A Quick Introduction to Training Needs Analysis

Learn about the ins and outs of the training needs analysis process, including its purpose, types, and steps to conduct it effectively.

What is Training Needs Analysis?

A training needs analysis (TNA) is a process that involves systematically identifying gaps in skills, knowledge, and abilities to improve employee performance. By assessing the current competencies of the workforce against the required metrics, Human Resources (HR) teams can develop training and development programs to bridge these gaps and enhance individual and collective performance.

This needs analysis often takes place before the training proper, specifically during the planning phase. It serves as the backbone for mapping out training sessions tailored to employee needs and business goals.

Purpose and Importance

The importance of training needs analysis cannot be stressed enough. To begin with, this process aims to uncover and address performance issues that stem from a lack of training. HR managers can leverage the information from this process to better understand what the employees need to carry out their tasks at an optimal level. This way, they can make informed decisions about the training programs to implement in the organization.

In addition to this, performing a needs analysis for training can help with the following:

  • Align training and development initiatives to the specific needs of the business
  • Efficiently allocate training resources where they are needed most
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of present and past training programs
  • Prioritize training needs based on the identified lapses
  • Streamline the planning phase for future training sessions
  • Adapt training efforts to the changing needs of the industry

Types of Training Needs Analysis

TNAs come in various types and levels for different organizational functions and goals. Knowing the right method of analysis for training needs is a must to accurately act upon the pain points resulting from inadequate training. 

To help you get started, here are the most common types of training needs analyses:

  • Organizational analysis – determines training needs based on the overall goals, strategies, and objectives of the organization. It seeks to discover training and development opportunities to address business requirements, such as business performance benchmarks and operational efficiency.
  • Role-specific analysis – targets the competencies needed to accomplish the tasks and responsibilities for specific roles in the organization. This analysis type is great when upskilling teams and overcoming discrepancies in competency levels among employees with similar roles.
  • Person analysis – focuses on the skills, knowledge, and performance of specific individuals in the business. It identifies the people who need training and the type of training to provide based on their skill level.

How to Conduct a Training Needs Analysis

Now that you understand the significance and types of training needs analyses, it’s time to break them into actionable items. This section will walk you through the training needs analysis steps as follows:

1. Define the objectives.

Before diving into the analysis, it’s important to establish the objectives first. What does the organization seek to accomplish through this training initiative? These can vary from employee productivity and safety to customer satisfaction and financial growth.

In this step, keep in mind the organization’s goals and strategies. Aligning them with the broader business objectives helps set the direction of the training program at the onset. 

2. Narrow down the scope of the analysis.

Based on the organizational and training goals, determine the scale of the training needs analysis. Will it be done company-wide or only for select individuals or teams? Asking this question enables you to develop targeted training plans to achieve the set objectives.

3. Identify the relevant competencies.

The next step is to outline the roles or jobs to be analyzed and the required competencies to carry them out. Since various departments handle different tasks and responsibilities, it’s important to organize these skill sets to account for their unique training needs. 

For example, safety officers would need industry-specific knowledge about health and safety laws and standards. Meanwhile, technicians must master the ins and outs of operating specific equipment or machinery.

4. Gather information from various sources.

After setting the objectives and scope, proceed with collecting data for the analysis. This step helps uncover insights into the current skills of the workforce and training-related concerns that could impact organizational goals. 

To ensure an effective and comprehensive TNA, it’s best to get data from a wide range of sources. Here’s a list of methods you can use to retrieve the information you need:

5. Conduct a gap analysis.

Once you’ve gathered enough data, you can analyze them for performance gaps. This is the part where you compare the current knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees with the desired outcomes. Review the data and pay close attention to the behavioral patterns, trends, and other factors that could have an impact on employee performance.

This step allows you to pinpoint the areas with significant competency gaps within the workforce. These insights can be used to find the root cause of performance issues and figure out if training is the best solution.

Create Your Own Gap Analysis Checklist

Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.

Get started for FREE

6. Prioritize training needs.

Based on the results of the gap analysis, determine which training needs require urgent attention. Do this by ranking each of them according to their importance and impact on performance and business goals. Then, verify if it’s feasible to address each need within the allotted budget and timeline.

7. Develop a training plan.

Using the findings from the needs analysis, start designing training programs and courses for the prioritized training needs. This plan should cover the following components:

  • Training objectives
  • Timeline
  • Resource allocation
  • Training methods
  • Content and materials
  • Modes of delivery
Leizel Estrellas
Article by
Leizel Estrellas
Leizel Estrellas is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. Her academic and professional training as a researcher allows her to write meaningful articles that create a lasting impact. As a content specialist, she strives to promote a culture of safety in the workplace through accessible and reader-friendly content. With her high-quality work, she is keen on helping businesses across industries identify issues and opportunities to improve every day.