Do you have the answers to the questions below?

• Is our focus and investment in training aligned with our business goals and objectives?
• What skills gaps are preventing us from achieving or exceeding our objectives?
• What are our core competencies and are we leveraging them?

If you don’t have the answers to these question how are you going to get them? Maybe a training needs analysis is the answer.

Creating a learning plan is impossible without understanding the strategic needs of the business and how the skills of its employees match these needs. This is where training needs analysis(TNA) comes into play.

The goal is to detect and evaluate what training the staff needs, and if you need to recruit from the outside.

Usually, training needs analysis starts with defining the organization’s mission, vision, strategy, and future plans. The question then is, how does the answer to these questions, map out to the skill sets your employees actually possess.

If you don’t have your strategic initiatives mapped to skill sets, then a brief SWOT analysis can help the organization capture the skill sets necessary, to achieve its strategic goals. You can capture this information using surveys.

Once you have the skills sets defined that map back to your businesses’ strategic needs, then you need to accurately define the skills that your employees have. Using a Skills Matrix to lay out  the data you collected makes analysis easy.

Once the Strategic skills required by the business and the actual skill sets of your employees have been defined; then you need to do a gap analysis. This gap analysis then defines your TNA. I have seen Gap analysis’s that are extensive, or as simple as a list of skills then counts of strategic needs and actual employee skills side by side.

TNA’s can also be performed at different level in the organization. Organizational training needs analysis involves the review and critical appraisal of the organization’s mission, vision, and strategy.

At the team or department level, performance appraisals and review become the fundamental source of information about teams’ learning needs. Showing where there may be skill gaps within a department or team.

Finally, TNAs can be applied to the individual employee level as well. Thus, helping your employees to become better trained, and providing more value at all levels within the organization.

Our clients are always surprised at the end of the day how even the simplest TNA report is incredibly useful. With a TNA in hand you will have a good grasp on which employees have skills that are critical to the company. Exactly who needs training and development, and on what competencies or skills. Lastly, how do your people stack up against the strategic needs of the organization.