analyze the current skills and knowledge of the employees
Once we have identified the goals and objectives of the organization, the next step is to assess the current skills and knowledge of the employees. This can be done through a variety of methods, including interviews, surveys, and assessments. In this process, workers can provide insights into their skills and knowledge, as well as mention any areas where they feel they need additional training. It also provides us with an idea of the professional endeavors of employees, which helps us later on in the assessment.
3. Identify gaps in skills and knowledge
We proceed in the training needs assessment by identifying any gaps in the possessed skills and knowledge. We do this by comparing them with a set standard of skills and knowledge identified in the first step. The gaps may be related to specific job duties or responsibilities, or may be more general in nature. It should be noted that it is beneficial to consider both hard skills (such as technical expertise) and soft skills (such as communication and problem-solving skills).
4. Develop a training program
Once we have identified the skills and knowledge gaps, we follow it up by developing a training plan to address the gaps. This plan should include the specific training that needs to be provided, as well as the timing, delivery method, and resources required to deliver the training. To this end, employees can provide valuable input on their learning preferences and needs. It is at this stage that we consider the professional endeavors of employees. According to these, we can augment training programs towards skills that the worker would be more motivated to complete.
5. Implement the training plan
The final step in the training needs assessment process is to implement the training plan. This may involve providing in-house training, sending employees to external training courses, or using a combination of both approaches. By tracking the training program we can prepare for the next assessment by tracking employee performance and growth. We measure the effectiveness of the training to ensure that our efforts have not been in vain. We can check whether we have filled the skills and knowledge gaps within your organization or whether we need to hire the right candidates to fill them.
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