There is no denying that no one is skilled at everything. Training sessions are almost essential for the majority of the people involved in the workforce. Even experienced workers need to go through periodic training assessments to renovate their expertise, address performance gaps as well as keep up with their competitors. Those needs vary from employee to employee based on an array of factors. This is where Training Needs Assessment comes to essentially, well, “assess” the “needs” of training among the employees.
The training needs analysis is a procedure to identify the currently required level of knowledge skills competence and compare it to the required or established level within the company. This article strives to describe those needs in as detail as possible. These concepts will help us identify the differences in training needs and will give a proper idea of the Training Needs Assessment, its definition, methods, and more.
Employee Training Program and Development: The Training Cycle
Training and Development in Human Resources Management are described as a system that can improve the skills of the staff. It is primarily intended to improve employee performance through the use of information and instruction along with guiding employees to a clear career path. Training and development initiatives are designed to improve skills in staffing management and improve the productivity of the employees resulting in an increase in revenue, growth, job satisfaction, and customer connection.
There are various ways and reasons for conducting Training and Development for employees. Additionally, the whole training process includes different segments. These are as follows:
- Training Needs Analysis
- Assessing the Findings
- Designing Training
- Holding Training
- Implementation of Training
- Comparing Results
- Evaluating Training
- Repeat as Needed
What is a Training Needs Assessment?
A training needs analysis is the first step in holding any training. This step helps to identify the employee’s skill and knowledge level and compares them to the required competencies standards for their position within the industry. This may be done in the form of surveys, assessment questions, aptitude tests, interviews, etc.
Basically, Training needs analysis also known as TNA is defined as assessing if employees are lacking in training in order to improve their skills and it highlights training gaps. This includes identifying skills and behaviors that are worth enhancing in training and developing which results in enhanced performance. It may also include excluding activities or qualities harmful to employees as an individual or the company as a whole. So it is an overall process of assessing key performance indicators. The main focus is performance, removing unnecessary training, making assessment reports, etc.
What is The Purpose of Training Needs Assessment?
The purpose of Training analysis may vary from organization to business unit. But, in general, the primary purpose of holding a training needs assessment is to ensure organizations can accomplish their goals of business processes by making sure their people possess all the required training.
Any company is consist of a diverse group of people. They all offer something to the table. But addressing all their needs while designing fruitful training is hard but necessary if the company wants to maintain a level of success among the competitors. So a way of identifying the needs, skill gaps, and requirements to reach excellence is necessary which is why the training needs assessments are conducted. Among other reasons for Training Needs Assessment, some are:
- Identifying Problems
- Planning Strategies
- Developing Training
- Suggesting Solutions
- Predicting Outcomes
- Helping Employees
Time and Frequency of Training Needs Assessment
Now that we know what Training Needs Assessment is and the reasons to conduct one, let’s discuss when and how often a company should host one. As Training needs analysis can help address competencies gaps as well as place more emphasis on enhancing employees’ worth by highlighting their competencies, skills, abilities, and work experience, organizing multiple sessions over a period of time makes sense. TNA can happen anytime be it during
- for hiring,
- integrating new movements,
- considering promotions,
- making career plans,
- performance evaluation,
- succession planning, and
- and last but not least, addressing the changes associated with the position.
Training Needs Assessment Process
If we are to simply put the procedures of Training Needs Assessment, the example of output-based marketing models can be given. In this business model, the executives gather data over a length of time and assess the result based on revenue and client response. An excel file with those data and comparisons can give them the right knowledge of how the end products might look.
Just like that, to conduct Training Need Assessment, there is a total number of TNA teams and members dedicated to surveying the knowledge of the employees. There are a number of management-related skills that are usually monitored, including soft skills, communication skills, etc. The company must first prepare itself to gather and develop the competencies. Classifying the employees as competencies or a set of skills or behaviors. The next step is to decide the scale or position level they are in. Almost all organizations employ one of these two: one to five scales or one to ten. The rating scales must be common and transferrable.
Training Needs Assessment Template
After the employees are graded, there must be training addressing their specific problems and skill gaps. They should be also given feedback after they complete the training session to see how useful the training was or if they could take lessons from the training. These will be deciding factors in the decision-making process regarding their employability, promotion, project distribution, etc.
Conducting a Training Needs Assessment
Conducting a Training Needs Assessment is not a piece of cake. This is a topic that needs extensive discussion. So, how should we begin? In ideal conditions, the company should conduct evaluation assessments of the basic knowledge of the employee regarding their business positions. This is to find any fundamental lacking in employees which will prevent them from performing professionally.
Then the filtering process goes on to find departmental needs, personnel needs and the marketplace needs to conduct the learning. In many circumstances, managers and employees want to understand their staff’s specific needs and their roles. So conducting a training needs Assessment can be both tactical and strategic actions to be successful. Below are some basic training assessment examples:
1) Identifying The Needs of the Business
The best method of training evaluation involves understanding business requirements. This will help us understand how to address the competence gaps. Understanding the departments and their goals and identifying opportunities to enhance the overall success of organizations should be the first step in TNA. The assessment will also help determine how to navigate the problems and promote motivation among employees in the workplace.
2) Perform Gap Analysis
The gap assessment involves the assessment of employee abilities, knowledge, and performance and compares the levels to those desired and competitors. The gap analysis also helps identify the problem in the company which needs training. It differs depending on the goals and work involved. The efficacy also depends on how well the problems are identified using various gap analysis techniques.
3) Identify Gaps
There may be gaps in the skills of employees which prevents them from performing their best. By identifying those gaps, these types of performance issues can be handled. Identifying gaps can be intimidating to employees. This matter needs to be taken into consideration while assessing skill gaps. Employees need to know that HRM is conducting these programs to their benefit. Otherwise, an honest and proper evaluation will be hindered.
4) Identify Causes
Once the gap analysis successfully identified the gaps, the reasons behind the competency gap need to be assessed. It includes questions like why the gaps were there in the first place or what should be done to prevent such skill gaps in employees in the future. The cause identification will take TNA to a next level of finding a solution.
5) Identify Priorities
It is only natural to find a number of problems once the TNA has been conducted. But not all the problems need similar attention, nor do they need to be handled at the same time. So time to view these needs and decide if they need immediate attention. The best way to do an effective needs assessment is to rank them by importance. This helps determine if fewer important needs can be addressed using cheaper means.
6) Identify Possible Solutions
The next step is considering possible solutions for the problems. A better outcome has been observed if the executives include employees in these decision makings. The employees can give their ideas on how to achieve a solution that directly affects them so the workplace becomes more inclusive.
7) Assess Training Options
When deciding on prioritizing training options after Training Needs Assessment was done, the following factors are important:
- Cost: It is always wise to find a solution along with training costs.
- Venue: Online training or in-house training options can be offered based on the training itself and the employee’s preference.
- Efficacy: The efficacy of the training program should be thoroughly judged.
- Review: If there’s a need to outsource talent to fill skills gaps, the track record of the instructors, and reviews on their programs should be checked for reference.
- Employee-friendly: The training program must be able to hold employee interest.
- Legal Matters: It may also be useful to examine training possibilities by examining returns or legal compliance factors
8) Report Training Needs
One of the important things to remember post-training is tracking the performance of the employees. If there is no record of how many changes have been observed due to the training, the company will not be as much benefitted. Also keeping track records will help the trainers to understand the outcome of their work much easier, and will assist to correct whatever teaching style was wrong or didn’t work to replace those with more efficient ones.
What are the Main Benefits of Training Needs Analysis?
Training needs assessments to offer a range of benefits. Essentially, a needs assessment will help a company understand the necessary actions to achieve project objectives. This assessment of needs also helps them make a rock-solid plan as well as define that plan and approach the solution in a more proficient manner by identifying targeted strategies and prioritizing resources. There are more advantages besides that. Listed below are some of the advantages of doing a training needs analysis, including
- Identifying and filling knowledge gaps within organizations.
- Increasing training effectiveness.
- Improving the adoption of Training
- Better assimilation of project solutions.
- Supporting continuous learning.
- Initiating goal-driven training.
- Finding out training needs previously unmet.
- Reducing unnecessary learning.
- Helping prioritize training needs.
- Increasing employee satisfaction.
- Giving effective methods to be productive.
Disadvantages of Training Needs Assessment
Employees are not some profiles with listed perfection and imperfections. It is imperative to see them not as replaceable and replicable pieces of the corporate puzzle but as each of them offering their unique set of values to the team. We have known in previous sections how Training Needs Assessment helps with this along with some ways to that. But when a company isn’t employee development driven and have no concern to develop their employees, Training Assessment can often bring forth unwanted result. This includes
- Trying to fit them in a box the corporate deems as ideal
- Not valuing uniqueness and diversity
- Not holding the training needs assessment for the right reasons.
- Emphasizing firing and letting employees go based on analysis.
- Making employees feel not appreciated
- Using employees as scapegoats.
Employees are the main resources of a company. Their development develops the growth and prospects of the company. So, investing in their training is crucial. It is how their skills will add value. Soft skills training, and training to achieve development are pertinent to success. But training won’t be successful if the proper assessment is hindered.
Even though many employers think TNA to be a waste of time and resources, and many employees hold fear and insecurities against it, a well-designed Training Needs Assessment is beneficial to anyone assuming any position in the workforce and in the formation of an excellent team.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is TNA?
Training Needs Analysis is sometimes referred to as TNA.
- What is a Training Needs Analysis?
Training needs analysis is the procedure to identify skills that needs training of employees.
- When Should TNA be held?
TNA can be held at any time like during hiring, promotion, succession, method changing, etc.
- How often should Training Need Analysis to be performed?
TNA should be performed frequently by employers with many companies preferring at least one per year.
- Which Department is responsible for organizing Training Need Assessment?
Training Needs Assessment usually is the responsibility of Human Resource Management (HRM).
- Why Training need assessment is important?
Such training programs are important as they address the skills gap with training assessment and ensure employee job satisfaction with rigorous training evaluation.