3. Training Needs Analysis

Individual Training Needs Analysis
The purpose of a Training Needs Analysis is for:
  • Individuals to identify their training needs to improve their performance and develop their skills (and careers)
  • For employers to discover the development needs of employees so that they are equipped to do their job efficiently and effectively.

The training needs analysis takes into consideration an employee’s job role and the competencies they are required to perform well. The tasks that make up this job role should contribute to the achievement of the business’s strategic objectives. This is why identifying an individual’s development requirements is so important, as those who do not have the appropriate knowledge and experience cannot effectively contribute to the business achieving its goals.

Types of Training Needs Analysis

  • Knowledge - to gain an understanding on their knowledge base
  • Skills - this covers not only practical skills but also soft skills, e.g. communication, leadership, customer relations
  • Abilities - do your employees have the ability to manage risk and problem solve? Are they able to manage themselves and set objectives?

Methods for Conducting a Training Needs Analysis

Not every method is appropriate for every company, and often it will be a combination of methods.

  • Asking your employees. Although self-reporting can be unreliable, this can be a good place to start. How competent do your employees feel?  What would they like more training on?
  • Observations - The key is to carry out multiple observations over time. The employee needs to know that the observations are for training purposes only.
  • Talking to people.
  • Examining work - is it of a high quality or are there areas for improvement?
  • Assessments.
  • Competitive analysis – How are your competitors doing? Are their customer satisfaction ratings higher? Has this highlighted an area for improvement in your business?

Job Descriptions 

We have discussed Job Descriptions under the section on Recruitment - as the first step in knowing what job you are recruiting for i.e. what job the business needs to be done.
If you are reviewing training needs or carrying out an appraisal, you need to know what you are doing this against. The job description is therefore a key document to allow you to do this.
When carrying out individual training needs analysis the job description can be used to help populate the initial part of the document.  Within the training needs analysis you can then identify the most important elements and priorities so that training and development can be focused and targeted.  
Suggested Actions:
  • Review current job descriptions to make sure that they still reflect the job role (including any future needs). Ensure you have KPIs, targets and measurements.  The KPI's will help you assess priorities.
  • Complete the training needs analysis form and then ask the employee to review this and complete other sections.
  • Discuss the document with employees (and managers) 
  • From this information gathered, identify what training is required. 
  • You can also start to work out any SMART objectives that could be given to employees as part of their development.

Company Training Needs Analysis

Carrying out this exercise across the company will allow you to then develop a company-wide training needs analysis and then a training and development strategy for the business.