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What Is a Training Needs Analysis (TNA)?

A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is a data-gathering process that is used to identify and prioritize the learning needs within an organization. This analysis looks at what skills, knowledge, or competencies are needed for the development of the organization’s human capital. A thorough TNA enables learning and development professionals to eventually address these needs through learning programs, workshops, and training. This process can be used for leadership skills as well as technical skills.

What Are the Benefits of a Training Needs Analysis?

A Training Needs Analysis provides four key benefits:

1. Identifies areas for improvement: A TNA provides businesses with critical insight to the areas that an organization must focus on in order to create value and deliver on KPIs. This helps leaders make data-based decisions and prioritize focus areas.

2. Creates a more proactive organization: As businesses and industries evolve, a TNA allows leaders to take a proactive step to address immediate and future training needs in order to help address business issues. Taking action on the information derived from a TNA gives learning and development professionals a head start in developing strategies to meet the future demands of their stakeholders and customers.

3. Helps in creating training and development plans: Meaning data and analytics are a major asset as you develop training plans and seek to create a competitive advantage through people. With the information collected, learning and training professionals have the insight needed to successfully build out development plans, learning curriculums, delivery methods, and design strategies as they now know where team members and leaders are succeeding, and where they can improve.

4. Fosters long-term sustained success: A TNA identifies the factors and variables that support growth and growth strategies for the organization. Development initiatives encourage team members to continuously learn, grow, and plan their careers. These initiatives make a difference—70% of team members are inclined to leave their jobs for an employer that invests in learning and development. Organizations with robust training plans also experience a 218% increase in income per team member and a 24% higher profit margin.

What Are the Key Elements of an Effective Training Needs Analysis?

A quality training analysis provides awareness on how team members, teams, and players in the enterprise (big or small) can fulfill their jobs as effectively as possible and how they can progress and grow. To achieve this, a training needs analysis must possess two key elements and touchpoints.

1. Desired Skill Sets

A TNA must have a solid list of skill sets. These skill sets reflect the competencies required for team members to perform their jobs properly. This necessitates evaluating job roles within your business or team that is relevant to the outcomes of the TNA.

2. Highlight Skill Gaps

A TNA must highlight skill gaps that need to be addressed. This is when you can take action, conduct discussions with key stakeholders, and initiate the right training plans.

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How Do You Conduct a Training Needs Analysis?

While conducting a needs analysis can be a complex process, it doesn’t need to be overly convoluted. Conducting a training needs analysis involves six steps.

1. Define Your Desired Outcome

What do you want to achieve with the training needs analysis? While the answer will involve themes of development to impact growth, market share, and employee satisfaction, we encourage you to be as specific as possible.

For example, if you are part of an organization undergoing a merger or acquisition, desired outcomes may entail:

  • Evaluating new team members
  • Identifying skills that may be needed as the result of an organizational transformation
  • Assessing what skills may be needed for newly formed teams
  • Identifying the competency gaps among a new team
  • Restructuring of teams due to the merger to meet the vision of a newly formed entity

Be sure your outcomes and goals align with the critical jobs your stakeholders or internal customers need you to perform. This will help maintain alignment and keep the project focused.

2. Select Your Target Audience

Selecting who needs to be assessed is an important step. Any TNA should identify those individuals who will be able to offer meaningful, accurate, and relevant data to achieve your desired outcome. Your target audience might include

  • Front line employees
  • Front line supervisors
  • Mid-level leaders
  • Department leaders
  • Senior Executives
  • Others

Once you have identified the audience that can give you the right information, you can move to the next step.

3. Formalize and Execute the Assessment Process

Your assessment may entail a series of multiple-choice and/or open-ended questions. For organizational purposes, group the questions by skill, topic, or competency area to be evaluated.

Consider working with a trusted needs analysis partner to expedite the assessment process. An experienced partner will work with you to craft a tailored assessment that aligns with your needs and goals. They can also offer recommendations and suggestions.

4. Prioritize Results

When team members have completed the assessment, evaluate the results. Through an analysis process, information can be consolidated into common themes, areas of concern, or key issues and opportunities. Prioritize areas, that if addressed, will provide the most benefit to the organization. Keep your desired outcomes in front of mind and make sure that your evaluation answers your original questions and purpose.

5. Make Decisions and Develop an Implementation Plan

Present the results and findings derived from the assessment with your team and the key stakeholders who you serve. Outline your initial recommendations based on the needs analysis data along with suggested implementation options and a concept approach. Open up discussion, invite questions, and be open to feedback and considerations others have to ensure the implementation plan and approach serves the organization’s needs and priorities.

These discussions may require an extended meeting or multiple sessions over a period of time. A Training Needs Analysis and implementation plan are significant undertakings, and it’s important to invest enough time to ensure the utility of the process and overall success.

A Quality Training Needs Analysis Led by an Industry Leader

If you are looking for support or guided assistance in conducting a TNA that will work for your organization, lean on CMOE experts. Our team is skilled at tailoring TNA assessments to identify training gaps and needs. Learn more about this service and connect with us to discuss your training goals.