Process and Methods of training needs analysis
A training needs analysis is always required in order to ensure that people are receiving the training they need. This can be relevant for anyone involved in learning and development, such as employees, consultants or trainers because it helps ensure everyone has the information they need to succeed.
When it comes to training needs analysis, organizations sometimes face a problem because they don’t have enough information about their current training requirements.
A Training Needs Analysis is a process that determines the skills required to carry out objectives within a business. The purpose is to identify areas where employees are lacking in comparison to what is needed for success, long-term viability and maintaining company objectives.
Process of training needs analysis
The training needs analysis should be conducted in a series of well-defined steps.
Step 1: Hold Discussions with Senior Management
Understanding the needs of senior management is an important component of gaining their trust and support. It is essential that senior management personnel are involved (and are seen to be involved) from the outset. Their stamp of approval provides authority for the analysis and for any discussions which will need to take place with managers, supervisors, and other staff.
Step 2: Establish TNA Objectives and Schedule
To be cost-effective, the TNA must be conducted in a planned, controlled, and efficient manner. To achieve this it is important to establish the TNA objectives before commencement.
Step 3: Identify Sources of Information
The next step is to identify all the sources that can provide input and may indicate a need. There are several sources which must be considered like observation, interviews, discussions, and surveys; less obvious sources include background information and statistical data from the organisation’s records.
Step 4: Establish Data Collection Methods
Having identified all the information sources which can provide input, the methods of data collection appropriate for the particular organization must be established. The methods which are suitable for one organisation may not be suitable for another, so due consideration must be given to selecting the method/s that will generate the required information in the most effective and informed way.
Step 5: Collect the Information
Sufficient time must be allowed to collect the information and this is where careful day-to-day scheduling is essential.
Step 6: Analyse the Data and Identify Training Needs
This is the critical phase of the TNA process point at which all the information collected must be analysed to identify the training needs. As each training requirement is identified there must be objective evidence to validate the need.
Step 7: Develop Training Objectives
Some would disagree with developing the training objectives at this stage. However, if these are developed before discussions with management concerning the analysis, there are the following advantages:
1) Clear objectives to help establish a clear understanding of what is needed to be achieved from the training.
2) The training objectives indicate the desired result of training.
3) Management will be more receptive to the training needed if the end product of the training is known.
The link between training objectives and job performance is a need analysis based on the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to do the job.
Step 8: Develop a Training Plan
The proposed training plan and the training methods (such as on or off the job training) to meet the identified needs should be determined at this step. These can be developed from the training required as a result of the identified needs, the supporting evidence and the training objectives. Once management has agreed to the training plan it can then be built into the training programme.
Step 9: Prepare the TNA Report
At this point, the credibility of the analysis is, to a certain extent, at stake. A considerable amount of time will have been spent by members of the organisation providing information as well as general discussions on and during the analysis. It is therefore essential to be thoroughly prepared for the meeting. What management will want to see and discuss is a report on the analysis.
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Methods of training need analysis
Several practical methods can be used to gather data about employees’ performance, which are as follows:
- Job Descriptions
- Difficulty Analysis
- Problem-Solving Conference
- Appraisal Reviews
- Drive Pattern Identity
- Analysis of Organisational Policy
This approach uses an employee’s performance as the source of information. A worker’s performance is evaluated by first-hand observation and analysis. This can be completed best by watching the worker and playing the role of a non-participating observer.
Interviews are strongly encouraged when conducting a needs analysis. The prime value of interview guides is that they ensure that the same data is gathered from all sources. This allows for determining whether a piece of information is one person’s opinion or part of a widespread perception. Interviews allow the trainer to meet employees face-to-face to discuss their impressions of the performance.
Questionnaires may be used to elicit opinions of the employees on topics like job satisfaction, job characteristics, communication, attitude towards working conditions, pay, promotion, policies etc. These will reveal much information about where an employee’s skills and knowledge are lacking.
4) Job Descriptions
Before setting up a job description, it is important to perform a job analysis. It concerns a thorough study of all responsibilities of the relevant job. This helps us to simplify jobs. After the job analysis is finished, writing the job description and needs analysis is a relatively simple task. When an employee’s job description has been defined, the trainer can easily tailor his training curriculum to the very close proximity of what will be expected of the employees.
5) Difficulty Analysis
Difficulty analysis establishes which of the duties cause the employee the greatest amount of trouble and how this trouble can be reduced through better training.
6) Problem-Solving Conference
Another time-tested technique for gathering needs analysis material from employees is to conduct periodic problem-solving conferences which may take the form of or is part of a ‘plan for a new product, assignment or technology, or tied in with a training programme. Current problems will evolve into potential areas for training as we identify new challenges.
7) Appraisal Reviews
During the periodic counselling performance interview, an employee should be questioned about his or her duties and training. Comments rendered during the appraisal interviews commonly are genuine, and can frequently assist in establishing the needs, variations and penetrations that a training programme should include.
8) Drive Pattern Identity
The extent of an employee’s development depends on his motivations, he should try to satisfy his interests. If he has positive motivations, and if his motives are to fulfil his duties well, he will develop more. Identifying the forces that cause an employee to behave or act in a certain way may help determine his individual training needs and how to stimulate his desire to fulfil those needs.
9) Analysis of Organisational Policy
The organization’s policy will affect the amount of training offered. An explanation of different policies should be covered in the training programme of particular concern are those policies that involve change, alteration and major revamping of training programmes.
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