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Conducting Training Needs Analysis

Conducting Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is the most important step in rolling out a comprehensive and effective training program in your organization. TNA is the process of identifying the gap between what the employee already knows and what they should know. In this post we will look at the 6 main steps of TNA.

Identify Skill Gaps in 6 Easy Steps:

  1. List out all the roles within your organisation that you would like to train
  2. List out the skills needed for each role
  3. Create a survey for each role
  4. Survey the entire workforce
  5. Compile the results and begin analysis
  6. Quiz the learners before and after they start their training

1. List out all the roles within your organisation that you would like to train

To start with the analysis process, we need a list of the role types within your organisation. This isn’t the same thing as having a listing of every position on your org chart. You want to simplify the process by grouping together similar positions into roles. If you have both a “Customer Service Officer” and “Customer Service Representative”, they almost certainly require a very similar skill set. If this is the case, you can list it as one role type, perhaps “Customer Service”.

2. List out the skills needed for each role

Now that you’ve created a list of role types, the next step is to list the skills needed for each of these roles. What do the skills look like? They could be behavioral like “Good listening skills” or they could be more technical like “Software Requirements Specification”. This list translates very easily to a Job Description, so once you have this list, it’s a valuable resource in itself.

3. Create a survey for each role

Going a step beyond identifying skills for each role, we have to identify the skills each person has. To do this we create a survey that a) is easy for you to prepare and b) is easy for your people to respond. This essentially means you need to keep it short and not ask the same question twice. We will use the list created in step 2 as the starting point for this and create a survey for each role type.

4. Survey the entire workforce

With the survey designed and ready to share, you are now ready to ask your workforce to respond to it. The size of your organisation and the number of roles will determine how you go about doing this. It’s a good practice to communicate to survey participants to explain why you are asking for their response and what will happen with the information they share.

4B. Quiz the entire workforce for a better analysis

This is an effort intensive and optional step, but is required for a truly robust training needs analysis that will yield in much more accurate data. Back up the findings in the survey with quiz scores that prove an employee has certain skills. This will allow you to move beyond a binary yes/no understanding of the employee’s skills and actually assign each employee with a level.

5. Compile the results and begin analysis

The results need to be compiled in two ways. For each person, you need to know what skills they have. For each skill, you need to know which people have it. It is preferred to use an intelligent training platform, or at the very least a spreadsheet tool like Microsoft Office to assist you.

The analysis process would have to answer the following questions:

  • Where are the skill gaps in specific roles?
  • Who are the potential successors for certain roles?
  • What is the number of people who have critical skills?
  • What are the future skill requirements?

6. Quiz the learners before and after they start their training

In order to truly create a comprehensive and effective training program, it’s not enough to simply understand the training needs today but also what impact the training programs have for tomorrow’s workforce. To do this, we recommend you conduct a pre-course assessment and a post-course assessment, which is basically done by creating two similar quizzes about the subject matter in the course and asking one before the course starts and one after it ends.

After the course ends, by comparing the pre-course and post-course quizzes, we should be able to get a very clear shift in scores, which will indicate the impact of that training program. To get even more clarity, conduct the same quiz every 3 months to see how well learners are retaining their knowledge in case refresher courses are required.

Potential Challenges:

  • You have a large sized workforce: In such a case, take up the analysis process at different levels. Start at the bottom, and move up the chain.
  • Resistance from employees: You may find employees to not be the most enthusiastic to learn something new. It is important to communicate the benefits and expectations early-on to ensure their cooperation.
  • The list of skills is too long: Shortlisting is key. Group together similar skills and cut out the less critical skills and focus on the 40-50 most important ones.
  • Survey response validation: Make sure the survey tool you use has the option to “validate” the answers, so that you get the info you need in the format you need.

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