Training needs analysis: what is it, and how do you do it?
Advice | May 20, 2022

Training needs analysis: what is it, and how do you do it?

5 minute read

Have you and your colleagues got all the skills you need to succeed, both as individuals and together as a company? Carrying out a training needs analysis (TNA) exercise will help you understand what skills and knowledge exist in your organisation – and what gaps need to be addressed

Giving employees the chance to develop their professional skills is a great benefit to offer – but do you have the correct workplace training programme in place to succeed? It’s a question you may have asked before, yet it can be a formidable task to even begin assessing the situation for your brand. While having a training programme can benefit your colleagues, it may not give them the support either you or your business needs to meet your objectives. 

That’s where a training needs analysis will help. Here’s how you can start the process of checking if the learning and development programme you have now is suitable, what you need to prioritise, and how you can support employees, teams and your brand to achieve their goals. 

What is training needs analysis? 

Importance of training needs analysis

How to identify the training needs of your staff


What is training needs analysis?

A training needs analysis is an assessment to help identify the training requirements in an organisation, so you can improve the job performance of employees. This means you can review the status of training within the company, and identify the knowledge and skills gaps that need to be filled. 

By knowing what’s missing, not only can you define priorities but you can also amend your learning and development strategy. Your training needs analysis will need to be carried out across three levels:  

  • Organisational: ask what your company wants to accomplish. Review your current strategies, aims and future direction regularly; it’s been reported brands that set performance targets each quarter generate 31% more revenue than those that set targets annually 
  • Team: check the skills in your teams and the goals you have for them. Ask people in each team how they can work together better, and what prevents that happening now 
  • Individual: your employees should have aims that match the objectives of your company. One study commissioned by Middlesex University London found that 74% of workers in its 4,300 sample size felt they weren’t reaching their full potential. You can assess what colleagues need to do to get to where they want with one-to-one sessions and performance reviews 


Importance of training needs analysis

A training needs analysis will help you prioritise your company’s learning and development requirements, and support you with developing an employee training plan. One benefit of assessing the training needs of employees is you can identify skills shortfalls and find out more about the experience required for your company to get ahead within your industry, which will affect future growth. This means you can create a learning and development plan based on facts, rather than assuming information. 

This leads to another benefit of identifying training needs: you won’t be wasting time on training that isn’t relevant to staff and not contributing to your organisation’s growth. If you can offer training where it’s needed, employee engagement will improve. 

It also saves you money because your budget isn’t being spent on surplus or ineffective training. You can enhance your return on investment (ROI) here because your analysis shows what training is required, in which part of your organisation, and when the interventions will be most effective.  


How to identify the training needs of your staff

It might seem quite a task to start assessing the training needs of employees. However, this can be achieved by following these steps below – which will help you check the skills, knowledge, and capabilities of your employees to determine what training they need to help you achieve your organisation’s goals. You can also use technology to help, such as Digits LMS’s skills gap analysis tool. 


Clarify and define aims and objectives 

While some may evaluate employee knowledge before setting any training aims, what data you do collect will be better if it has some context. Deciding on your goals first – and then getting data – means you can decide where to spend time on training. 

These goals can range from improving customer service to introducing new HR software. Whatever it is, set it as a goal. You can then train for it and measure progress. These goals should be agreed upon with your senior management team and, when this is achieved, you can then focus on meeting these aims. 


Determine the skills and capabilities required 

Your employees may have gaps in their knowledge and skills – which you’ll have to consider as your organisation grows, and your industry evolves. It’s at this point you should understand what your staff needs to know and what they can achieve after training, so they can meet your goals. 

Determine what skills, knowledge, and experience are required for your organisation (or team) to achieve its goals, and then decide how this maps across to individual employees. This gives you the chance to identify any gaps ahead of setting up your training programmes. You can collect this information using questionnaires, conducting assessments, or by observing employees at work. 


Gather feedback from staff and managers 

Talking to employees can help you enhance the type of training you offer them – and help you better understand what activities they would benefit from, and engage with the most. So try to organise an informal chat with each team member to check if there are any areas of their role in which they need further support, and how they prefer to learn. You can also find out what they think of your current training programme, and if it offers them what they need for their own career aims. 

It will also be beneficial to connect with these team members’ managers or supervisors, so you can assess if there are any skills gaps that need to be filled. You can ask colleagues to rate managers’ performance, too. 

By doing this, you’ll probably start to find certain patterns emerging as you go through your feedback. Any recurring themes you find will highlight the type of training you’ll need to put in place.  


Review and revise existing training resources 

It’s at this point you check what training you already have available to achieve your goals, and what may need to be amended or removed. As one example: if you’ve used only classroom-based sessions with physical learning materials, then you may want to consider using just-in-time training because employees can use technology to help their learning be more effective and efficient.  

Your employee and manager feedback from earlier may also highlight which training methods may be preferred by your colleagues. By using this, you may experience less friction when you introduce your new or updated training programme.  


Ensure training supports defined objectives 

You’ll need to set goals, expectations, and responsibilities with each employee in your organisation, as this will help you measure performance. However, you’ll have to demonstrate that the reason for measuring performance is to check you’re offering the correct training support for colleagues. 

Creating a personal development plan for each person will help here – and will also go towards an employee feeling like you’re invested in their success, which will also make them feel invested in your brand. These plans will identify training requirements, too, so everyone will need to set their own objectives and have these reviewed regularly. It means that, in reviews, you can check if any further training is required when someone may have struggled to reach their goals. 

You may also want to use the ‘RAM approach’, developed by the CIPD, which will help your training assessments to be both thorough and responsive. RAM stands for:  

  • Relevance: how current or future training will meet your business goals 
  • Alignment: matching with your organisation’s strategy will give your learning and development programme a greater focus and purpose 
  • Measurement: as part of its evaluation, your learning and development programme should include checking the effect, engagement, and transfer of training 

Meeting training requirements are not only important for your business to succeed, but also for your employees to develop. So it’s crucial you inspect what you offer so it supports the objectives of individuals, teams and your organisation. By identifying any skills shortages, what your employees need and offering the correct training, you’ll improve engagement and your ROI. 


Streamline your training needs analysis with sophisticated software 

However you choose to deliver your training, you’ll want the support of a sophisticated, user-friendly LMS such as Digits LMS. Request a demonstration now to discover how Digits LMS can support your L&D goals, or download our brochure for more information.

Written By Rosie Nicholas

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