A training needs analysis examines the training needs of employees by identifying performance gaps and determining how to close gaps through skill and knowledge building.
A training needs analysis is important for the following 3 reasons:
- Identifies employee knowledge and performance gaps
- Helps organizations efficiently build a targeted training plan
- Provides insight into new training opportunities (e.g. different modalities and approaches)
A training needs analysis ultimately provides organizations with the in-depth analysis required to create a custom training plan that’s targeted and tailored to their needs.
When cooking a new meal, you may rely on a recipe to guide you through your unique cooking process. To prepare, you’ll look at what ingredients you already have and which ones you need to purchase to create a delicious meal.
Reminiscent of this process, a training needs analysis reports on the existing state of your training program and outlines your needs — ensuring your final training program is cohesive and effective.
At Roundtable Learning, we conduct a training needs analysis through our 4-step process to ensure we meet the organization’s goals. Whether organizations want to reduce turnover, increase employee engagement, or reduce compensation claims, we work together to implement successful training solutions custom to the needs of their workforce.
This article will explain what a training needs analysis is and dive into 3 top reasons why conducting a training needs analysis is important.
What Is A Training Needs Analysis?
A training needs analysis helps learning professionals and business leaders understand the current state of a training program, including:
- Successful strategies that are working vs. those that aren’t
- Existing performance gaps
- Skills that need to be developed
- Training objectives that should be set
At Roundtable Learning, we complete a training needs analysis through the following 4 steps:
- Understand short and long-term business goals — What are the business goals and what do learners need to know to be successful and meet those goals?
- Identify the desired performance outcomes — What are the required skills, knowledge, and abilities that employees need to perform their jobs and tasks effectively?
- Examine the current performance outcomes and identify gaps — What has our organization done well, and what can be done to improve our current state?
- Establish and prioritize a solution — What does our training needs analysis reveal about the specific course of action we should take to make the biggest impact?
Perhaps an organization found during their training needs analysis that their instructor-led training (ILT) only covered training content at a high level and didn’t provide learners with an opportunity for hands-on practice. To address this gap, this organization may realize that a more blended approach that utilizes multiple training modalities will better suit the needs of their learners.
3 Key Reasons A Training Needs Analysis Is Important
1. Identifies employee knowledge and performance gaps
Knowledge and performance gaps negatively impact how employees do their job. If employees don’t have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their job, they may struggle to become productive and confident in their role. It’s critical that organizations complete a training needs analysis to pinpoint these gaps and implement a successful training plan for employees based on their role.
In addition to pinpointing performance gaps, a training needs analysis can also help organizations identify which employees are in need of training and what kind of training is best suited to their needs.
Performance gaps may include:
- Insufficient knowledge of their role due to the current onboarding process
- Employees don’t have access to the needed resources or learning tools
- Organizational goals are not communicated clearly to employees
By understanding what employees need to learn in order to meet business goals, organizations can implement an effective training strategy that closes these gaps. Understanding the current state of employees’ knowledge helps set employees up for success and meet organizational goals.
2. Helps organizations efficiently build a targeted training plan
A training needs analysis is a vital first step that helps organizations create a targeted training plan specific to their needs. By first completing a training needs analysis, an organization can use this information to create a training strategy and plan to follow as they develop their corporate training.
A comprehensive training plan typically includes:
- A clear outline of the specific training goals and business objectives
- A list of the training materials (e.g. software, reinforcement materials, hardware) that will be used for the program
- The content and learning objectives of training courses
- A detailed timeline of the training program
Evaluating the current state of training and understanding the end goal of training through a training needs analysis helps keep an organization’s training plan on track with specific business goals top of mind.
3. Provides insight into new training opportunities (e.g. different modalities and approaches)
Once a training needs analysis is completed, organizations will have the needed information to set the foundation for a custom training plan. This training plan helps identify new innovative training modalities and approaches to learning that organizations may not have considered before.
New training modalities that an organization may explore include:
These innovative modalities and approaches have the potential to engage learners like never before and introduce new, more targeted learning solutions to an organization.
Do Your Employees Receive The Training They Need To Succeed?
This article has covered what a training needs analysis is and 3 key reasons conducting a training needs analysis is important. We hope that when it comes time to evaluate your existing training and implement new solutions, your organization sees the value in conducting a training needs analysis.