TNA and Training Process Design, Output of TNA, Focus on Small Business

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 organisation. 

Description: 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 organisation 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.

Development of a training program is the next step after the training need analysis has been conducted and there is a clear consensus on the need of training within the organisation. The next vital question to answer is whether the training should be conducted by an in house expert or from a consultant outside.

Many of the fortune 500 organisations around the world have their in house learning centers and many have even gone ahead to have their own training universities where they train people onboard and those who aspire to join in the future. Companies like Xerox, Good Year Tyres, Kodak, Mahindra and Mahindra, Birla etc have such setups for generating prospective employees with the requisite skills and also for training the existing employees. There are other organisations too that have tie ups with the best academic institutions for employee exchange programmes.

Nevertheless the prerequisites for development of a training program remain the same. We start with the development of a conducive learning environment, followed by a choice of the training methods and techniques.

Designing the Environment – Every individual is unique. One style of learning may not be applicable to each of the participants in a training program. Therefore ‘how do various individuals learn’ is what should be kept in mind while designing the training program. There are certain who learn the experiential way by doing and yet there are many who like the lecture based learning method. There are however pros and cons of both and the appropriate learning style is generally the discretion of the trainer / facilitator.

Establishing the Variables – Trainability is one factor that must be taken into consideration before developing any training program. It is the duty of the trainer to ensure that the employees are actually willing to sit and learn something in the training program. This is especially very true of sensitivity training that is not viewed positively by many. Trainabality also implies that the employee is sufficiently motivated to learn apart from just the ability to do so. Before any training program sets off, it is the responsibility of the trainer to build hype about the event and such that it attracts all types of employees from target audience within the organisation.

There are both formal and informal ways of doing the same. Formal ways would be by sending mails to the employees who are supposed to attend the program. Informal ways would be just creating conditions for discussion in the cafeteria or the lounge where employees sit together, discuss and hear things on the grapevine.

Finally, once the training program has been delivered the evaluation of the same provides inputs for improving the process of training. These are called as the ‘post learning inputs’. This evaluation which is conducted at various levels may be utilised accordingly. Most of the organisations evaluate training on the basis of Kirk Patrick Model. The feedback at each level – learning, reaction, behaviour and results can be used for effective design of training in future.

Training programs play a crucial role in enhancing employee’s capabilities, upgrading his existing knowledge and help him acquire new skills and learnings. Effective training programs help employees to cope up with changes, think out of the box, survive the cut throat competition with a smile and contribute effectively to the success of organization.

Training programs need to be designed, keeping in mind the needs and requirements of employees. Training modules ought to be precise, crisp and informative.

Training programs should not be designed just for the sake of it. Find out whether your employees really need any kind of training or it is being conducted just as a mere formality?

Designing and Developing Effective Training Modules

Know Your Employees: Know your employees well before you begin designing training programs for them. Sit with them and try to find out where all they need assistance. Let them come up with their problems and what all additional skills would help them perform better. It is essential for managers to know the strengths and weaknesses of all his team members. Design your training program accordingly. Knowing employees well will help you figure out the skills you need to teach them. Training programs need to be specific if you expect your employees to benefit from the same.

Dividing Employees into Groups: One cannot design similar training programs for each and every employee. Divide employees into groups where employees who need to learn the same set of skills can be put into one group. You can also group employees as per their age, work experience, departments, functional areas and so on.

Preparing the Information: The next step is to prepare the content of the training program. The content needs to be informative but interesting. Include diagrams, graphs, flow charts, pictures to make your training program interesting so that individuals do not lose interest in the middle of the session. The information needs to be relevant and authentic. Teach them what all is necessary and would help them in their current as well as future assignments. Prepare your training program keeping your audience in mind.

Presenting the Information: You need to design your presentation well. Decide how would you like to present your information? PowerPoint or word helps you design your training program. It is absolutely up to the trainer to decide the software which he/she would like to use. Make sure there are no spelling errors. Read your presentation twice or thrice and find out whether it has covered entire information you wish to convey or not? Highlight important information. Make your presentation in bullets.

Delivering Training Programs: Select your trainers carefully. Remember, the right trainer makes all the difference. Training programs should not be a mere one way communication. As a trainer, you need to understand that you are speaking not only for the individuals sitting in the front row but also for employees sitting at the back. Be loud and clear. Do not speak too fast. The trainer needs to involve his/her audience and encourage employees to come up with questions and doubts. Employees should not attend training programs to mark their attendance. Try to gain as much as you can. Do not sit with a closed mind.

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