Conducting an Effective Training Needs Analysis

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Making training count is the way to influence the future success of your organisation. The health of any organisation depends on the development of its people and in order to do this we must be able to match all training directly to the needs of the organisation and the people in it. So with this in mind, we at Turlon & Associates pride ourselves on conducting effective training needs analysis and using this to shape the future of the organisational resources. A lot is being made of organisational agility which is the capability of the organisation to rapidly change or adapt in response to changes in the market but the basis is this agility is having the organisation resource primed and ready for change.

The basic business case for analysing training needs is to provide a focus and direction for the investment an organisation to make in its people as well as establishing a method of reviewing and assessing the success of all training /development initiatives. Because training and development is an investment, it is important to treat it as seriously as any other investment in the business. Training programmes are often prescribed to sort out a problem in the organisation. However, until the problem is understood in greater detail, proposing a solution can often be a thankless task. When training is conducted and presented, where is the value in it to the organisation and then how can the organisation leverage this. Training, without an effective training needs analysis, can often be leverage at the resources rather than the strategy of the business.

An effective Training Needs Analysis helps to identify real training issues in a systematic way, whilst linking these in a strategic way to the overall company strategy going forward. Here are some core reasons why any organisation should consider an effective training needs analysis:

  • As the nature of work is constantly changing, to determine what training is relevant needs
  • To determine if training will make a difference
  • To ensure that the benefits of the training can be measured and assessed
  • To link all training investment to the overall company strategy
  • To ensure that the contribution training makes to the organisation in terms of improved performance and growth will be recognised

Training priorities will become evident at all levels within the organisation and hence training within the organisation becomes systematic and planned

Training will not fill all performance gaps, but an analysis will identify any gaps that can be filled by training and development. If an organisation does not identify training needs in line with its strategic objectives, it is wasting resources by attempting to solve a problem it has not defined. Providing the best possible training for your staff can have an immediate impact on the services to your customers, the attitude and outlook of your staff, and prepare you fully for whatever the future may hold.

The basis of an effective Training Needs Analysis are:

  1. Identify a strategic view of the current situation, desired technological and organisational developments are important and should be fully understood. This will provide the information to help determine what is required of the individual, team or organisation.
  2. Conduct a Gap Analysis to check current performance levels of both individuals and the organisation against existing standards, or to agree new standards bearing in mind the overall company goals.
  3. Identify Training Priorities to produce a range of needs for training and development, career development and organisation development which now require further examination and ranking in terms of priorities.
  4. Identify Solutions to be agreed based on the diagnosis. Training may not be the answer. Organisation development activities such as performance management, team building, strategic planning or restructuring may also be possible solutions to the gaps identified.

Implementing an effective training needs analysis requires a high level of commitment from management and staff, so it is a process which needs to be carefully structured and directed. The needs analysis enables a data driven look at the work, the worker and the workplace which form the basis of targeted training and organisational development initiatives aimed at improving the success and growth of the organisation going forward.

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