What Is a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and How to Conduct One

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What Is a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and How to Conduct One

Conducting a Training Needs Analysis
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Learn how a training needs analysis can help ensure your team has the proper skills to face future challenges and contribute to your company’s goals.

Recommended training from HRDQ-U

Order Out of Chaos: A New Way to Assess Training Needs to Build Programs that Actually Deliver

Do you know how top companies manage to keep growing and adapting to changes? A lot of their success is something called Training Needs Analysis (TNA).

This method will ensure their teams have the right skills and are fully prepared for future challenges. Imagine you’re leading a team, but projects are moving slowly and aren’t done well! Sounds frustrating, right? That’s where TNA comes in handy! It’s great for checking your team’s skills and making sure they contribute toward the team’s goals.

I’m here to show you how to do a TNA properly. It’ll help you link your team’s latest skills with what’s needed in the future.

Let’s get started!

Set Organizational Goals

Figuring out what your company was built to achieve is the first step when setting up a training needs analysis (TNA). It’s very important to know where you’re headed. This makes it clear why training is needed, and it should help in meeting these goals, linking what your employees learn to your broader business strategies, and improving success for everyone.

I’d start the process by grabbing all the important details about where your business plans to head. This might mean having discussions with top management, reviewing business plans, or keeping an eye on industry patterns. I’d bring all of this into this initial phase to make sure I have a powerful understanding and that everyone is aligned on the future training goals.

To give you an example, let’s say a big company wants to help with its customer satisfaction by 15% next quarter. The TNA would then look into figuring out what currently stops the customer service team from achieving this target. Or, if the goal is to reduce employee turnover by 20% within a year, I’d study reasons why employees might be unhappy and find gaps in their training.

A Team Setting Goals

Think about the different types of information you might need: from interviews with important people, assessing how the company is performing, to feedback from employees. Pulling all this data together is super important. It prevents any mismatches between what the training addresses and your company’s bigger goals.

Here are a few specific company goals you might see: to increase sales revenue by 10% in the next six months, cut production costs by 8% next quarter, or expand into new markets by 25% over the next two years.

With each goal, your TNA will find exactly what the team needs to learn and, crucially, how they can apply this new knowledge to meet these goals. The whole idea is to empower your employees so that they contribute to your company’s goals, which makes training timely and relevant. This keeps everyone progressing together.

Make sure your training goes hand in hand with your strategic intent – it’s really important!

Determine the Latest Skills of Employees

Determining what skills your employees currently have is really important when you’re looking into Training Needs Analysis (TNA). And figuring out which skills your team already has versus what skills they need to meet your company’s goals is important, too. This process helps to spot important gaps in knowledge and abilities that training can really address.

You have a few tools to look at these skills, like questionnaires where employees can openly talk about areas that need improvement, helping to find where they need a little more confidence and ability. Also, surprise observations can show you their day-to-day performance in a pretty realistic way.

Also, speaking with employees, managers, and supervisors can give you a bit of insight into what kind of training they think is needed and can also show if there’s a mismatch between how employees view their skills and how their managers see them. Have you ever seen a specific area where someone could help just by watching them work? That’s the benefit of direct observation – it lets you see the quality of work firsthand and find out where training is needed!

Employee Skills Training

Formal quizzes or tests are a good way to check on hard skills, while focus groups allow employees to talk about their work experiences and together find areas that are lacking. Breaking down job roles into specific tasks and knowing the skills needed for each will make sure everything is covered and all training needs are closely met.

Did you realize that performance reviews and customer feedback also show important skill shortages and areas where service quality could be better? Starting with pre-training assessments to establish a skill baseline makes your training more focused and effective. Also, looking at performance metrics and how your company stacks up in the competitive scene can give you some broader ideas of how well-prepared your workforce is.

Each method serves its own job and also helps give a complete picture of your organization’s training needs. Did any of these methods stand out to you as something that could really make a difference?

Perform a Gap Analysis

Performing a gap analysis is really important when you’re trying to find out what kind of training your team needs! It helps you see the difference between where your team’s skills are now and what your company needs to achieve its goals. You might be wondering how you can find the latest needed skills and which tools can help you with that work.

Starting with a SWOT Analysis is an excellent idea! It takes a look at your team’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This strategy helps you find out what you’re good at and where you could use a little assistance. It can also show where you have opportunities to help with performance and find specific training requirements. The Company Framework is also important. It details the really important knowledge, skills, and behaviors your team needs to perform well in their roles.

Introducing performance appraisals – they’re important for understanding where each team member stands. These regular check-ins show strengths and find areas for improvement, helping you customize your training to meet real needs. Also, the Kirkpatrick Model lets you measure how effective your training is, especially when you think about factors like participant reaction, learning, behavior changes, and actual outcomes.

Performing a Gap Analysis

When assembling training modules, the ADDIE Model is super helpful. It guides you through assessing, designing, building, applying, and evaluating your training to make sure everything is up to standard and goes hand in hand with your goals. Also, setting SMART Goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely – will make sure your training efforts are directed and lined up with what your organization was built to achieve.

To make the training needs analysis process smoother, trying out a structured template is a good move. This structure covers defining organizational goals, identifying specific challenges, collecting data, and evaluating company culture. Add a Skills Gap Analysis Template to clearly find skill shortfalls and create training programs that bridge these gaps.

These tools and methods help define the scope of training needed and also help with the maintenance and effectiveness of the training solutions you do.

Prioritize Training Needs

When it comes to figuring out what training your team needs, it’s really important to start with the most urgent skills gaps. I always ask myself how to choose which skills to pay attention to first. Well, for me, the goal is to make sure the training lines up well with your company’s goals!

First, look closely at your company. How many people are working for you? What jobs are they doing? What skills do they absolutely need to perform their jobs well? Knowing all of this helps you spot where the biggest gaps are – the ones that could really slow down your business if they aren’t addressed soon. Then, you should totally ask your team what they think. Surveys, focus groups, and just having conversations can give you a bunch of different perspectives. These will hopefully help you make a more well-rounded decision about the training that’s needed.

Then, look closely at the training programs you already have. Are they doing what you hoped they would? You can check here by looking at things like performance reviews, important performance indicators, and feedback from your customers. Also, it’s smart to keep an eye on what’s happening in your industry and listen to feedback from managers and staff who have left the company. This feedback tells you where you’re falling short and helps you find out where to focus your training efforts.

An Employee Training Program

Picking which training to prioritize really means you need to ask the right questions about your business and training goals, think about the return on investment, and choose who should be part of the team to get it done. Do a cost-benefit analysis to make sure you use your resources wisely. This will ensure that the training you choose will really pay off by boosting performance and increasing productivity.

To sort out and rank the training needs you’ve identified, mix the opinions from your team with the hard data from your evaluations. This balanced strategy helps you set up training priorities that will genuinely support your business goals and make the most of your resources!

Effective training isn’t just about fixing gaps. It’s also about strategically boosting your team’s skills to meet your business goals.

Develop SMART Training Goals

When you’re setting up a Training Needs Analysis (TNA), it’s a great idea to have clear and practical goals – think SMART goals. That stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Each part helps make sure your training really hits the mark and meets your team’s needs.

Now, let’s break it down a bit.

Developing SMART Goals

I’ve seen that starting with “Specific” can really help. The goal is to pay attention to what exactly you want to help. Instead of a vague goal like “get better at management,” go for something you can really pin down, like “boost production efficiency for operations managers.” The more specific, the better, right?

Then we have “Measurable.” You need something tangible to show for your training efforts, don’t you? Say you set a goal to reduce production time by 25%. That’s super helpful.

“Achievable” is your reality check. It’s really great to aim high, but your goals also need to be within your reach, especially when you think about the time and resources you have. If a goal seems too lofty, maybe dial it back a little, or give yourself some more time to hit it!

“Relevant” ties your training right into your overall business strategy. Think about how cutting production time by 25% can help with your profits or help with customer satisfaction. This will make sure your training makes sense for your business and isn’t just busy work.

Finally, “Time-bound” keeps you all on schedule. Setting a deadline, like achieving that 25% reduction in six months, adds a sense of urgency and helps everyone prioritize their efforts, which is really important.

Going for a 25% cut in production time over the next six months? That could really change the game for your operations, right?

Choose Training Outcomes

Carrying out a Training Needs Analysis is important, but it also hinges on what happens after – how we choose to measure its success. Tools like feedback forms, performance reviews, and productivity numbers are important. They let us measure how well our training efforts are working, which will make sure they meet our goals and really help the organization!

On top of that, regularly checking and changing the training process keeps improving our company culture. This cycle of review and adjustment is really important for strategically building our team and securing our company’s success!

A Positive Company Culture

So, every step in the Training Needs Analysis is important. It helps us fine-tune and confirm that we’re on the right path. Before we can leap forward, we need to know exactly where we stand. Remember, the goal isn’t just to train but to do so with great care and with a mission.

Are you ready to step up your professional game now? You should join HRDQ-U – where learning never stops! This platform is pretty much made for proactive pros like you. It has a ton of webinars, podcasts, and blogs that can help your organization.

Sign up today and dig into a world full of resources in our on-demand library. Be sure to check out Order Out of Chaos, one of our on-demand webinars by Scott Provence. This is your big chance to learn all the ins and outs of training needs analysis from a top expert! And check out our other leadership webinars and blog posts to get the tips and skills you need to become a well-rounded leader. I think it’s awesome to keep learning as a core part of our success. Let’s take your professional skills to the next level with HRDQ-U.

Headshot of Brad Glaser
Bradford R. Glaser

Brad Glaser is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.

Recommended Training from HRDQ-U
Order Out of Chaos: A New Way to Assess Training Needs to Build Programs that Actually Deliver

What’s the difference between plans and planning? Dwight Eisenhower said that one of these is “worthless,” while the other is “everything.” Are you confident you know which is which? If you’re uncertain, that means you’re like most people, and that also means this webinar is for you. Come join award-winning training designer and author Scott Provence as he explores what often happens to the best-laid plans for training and HR teams. Participate in hands-on activities as you learn a brand new way to assess training needs and spark communication throughout all levels of your organization. You’ll leave with a free and ready-to-use template for successfully planning the next big development initiative for your teams. Perfect for designers, trainers, and HR leaders, this session will show you how a simple 30-minute exercise can help your organization calibrate its Learning and Development priorities from the executive level all the way down to the front lines of work.

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