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The 4 Steps To Conduct An Effective Training Needs Analysis

A Training Needs Analysis determines the needed skills of employees related to the objectives of the business. The goal is to identify the gaps between the current skill level and what is required to achieve and sustain business objectives. 

When partnering with Roundtable Learning, your Training Needs Analysis will be conducted in the following four phases: 

  • Phase 1: Understand Short and Long-Term Business Goals
  • Phase 2: Identify the Desired Performance Outcomes
  • Phase 3: Examine the Current Performance Outcomes and Identify Gaps
  • Phase 4: Establish and Prioritize a Solution

What if you could have a crystal ball to help you pinpoint exactly where you can improve your business performance? Well, now you can with a Training Needs Analysis!

Our team at Roundtable Learning believes in the power of a Training Needs Analysis to understand what training can be used to solve your business challenge. We have streamlined the process into four phases that effectively find the right training solution to help you reach your business goals. 

In this article, we’ll explore the definition and importance of a Training Needs Analysis, as well as how a Training Needs Analysis is conducted at Roundtable. 

What is a Training Needs Analysis?

A Training Needs Analysis is a process of understanding the training needs of employees by identifying performance gaps and determining where the gaps can be closed by building skills and knowledge. A Training Needs Analysis often begins by examining performance trends and comparing them to business goals. Common trends to examine include: 

  • Employee Engagement
  • Turnover/Retention
  • Sales Growth 
  • Workman’s Compensation Claims

Using a Training Needs Analysis to identify the gaps between where you are and where you want to be helps define solutions that are targeted and effective. 

The Importance of a Training Needs Analysis

A Training Needs Analysis is a critical part of identifying the root causes of operational issues and sets the foundation for generating solutions. A well done Training Needs Analysis helps identify knowledge and performance gaps before they become bigger problems and uncovers approaches to training that you may not have considered before. It also helps avoid costly mistakes by:

  • Providing insight to make training more effective
  • Ensuring training is focused on the right areas
  • Prioritizing training needs
  • Streamlining solution development

A Training Needs Analysis is part of the discovery process in a project’s life cycle that can transform an organization’s approach to learning. Without a Training Needs Analysis, a huge step would be missing in the initiation and developmental stages of project planning. 

No one wants a training program that doesn’t produce results. With a Training Needs Analysis, you can ensure that your training program equips learners with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and ensure that future learners won’t make the same mistakes. 

How Roundtable Learning Conducts a Training Needs Analysis

A Training Needs Analysis at Roundtable typically occurs in four phases, each with its own distinct objectives, questions, and processes.

Phase 1: Understand Short and Long-Term Business Goals

The first step for a successful Training Needs Analysis is to identify the short and long-term goals for your organization and the performance needed to achieve them. This helps focus the scope of the training effort.  

This step involves asking high-level questions to senior management, frontline leaders, and employees, including:

  • What are the organization’s goals?
  • What skills will it take to achieve those goals?
  • Who in our organization will be working toward achieving those goals?

The objective of Phase 1 is to focus on what your organization wants to accomplish. The desired outcome can be created by collaborating with Roundtable and setting SMART Goals. Goals can be measured by quality or by deciding on a metric that must be met. This step can be completed on your own or with the help of Roundtable’s Learning Experts. This stage forces organizations to dig deep and evaluate their business objectives. 

Phase 2: Identify the Desired Performance Outcomes

The goal for phase 2 is to identify the ideal way that employees should perform their core job functions. This step involves analyzing employees’ duties and the skills and competencies needed to achieve the organization’s business objectives.

The main questions that are asked during this phase are:

  • What are the required skills, knowledge, and abilities that employees need to perform their jobs or tasks effectively?
  • Will the skills and knowledge change based on the business needs?

This phase works off of the short and long-term goals set in phase 1 and identifies the key competencies employees must possess to meet those goals. 

Phase 3: Examine the Current Performance Outcomes and Identify Gaps

Once the desired performance standards have been defined, the next step is to examine the gap between the current and desired performance levels. This is usually accomplished through a combination of reviewing existing performance data and targeted data collection. Roundtable can help by interviewing leaders and line employees and or analyzing company metrics. 

Questions asked during this phase include:

  • What key events or critical decisions led to this point, and how can we improve them?
  • What have we done well, and what can be done differently?

The goal of this phase is to examine the gaps to determine if and where skill building can help close the gap.

Phase 4: Establish and Prioritize a Solution

After you’ve identified the cause of the performance problem, the final phase is to identify a solution. This stage forms a bridge from analysis to action and identifies the best possible solutions. The outcome is a Training Needs Analysis report that recommends a specific course of action. The goal is to first target the training efforts to the employees and skills that will make the biggest difference, and then identify what type of training will be most effective.

The main questions asked during this final phase are:

  • Where would improved skills and knowledge have the biggest impact?
  • What are the operational parameters for any training solution? 
  • What modalities will be most effective based on the content and context?

After understanding your training needs, Roundtable will help you determine the best solution. The solution could be a customized Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), an AR program to train learners on machinery, or a 360° VR program for leadership training. The solution could even be a blended approach where learners utilize various modalities to achieve goals. Whatever your training issues may be, Roundtable is here to help you find the right solution. 

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What are the Next Steps?

It may feel overwhelming to get started with your organization’s Training Needs Analysis. With the help of our instructional design and L&D team, Roundtable can help your organization dig deep into its training problems and create custom solutions. 
For all things training and learning, Roundtable is here to help. Take the first step in tackling your training needs by contacting us here or explore the solutions we offer.

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