Need Assessment of Training

3rd March 2021 1 By indiafreenotes

Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is the process in which the company identifies training and development needs of its employees so that they can do their job effectively. It involves a complete analysis of training needs required at various levels of the organization.

Technology is changing at a very fast pace and so are the training and development needs of employees. It helps in grooming employees for the next level. It helps the manager to identify key development areas of his/her employees. With proper training and development, the productivity increases manifold.

Various companies have in-house experts who can train employees on various aspects of the business. Normally, a calendar is worked out in advance in which various sessions are listed out and which employees can pick their business requirement to enhance personal development needs.

At times companies also send employees for various training programs outside the organization to train in technical know-how or a course which would be relevant to their job profile. TNA is usually part of the appraisal process and at the end of the year an employee has to complete all the training and development needs identified by the manager.

Training and development, which was at some point in time was not given much weightage, is now a crucial part for any company to meet its broad goals and objectives. There are many aspects when managers are identifying training needs of their team members.

Firstly, the managers need to identify what skill set is required to complete the job or the process. Second, is to assess existing skill levels of the team members, and lastly, determine the training gap.

Training gap is defined as the difference between the skills required to complete the job and existing skill set of any particular team member.

Purpose of TNA

(i) The purpose of Training Need Analysis (TNA) is to help an organization discern the actual needs in training of its employees so that the available resources are directed to training programs that will be most beneficial to the development of the employees and improve the performance of the organization.

(ii) It is always necessary for an organization to carry out Training Need Analysis since it is an avenue of making sure that employees are equipped with the right skills that they need to be effective and competent in their areas of work. When there exists a gap between the expected performance and how the employees are performing presently, the main cause could be lack of the necessary skills or knowledge.

(iii) Training Need Analysis also helps a company to avoid doing training just for the sake of doing it since it is targeted to particular needs. Training is therefore cost effective since the needs are identified and resources channeled to address these needs.

(iv) Training Need Analysis also helps to Increases the chances that the time and money spent on training is spent wisely.

(v) Training Need Analysis also helps to Determines the benchmark for evaluation of training

(vi) Training Need Analysis also helps to Increases the motivation of participants.

(vii) Training Need Analysis also helps to Aligns training activities with the company’s strategic plan.

Methods of TNA

Identifying training needs is a process of information gathering. Data collection is instrumental in understanding how each employee’s knowledge, skills, and abilities can formulate varied performances.

  1. Surveys

You can conduct surveys or polls with a sample pool or all the employees of your organization. Surveys help find out performance deficiencies in specific areas. To conduct a survey, you can prepare a questionnaire and circulate among your employees. The questions in the survey should focus on the specific tasks and needs of the employees and organization. You can use different question formats such as open-ended, closed ended, projective, and priority ranking. Allowing employees to answer anonymously will increase the credibility and you will get genuine answers.

  1. Observations

Training managers watch the work of employees in regular working situations. This observation, in turn, provides enough information on performance gaps. You need to consider technical, functional, and behavioral aspects while observing. This gives qualitative and quantitative feedback on the existing performance.

In a workplace scenario observation is a good way to gather information for the ONA because the employee is able to be observed in their working environment and observing the employee is a good way to gather data.

In observation, it should be done in a manner that should be done in an inconspicuous manner where the person being observed does not see the observer directly observing them for more accurate analysis.

  1. Interviews

Interviews allow you to collect data on performance gaps while talking with each employee or a group of employees. It can be formal or informal. You can conduct interviews in person or by phone, at work locations, or anywhere. Sometimes, you can interview the representative of the work group.

  1. Customer Feedback

You will come to know performance deficiencies with customers’ feedback. They specifically indicate improvement areas. However, you need to formulate each question in the feedback form so that it is directed toward a specific service or performance.

  1. The Delphi Technique

The Delphi technique is a group decision-making technique designed to provide group members with each other’s ideas and feedback, while avoiding some of the problems associated with interacting groups. The members of the group do not have to be face-to-face but are asked to respond to a questionnaire and send their responses to a coordinator. Once all the questionnaires have been received from the members the coordinator then sends them to every member for review. Each member is allowed to comment and analyse the others comments and then participants either vote for the best solution or the coordinator comes up with a consensus of opinion based on all comments received from the participants. This technique is not that easy to administrator and it can be time consuming trying to gather and then resend all the information for review but it is a good qualitative data gathering information which can be used to make relevant decisions with regard to training needed in an organization.

  1. Nominal groups

Nominal groups are a group of individuals who are well versed about a particular subject and with an assistance of a convenor are asked to respond to various questions on a subject. The participants are asked to prioritise the ideas and suggestions by the group in a ranking order. The convenor gathers the information and it allows all answers to represent the group’s preferences and the group is also allowed to vote to rank or rate the responses.

Nominal groups can be asked to give their perspective on problems in an organization, solutions to a given problem, job requirements or tasks, key competencies for a job, or issues facing the target population or organization.

Training Needs Analysis (TNA) examines training needs on three levels, i.e. organizational, tasks, and individual. This analysis provides a way to design training programs that benefit both organizations and employees. Now, let’s come to three levels in Training Needs Analysis.  They are inter-linked and ensure a balanced analysis that takes care of the big picture as well as the specific training needs of individual employees.

The three levels of TNA

  1. Organizational analysis

Training Needs Analysis at the organizational level identifies gaps between employees’ actual performance and their maximum potential to attain organizational objectives. This analysis begins with a review of the company’s strategies and operational plans. For this, organizational objectives, efficiency indices, and other factors are analyzed. If a strategic planning process is not in place, you need to conduct a SWOT analysis, i.e. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your organization. Involving employees in key roles will help you to do this better. At this level, you will identify where in the organization training is to be emphasized.

Organizational analysis considers how employee training can help attain organizational goals and where in the organization, training is needed. This analysis finds out the knowledge, skills, and abilities workforce will need for the future, as the organization and the tasks of its personnel evolve and change over time.

For example, let’s take an insurance company organizational analysis identifies the gap between the number of claims actually processed and how those numbers can be maximized to a certain extent or percent.

  1. Task analysis

Task analysis is a process of identifying the purpose of a job and its component parts, and specifying what must be learned in order for there to be effective work performance.

The nature of the tasks to be performed on the job, and the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) needed to do those tasks are analyzed in this level. This is also known as operations analysis. So, task analysis checks the knowledge and skill needs for each specific job task and correlates these requirements to the workforce’s actual knowledge and skills. The gaps revealed in this analysis will give you the training needs.

Analyzing job descriptions will provide insights on the required competencies to perform the task or job. The gaps between actual performance and required competencies indicate the need for training. Task analysis answers the question of what is the training needed and where it is required.

Insurance Company: Task analysis identifies what should be done to increase the number of claims, such as qualified claims, claims assigned, claims logged in/acknowledged, claim confirmation process, and other jobs.

  1. Individual Analysis

In Individual or person analysis, you can identify who needs to be trained and what training is needed. This helps examine individual performance and training needs.

It analyzes employee performance and compares it with defined standards, to find out the training needs of each individual.

Continuing with the same example: Person analysis verifies what Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) each employee must gain, i.e. claim analysis skills, interpreting policies, estimating the extent of loss, calculating the cost of restoration, and other things.

Need Assessment Process

A needs assessment is a process used by organizations to determine priorities, make organizational improvements, or allocate resources. It involves determining the needs, or gaps, between where the organization envisions itself in the future and the organization’s current state. You then develop a plan of action to address the needs (or closing the gaps) to bring the organization closer to its desired future state.

Importance

At a busy company there are so many things going on, that it is hard to pin down exactly what may be holding it back. Needs assessment is important because it helps an organization determine the gaps that are preventing it from reaching its desired goals. In A Guide to Performing a Needs Assessment and a Gap Analysis, Anthony J. Jannetti says these gaps can exist in either knowledge, practices, or skills. Knowing what is working well and what needs to be changed is crucial to progressing effectively towards those goals and making an organization successful.

Needs assessment addresses these concerns from all levels, starting at the 30,000 foot view and drilling down further and further into the individual organization, to arrive at a plan with specific actions for improvement.

Types of Needs Analyses

Many needs assessments are available for use in different employment contexts. Sources that can help you determine which needs analysis is appropriate for your situation are described below.

  • Organizational Analysis: An analysis of the business needs or other reasons the training is desired. An analysis of the organization’s strategies, goals, and objectives. What is the organization overall trying to accomplish? The important questions being answered by this analysis are who decided that training should be conducted, why a training program is seen as the recommended solution to a business problem, what the history of the organization has been with regard to employee training and other management interventions.
  • Person Analysis: Analysis dealing with potential participants and instructors involved in the process. The important questions being answered by this analysis are who will receive the training and their level of existing knowledge on the subject, what is their learning style, and who will conduct the training. Do the employees have required skills? Are there changes to policies, procedures, software, or equipment that require or necessitate training?
  • Work analysis / Task Analysis: Analysis of the tasks being performed. This is an analysis of the job and the requirements for performing the work. Also known as a task analysis or job analysis, this analysis seeks to specify the main duties and skill level required. This helps ensure that the training which is developed will include relevant links to the content of the job.

Process of Need Assessment

(i) Exploration and identification: During the first phase of the needs assessment, you need to determine what you already know about your organization’s needs, whether it be additional resources, new technologies, or market expansion. It’s about figuring out where you are and where you want to be. You also need to discover other undisclosed needs that may be hindering you from moving from where you are to where you want to be. You will often rank these needs in order of importance. You will then set the scope of your research. In other words, the needs you are going to focus on.

(ii) Data gathering and analysis: At this stage you are collecting the information you need to better understand the gaps (needs) between where you are and where you want to be. Data may be collected from internal company records or externally through market research techniques such as surveys and analysis of secondary data, including statistical data collected by the federal government. After the data is collected, it is organized and analyzed.

(iii) Utilization: This is where the data you analyzed is used to create a plan of action and implement it. You will set priorities, evaluate solutions, apply a cost-benefit analysis to determine which solution is best in light of the relative costs and benefits of each, formulate a plan to implement your solution, and then allocate the resources necessary for implementation. Again, the goal is to develop a plan to close the gaps between the organization’s desired future state and its current state.

(iv) Evaluation: While many organizations will not evaluate the results of their needs assessment, smart organizations do. You will evaluate the results of the action plan against the results: has the action plan placed you closer to where you want to be? Evaluation can help you determine what made an action plan successful or find the errors in your needs assessment.

Output of TNA

Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is used to assess an organization’s training needs. The root of the TNA is the gap analysis. This is an assessment of the gap between the knowledge, skills and attitudes that the people in the organization currently possess and the knowledge, skills and attitudes that they require to meet the organization’s objectives.

The training needs assessment is best conducted up front, before training solutions are budgeted, designed and delivered. The output of the needs analysis will be a document that specifies why, what, who, when, where and how. More specifically, the document will need to answer these questions:

  • Why do people need the training?
  • What skills need imparting?
  • who needs the training?
  • When will they need the new skills?
  • Where the training may be conducted? and
  • How may the new skills be imparted?

There are so many ways for conducting a Training Needs Analysis, depending on your situation. One size does not fit all. Is the purpose of the needs assessment to:

  • Lead in to a design of a specific purpose improvement initiative (e.g., customer complaint reduction)
  • Enable the design of the organization’s training calendar
  • Identify training and development needs of individual staff during the performance appraisal cycle.

In clarifying the purpose of the TNA, consider the scope of the TNA. Is it to determine training needs:

  • At the organization level?
  • At the project level for a specific project? or
  • At the department level for specific employees?

Your answer to these questions will dictate:

  • Who will conduct the TNA
  • How the TNA will be conducted, and
  • What data sources will be used