As a refresher, a training needs analysis (TNA) is a systematic examination of an organization’s training needs based on collected data from an online learning system or from other means (Skillnets, 2013). To learn how to conduct a training needs analysis, check out the following link: http://blog.certcentral.com/conduct-training-needs-analysis/. Key aspects of the purpose of a training needs analysis are to identify and consider business goals, current staff competencies, methods to train staff, and costs of trainings (Peters, 2014). There are many advantages and disadvantages of a training needs analysis. Read our summary of the advantages and disadvantages of a training needs analysis, and our summary of how to overcome the detriments of TNA to find out if a TNA is right for your business.
Pros of a Training Needs Analysis
- Helps determine who needs to be trained
- One of the reasons for a training needs analysis is to determine which population needs training most.
- Through focus groups, self-assessments, performance evaluations, and customer feedback, it becomes clear which employees need to be trained (Peters, 2014).
- Figuring out who needs to go through the training helps to better design the training to meet the learning needs of trainees.
- Helps determine what needs to be trained
- Identify performance gaps by having new hires and veteran employees take online competency assessments. These assessments can be developed in-house and can be given online via an online learning platform. The importance of training needs analysis competency assessments is to help determine whether or not a training is necessary based on a respondent’s results. If a training is necessary, the assessment reveals what areas the training should be targeting.
- Identify performance gaps by surveys as well (Skillnets, 2013). Surveys can also be designed in-house and can reveal areas in which respondents believe training would be helpful.
- Helps direct resources to areas of greatest priority
- This way, trainings can optimally meet business goals (Peters, 2014).
- Additionally, one of the benefits of training needs analysis is that it prevents unnecessary trainings, thus saving your business time and resources.
- Helps improve worker productivity
- It’s quite simple: When TNAs reveal the proper trainings to efficiently teach skills or knowledge, and those trainings are conducted to increase competence, staff tend to be more productive, gaining competence in the skills or knowledge areas targeted in the trainings (Skillnets, 2013).
- Additionally, workers that feel more confident in their abilities post-training are more likely to work more efficiently, cutting out time-consuming research workers may have done prior to training to ensure work was properly completed.
- Helps improve the quality of services
- One purpose of a training needs analysis is to reveal the most efficient trainings for the staff most in-need (Peters, 2014). When a TNA is comprehensive, these trainings are likely to meet a desired training goal which, in turn, meets a larger business goal. The larger business goal may be to provide higher quality service or increase profits, among many other goals your business may aspire to accomplish.
Cons of a Training Needs Analysis
- Time consuming
- It can be time-consuming to develop assessments and surveys.
- It can be time-consuming to complete the assessments and surveys.
- A lot of time can be lost conducting a TNA that could be spent on other important business affairs.
- Additionally, the trainings themselves may be time-consuming if your organization has chosen to train staff through mentoring, coaching, or weekly trainings that take up time at work (Peters, 2014).
- A TNA can be costly if hiring a third party to conduct the TNA.
- Trainings that require hiring a third-party trainer can also be pricey.
- Trainings that require multiple sessions are pricier (Peters, 2014)
- Low response rate from surveys hurts the effectiveness of the TNA (Sharma, 2012).
- This may be due to the survey being too long, confusing, or difficult to submit
- By the time the purpose of the training needs analysis has been fulfilled, business needs may have changed, making the TNA results obsolete (Sharma, 2012).
- Scheduling issues
- Trainings, focus groups, interviews, and other in-person requirements for a TNA may be challenging to schedule (Sharma, 2012).
- Employees may fear their employer will utilize the collected data to punish rather than help them, causing employees to be less honest in their self-assessments (Sharma, 2012).
- Employees may be less inclined to reveal where they lack competence.
Overcoming Challenges of a Training Needs Analysis
- True, assessments and surveys may be time-consuming to develop and take, but there are tools that can considerably cut the time these tasks may take. An easy LMS can help you structure assessment and survey questions to cut development time, and can also seamlessly deliver this content to staff to be taken at a time most convenient for employees. Online assessments can be taken anywhere and do not necessarily have to be completed during work hours. Additionally, trainings can be done using an eLearning platform so that they are less time-consuming. Employees can easily access training materials such as readings, infographics, videos, and images with pertinent information, and do not have to be exposed to the time-consuming, non-pertinent tasks that may occur in an in-person training (e.g., ice breakers, other trainees’ unhelpful questions, etc.).
- Combating the costliness of training is simple. Develop training materials in-house and conduct trainings in-house as well. Investing in an eLearning platform is a less expensive alternative than investing in a training program that may be multiple sessions and may involve travel or other logistical expenses.
- Improve the response rates of surveys by making surveys brief with clear instructions (Skillnets, 2013). Additionally, deliver the survey online so that it can be easily returned by respondents. If distributed online, employees can click submit when finishing the survey and this will automatically return survey results to the survey administrator.
- A TNA can be less time consuming and can avoid scheduling conflicts if done solely online. An online TNA reduces the likelihood that results would be obsolete when the TNA is completed.
- Avoid employee fear that responses to competency assessments or surveys will come back to hurt them by ensuring that results are confidential and/or anonymous. In these assessments, employees can be identified by their organizational level—rather than by name—so they are more comfortable sharing pertinent information for a training needs analysis.
Peters, S. (2014). Training needs analysis: 8 steps to conducting a training needs analysis [Slideshare presentation]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/SallyPeters1/training-needs-analysis-8-steps-to-conducting-a-training-needs-analysis
Sharma, B. (2012). Needs assessment [Slideshare presentation]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/bhupendrasharma00/need-based-assesment
Skillnets. (2013). Training needs analysis (TNA) guide. Retrieved from http://www.skillnets.ie/sites/skillnets.ie/files/imce/u7/tna_guide_2013.pdf