A 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