Continuous learning and development is crucial in today’s changing world. A company is able to make progress if its employees are developing. The first and most important part of training is analysing and mapping the training needs. Research shows that training needs analysis is considered to be an important part of the training process, however there aren’t still enough companies who pay attention to this. Therefore companies are not able to get the full potential out from their learning and development activities.

Training needs analysis is the first step to a successful training program. It is also a critical aspect for succession planning. Most companies just dive in and order a training when they feel that some kind of knowledge or some skills are missing. This enthusiasm is great, but this way they are skipping a crucial step. Conducting training analysis allows an organization to focus its efforts on areas that are necessary for employees to successfully carry out the organization’s goals, make optimum use of the money spent and motivate employees by actually contributing to their career development.

What is training needs analysis?

The aim of training needs analysis, also known as training needs assessment, is to determine if a training need exists and what training is required to fill the gap between current and needed knowledge and skills.

Training needs analysis is also important in order to develop your teams and improve your company’s results. It helps to understand what kind of knowledge, skills and competencies your employees have today and what is missing in order to maximize their success and results on their current or future role.

Training analysis is important because:

  • it helps to identify the gap between current and desired knowledge and skills,
  • it helps to use training resources in the best possible way
  • it helps avoid wasting time and money on irrelevant trainings,
  • it gives and overview of past training programs and gives and opportunity to learn from those
  • and it helps to prioritize training needs.

How to conduct training needs analysis?

1. Mapping missing competences 

Analyzing your employee’s abilities gives you a better understanding about where do your employees stand today and what kind of training would they need to grow. Doing this will help you align your learning and development decisions with company goals and needs. This way you will spend less money on unnecessary training and have more resources to focus on the actual needs.

At this stage it is wise to ask the following questions:

  • Which skills are needed for me employees to become successful at work?
  • What skills do they already have? What skills are they missing?
  • Is the required skill completely new or could employees use previous materials and teachings?
  • What could be in the way of our employees learning these skills?
  • Which internal and external obstacles could affect the overall training plan?

Answering these questions will let you know what skills are already there, what is missing and why. You could also analyze the difference between teams and departments and make training plans for each team or department.

2. Why are new compentences needes?

It is important to think about what are the reasons why we train and develop our employees? At this stage, we should ask how new knowledge and skills could help to improve our organization’s overall results and support it’s growth.

Some questions that should be asked:

  • How to put new knowledge and skills into daily use?
  • Why are those competencies valuable for your organization?
  • If employees will not learn these skills, then how does it affect the organization?

Answering these questions will help to understand how important certain training activities are and how big is the impact that these competencies have. It is important to think about a company’s objectives because the ultimate goal of the training plan is to support the company’s development and growth, meaning that the aim of all training activities should correspond with the overall objectives.

3. Evaluation of previous training activities

It is important for HR Managers and Specialists to learn from prior training activities. At this stage you should look back to the prior training activities and their results. In most cases the analysis shows that a certain skill was trained a long time ago. This is why training needs analysis should be conducted on a regular basis – to prevent missing any training need and offering your employees all the knowledge and skills they need to do their work in the best possible way.

You should also think about the success rate of prior training programs. This gives an insight whether the past activities have been goal-oriented and whether resources have been used wisely.

You should also think about the logistic side of your training programs. Were your trainings available for everyone in need? How did you manage internal communication about the learning opportunities?

4. Choosing the time and form for your trainings

At this stage it is important to think about the timing. When should an employee get this training – in what stage of his career? And if the training is flexible enough to match employee’s working hours and daily responsibilities. Adding training to an already busy schedule might demotivate people and they are not so open to learning. Make sure that you give enough time and space for learning.

Also does your training program fit employees with different language skills? If the work environment has a mix of different languages represented and used daily, then it is essential to enable employees learn in a language that they feel comfortable with. It is important that you give all the employees the ability to acquire skills and knowledge which are essential for them to improve their work performance. You also have to make sure that employees could work through the training materials at their own pace – everyone has a different learning style, so give them time to adjust.

5. Prepare a training plan for each team and department

As a last step after mapping employee’s knowledge and skills, aligning needed skills with company goals and analyzing prior training activities, it is time to start planning the upcoming training and development. It is as important to find the best training solutions and the right trainer to support your company.

If you feel like you would like to bring in external help to analyze your company’s training needs, then let us know and we will help you find the best solutions! We are happy to help you with all the above mentioned steps and add in some tips and tricks to make your learning and development more efficient. Strong and goal-oriented training needs mapping helps to identify learning caps and focus on developing competencies in a truly effective way. We will design trainings and training plans for your company based on your values, goals and actual needs.

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