How Do I Conduct a Training Needs Analysis?

How to conduct Training Needs Analysis
HR Question:

My company is focusing on team member training for next year. To get this started, I have been tasked with carrying out a training needs analysis for all team members. What are the steps I need to take to accomplish this successfully?

HR Answer:

To begin with, let’s first understand what a training needs analysis is and how it can be crucial to the success of a training program. Consider a training needs analysis as a way to investigate and determine what your team members need to be effective in their roles, or what skills they might need to take their career to the next level.

Leadership may have some common training exercises in mind, or perhaps there may be training around compliance that’s required for your industry, but keep in mind that each team member will come to the table with a unique set of skills and experiences. It’s important not to assume that all team members will need the same training. So how do you effectively investigate specific needs?

How to Begin a Training Needs Analysis

To best determine what type of additional training exercises would be beneficial, all you need to do is ask! Create and launch an employee survey or a self-assessment. You can create an online survey or go the pen and paper route.

Questions to include in an employee survey:

  1. What kinds of training have you received in your current position?
  2. What type of additional training would be useful to create more value to the company?
  3. Are there any duties in your job description that you struggle with or feel unprepared for?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What tools or training will help you get there?
  5. What are your learning preferences (large group training lectures, small group training discussions, hands-on learning opportunities)?

Finding out the answers to these questions is an important first step. However, there are other methods you can use including the suggestions below.

Additional ways to identify training needs:

  1. Talk to your supervisors and managers. What training are they currently conducting and how are they doing it? What training needs do they see?
  2. If a personal touch may generate more accurate results, consider meeting one-on-one with your team members or creating a focus group. Ask them what they need to be successful at their job and what training would help them elevate their careers.
  3. Review performance evaluations. Do not automatically concentrate on negative performance areas, consider additional learning events to help high performers keep excelling.
  4. If you conduct exit interviews, take some time to review them. Former members of your team may have given you excellent insight into training needs.
  5. Look for customer feedback. Have any customers made complaints? Do you have negative reviews online? Look for patterns in the comments that lead to gaps in training.
  6. Evaluate any new process or system at your workplace. Do you have a new phone system? Are you upgrading to new software or updating a current software version where technical training would be needed?
  7. Check to see if supervisors have made critical incident reports. Are there any written notes about employees who have either done outstanding work on an assignment or had a problem with an assignment or customer? Critical incident reports aren’t official performance evaluations, but they could be helpful to point out areas of weakness that need improvement.

Conducting a training needs analysis can lay a strong foundation for developing or revising your training programs. Conducting this analysis allows an organization to focus its efforts on areas of training that are necessary for employees to successfully carry out the organization’s goals, make optimum use of the company’s training dollars, and motivate employees by contributing to their career development.

Special thanks to Sherri Hume, SHRM-CP, HR Business Advisor, for contributing to this edition of our HR Question of the Week!

Training and Development of your employees is a key factor in remaining competitive. Not only does it keep you up to speed with your competitors, but it also gives you the edge when recruiting or retaining employees. Strategic HR has experience in training needs analyses and developing training programs to keep you on the leading edge. Visit our Training and Development page to learn how we can assist you with your training and development.