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How to Conduct a Training Needs Analysis

Training needs analysis process is a series of activities conducted to identify problems or other issues in the workplace, and to determine whether training is an appropriate response.

The needs analysis is usually the first step taken to cause a change. This is mainly because a needs analysis specifically defines the gap between the current and the desired individual and organizational performances.

Who Conducts Needs Analysis & Why?

An in-house trainer or a consultant performs a needs analysis to collect and document information concerning any of the following three issues :

1. Performance problems
2. Anticipated introduction of new system, task or technology
3. A desire by the organization to benefit from a perceived opportunity

In all three situations, the starting point is a desire to effect a change. Given this, you must know how the people who will experience change perceive it. In the absence of a needs analysis, you may find employees resistant to change and reluctant to training. They may be unable to transfer their newly acquired skills to their jobs because of the organizational constraints.

A needs analysis often reveals the need for well-targeted training areas. However, we must keep in mind that training is not always the best way to try to close a particular gap between an organization’s goals and its actual performance. Those conducting the needs analysis must get a clear idea of the problem, look at all possible remedies and report on their findings to management before deciding on the best solution.

When properly done, a needs analysis is a wise investment for the organization. It saves time, money and effort by working on the right problems. Organizations that fail to support needs analysis make costly mistakes; they use training when another method would have been more effective; they use too much or too little training, or they use training but fail to follow up on it. A well-performed analysis provides the information that can lead to solutions that focus on the areas of greatest need.

Process of conducting a training needs analysis is a systematic one based on specific information-gathering techniques.  Needs analysis proceeds in stages, with the findings of one stage affecting and helping to shape the next one. There is no easy or short-cut formula for carrying out this process. Each particular situation requires its own mix of observing, probing, analyzing and deducting.

In many ways, the needs analysis is like detective work; you follow up on every lead, check every piece of information and examine every alternative before drawing any solid conclusions. Only then you can e sure of having the evidence on which to base a sound strategy for problem solving.

A needs analysis is not a one-time event. Professional organizations administer needs analysis at regular intervals, usually every year or two.

Methods of Identifying Training Needs

Training needs will differ with the backgrounds of the employees to be trained, and their present status in the organization. Basically, a candidate for training may come from any one of three groups :

1. New hires
2. Veteran employees
3. Trainees currently in the training pipeline ( currently in the training program )

Consideration of the varying needs of these groups provides a frame of reference for discussing and suggesting the methods of identifying training needs :

New Hires

Addition of new employees creates high and low peaks in placing new persons into the training program. This problem may be solved by a program where progression is made in different sequences. It will eliminate a jam that will occur if all phases of the program must be taken in a definite sequence.
The new employees will normally be of somewhat different backgrounds. Being new, they are not familiar with their new employers. As a result, the earliest phases of the training must concentrate on company orientation. During these phases, the organi- zation, organization policies and administrative details should be covered. It is also a suitable time to acquaint the trainees with what will be expected of him, and how he will be evaluated throughout the phase of training.

Retaining & Upgrading Veteran Employees

The people in this category offer a real challenge to the training department. There- fore, the number and amount of training required by this category should be carefully considered. Often the retraining and upgrading of former employees can be very rewarding for training instructors. At least two schools of thought exist as to how these employees should be rekindled. There are advantages in keeping this group intact and tailoring the program to their needs. On the other hand, this category of employees can also make significant contribution to training if they are co-mingled with the new hires.

Pipeline Employee Requirements

A good training program will normally have participants in various phases of comp- letion. An awareness of completion dates and how the potential employee will be employed should be the concern of the training staff and also the employee’s supervisor. A trainee should have a challenge in all phases of his training. All these challenges should not be confined to those phases where the pipeline employee is sitting in a classroom. Therefore, it is recommended that thorough interim test-work be given to pipeline employees in periods between formal classes. This may take the form of solidifying what he learned in the prior phase and serve as preparation for the coming phases.

Techniques for Determining Specific Training Needs

There are a number of practical methods you can use to gather data about employees’ performance. Each works well in given circumstances; therefore, you must determine which be the best for you. None of these methods can stand alone. Always use at least two, if for no other reason to validate your findings. One of those you choose should always be observation.

1. Observation

In this approach, an employee’s performance itself is you source of information. You evaluate a worker’s performance through first-hand observation and analysis. This is best accomplished by watching the worker and playing the role of non-participating observer. This means that you watch and listen and evaluate what you see and hear, but do not get involved in his work process in any way.

To make this activity more productive, use a checklist to remind you of what to look for and take notes.

The objective during observations is to identify both the strengths to build on and the deficiencies to overcome. A key advantage of using direct observation in the needs analysis is that you gain first-hand knowledge and understanding of the job being performed and the strengths and weaknesses of the relevant worker.

2.  Interviews

The use of interviews in conducting the needs analysis is strongly urged. The prime value of interview guides is that they ensure the same types of data from all sources. This allows you to determine whether a piece of information is one person’s opinion, or part of a widespread perception. Since the interview guide forces you to ask each worker a number of predetermined questions, you must select those questions that are essential to what you are trying to learn.

Interviews allow you to meet employees face to face to discuss their impressions of performance. Because you are in conversation with workers, you can explore their responses in depth. You can ask or clarification of comments and for examples of what they mean. In this way, you obtain a full understanding of their performance deficiencies.

You also gain these benefits through interviewing :

1. You build credibility with your interviewees by asking intelligent questions and
Listening well to their answers

2. You obtain employees’ personal involvement and commitment to your efforts

3. You establish personal relationships with potential trainees who are important to your success as a needs analyst and trainer

3.  Questionnaires

A questionnaire is a sort of interview on paper. You create your own questionnaire by writing down all the questions you want employees to answer for you. Then you mail it to them and await their responses.

The key advantage of a questionnaire is that you can include every person from whom
You want input. Employees can complete the questionnaire when and where they choose. You need not travel and spend time with all respondents. Every employee is asked the identical questions, and consequently data is very easy to compile and analyze.

Questionnaires can be useful in obtaining a ‘ big picture ’ of what a large number of employees think while allowing everyone to feel that they have had an opportunity to participate in the needs analysis process.

4. Job Descriptions

Before establishing a job description, a job analysis must be made. This job analysis involves a thorough study of all responsibilities of the relevant job. It is company wide in scope and should be detailed to such a degree that those conducting the training can use the job analysis as a yardstick for their course content. After the job analysis phase has been completed, the writing of 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 a very close proximity of what will be expected of the employees.

5. The Difficulty Analysis

The Job Analysis will focus attention on enumerating the numerous duties that a worker must perform. On the other hand, the Difficulty Analysis establishes which of the duties cause the employee the greatest amount of troubles and how this trouble can be reduced through better training.

A good Difficulty Analysis offers many advantages. For example ….

• It enables a needs analyst to weigh certain aspects of the training in relationship to the expected difficulty that the worker will face in coping with those duties.

• A well thought out Difficulty Analysis will provide the training program with an abundance of role-playing material and situations.

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 be part of a plan for a new product, task or technology, or tied in with a training program It is always helpful to utilize an outside consultant to moderate such sessions. This outside sponsorship has a tendency of letting the workers express their feelings about his organization, and the session can then be geared to training needs. The current problems will evolve that represent potential areas for training.

7.  Appraisal Reviews

During the periodic counseling performance interview, an employee should be ques- tioned regarding the duties and training of a worker. Comments rendered during the appraisal interviews normally are genuine, and can frequently assist in establishing the needs, variations and penetrations that a training program should include. Feed- back at appraisal interview time is valuable since it is timely information. Training needs differ from worker to worker, and appraisal sessions allow the employee and supervisor / manager to uncover the cause of weaknesses in performance. These deficiencies represent areas for training.

8.  Drive Pattern Identity

The extent of an employee’s development depends on his motivations. Identifying the forces that cause an employee to behave in a certain way may be useful in determining his individual training needs and how to stimulate his desire to fulfill that need. An analysis of this kind, for example, may determine that the employee has an urgent need for self-confidence. His individual program should be made to stress the importance of attitude, skills etc., and any other assets that would give him this self- confidence.

9.  Analysis of Organizational Policy

Organization policy will affect the amount of training offered. An explanation of various policies should be covered in the training program. Of particular concern are those policies that involve change, alteration and major revamping of training programs. In organizations undergoing merger activity, product diversification and new penetration, a great deal of sensitivity must be placed on policies today and expected changes in the future.

Whatever the method used to identify training needs, at least the following three points must be kept in view :

1. These methods should be used in combination; that is, there should never be reliance on only one method

2. They may be used to identify training needs of each of the various groups
of employees

3. They should be applied to individual employees since training needs will vary with the individual employee.

159 thoughts on “How to Conduct a Training Needs Analysis

  1. i appreciate the way you have presented the subject matter especially in providing sufficient information on the methods to be used in analysing the needs of a particular group of employees. i hope you could also provide a sample metrices or format /form for the purpose. thank you

  2. i appreciate the way you have presented the subject matter especially in providing sufficient information on the methods to be used in analysing the needs of a particular group of employees. i hope you could also provide a sample metrices or format /form for the purpose. thank you

  3. First of all I appriciate your effort. The content was very nice & Complte.Plese add some of the model questionnaires / evaluation formats. that will healp to conduct / guide you to conduct TNA survey in any Industry. If possible send a model copy to my mail.
    Thank you.
    With warm regards,
    B.Prabaharan.

  4. First of all I appriciate your effort. The content was very nice & Complte.Plese add some of the model questionnaires / evaluation formats. that will healp to conduct / guide you to conduct TNA survey in any Industry. If possible send a model copy to my mail.
    Thank you.
    With warm regards,
    B.Prabaharan.

  5. i really appreciate the effort done by you and it will be more than helpful if you add some model questionnaire . if possible send a mdel copy at my email

    thanks again for your help and consideration

  6. i really appreciate the effort done by you and it will be more than helpful if you add some model questionnaire . if possible send a mdel copy at my email

    thanks again for your help and consideration

  7. Your presentation is indeed very informative and it would be more than helpful if you could add some model questionnaire for a manufacturing industry. Thank you so much.

  8. Your presentation is indeed very informative and it would be more than helpful if you could add some model questionnaire for a manufacturing industry. Thank you so much.

  9. You have presented relevant TNA information in a simple manner.
    The major factors associated with the conduct of a TNA were well articulated.
    I support the requests for “model questionnaires / evaluation formats. that will help to conduct / guide you to conduct TNA survey in any Industry.”
    Keep up the good works

  10. You have presented relevant TNA information in a simple manner.
    The major factors associated with the conduct of a TNA were well articulated.
    I support the requests for “model questionnaires / evaluation formats. that will help to conduct / guide you to conduct TNA survey in any Industry.”
    Keep up the good works

  11. I also appreciate this content. Your effort will be more valued, if you have added some example questionnaires. I will be thankful to you, if you can send me some models of them at my e mail.

  12. I also appreciate this content. Your effort will be more valued, if you have added some example questionnaires. I will be thankful to you, if you can send me some models of them at my e mail.

  13. Thank you for a well presented; ”How to conduct Training Needs Analysis” please add some model questionnaires, evaluation format that will help to conduct TNA for existing staffs within an organization. i will appreciate to get them through my email address. Thank you in Advance.

  14. Thank you for a well presented; ”How to conduct Training Needs Analysis” please add some model questionnaires, evaluation format that will help to conduct TNA for existing staffs within an organization. i will appreciate to get them through my email address. Thank you in Advance.

  15. Your presentation is indeed very informative and it would be more than helpful if you could add some model questionnaires for a supervisor in the pharmaceutical industry. if possible send a model copy to my email
    Thank you so much. nicole

  16. Your presentation is indeed very informative and it would be more than helpful if you could add some model questionnaires for a supervisor in the pharmaceutical industry. if possible send a model copy to my email
    Thank you so much. nicole

  17. this training needs analysis was clearly defined and explained.
    it would be very helpful if other two methods of needs analysis( process and systems) were included here because you explain it so well.

  18. this training needs analysis was clearly defined and explained.
    it would be very helpful if other two methods of needs analysis( process and systems) were included here because you explain it so well.

  19. hi,

    if i want to cite your article, what reference should i give and what is the complete name of the author???

    plz do tell me as soon as possible..

    email me the answer please

  20. hi,

    if i want to cite your article, what reference should i give and what is the complete name of the author???

    plz do tell me as soon as possible..

    email me the answer please

  21. This was a very sincere and systematic effort to explain the topic. Approach is quite practical and self explanatory. It will be more helpful to me, if you could also include techniques of developing different tool for Training need assessment and how to determine training objective / goal by compiling TNA results? I would expect your extended help by mailing me some models/material/reference or e-book on same.

  22. This was a very sincere and systematic effort to explain the topic. Approach is quite practical and self explanatory. It will be more helpful to me, if you could also include techniques of developing different tool for Training need assessment and how to determine training objective / goal by compiling TNA results? I would expect your extended help by mailing me some models/material/reference or e-book on same.

  23. It is not a bookish type of article but it is very easy to understand and can well defines the complete topic practiclly.

  24. The content was helpful and inspires a lot of questions. However, some model questions for the IT Industry would be very helpful.

  25. The content was helpful and inspires a lot of questions. However, some model questions for the IT Industry would be very helpful.

  26. the information are very helpful. actually am doing a research proposal on TNA and I would like to know whether i need to add more to the information provided.and if yes, what are they?

  27. the information are very helpful. actually am doing a research proposal on TNA and I would like to know whether i need to add more to the information provided.and if yes, what are they?

  28. Kindly and accept my warm greeting and appreciate for this humble effort you made to us concerning TNA may God reward you with his infinite mercy. I will also be glad if you will send me your powerpoint format to enhance my knowledge as a traning development officer.

  29. Very useful information. Do you have something specific for Internet Service provider industry ?
    If yes please share

  30. yeah i agree with you that its really very useful information. but i need some information about 350-001 and 642-901 exam… can any one help me out to find these exam information..?

  31. if possible than please provide the author name & journal which represnets that articel. so that we could have tough support to pur answer.

  32. hello.. the information provided is very helpful for me… I am doing the research on the topic of training need assessment in ITes…

    1. hi dear,
      am doing project in dr.reddys on training needs assessment for that i have designed a questionaire which includes
      1.demogaraphich questions
      2.questions including trraining awareness
      3.questions which recognizes the areas of training where they require training
      4.questions which involves how the training
      programmes support the development of resources

      I collected the questionaires from them but now am in a requirement that
      how should i analyse them what are the tools to use for the analyses

  33. thank you. this is very informative and doable. even a small organization can utilize this without the need for exuberant budget.

  34. Very informative. I work as a Training & Development Officer and find this very useful. Could you provide some samples of this training Needs Analysis.

  35. Thank for the excellent articles. Currently I do some research on Training Needs Analysis for School Principals. I really appreciate if you could spare some of any related literature on TNA. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

  36. please i want a complete example to assess training needs analysis for training program to a certain job in healthcare facility….

  37. I’m already a fan undifferentiated articles maturity additional perception opportune to this one, but absolute is finished prerogative a relevant gangway here. pursuit inaugurate off.

  38. Dear,
    In case if I have huge number fo employees 1000+ with deferent category of their job family, the question is…how to conduct the TNA and the most important thing how to collect and consolidate all collected need, and how we should tackle it and what is the priority should be?

  39. Could someone share with me a questionnaire for management level employees that could help identify strengths and opportunities? Thanks

    1. excellent.very informative. i am a language and soft skills trainer.i am always on the lookout to improve myself.

  40. please send me the questionnaire for my TNA relating the issue of time management for study of our class fellows.

  41. Hi! I am an HR Officer and we are currently re-organizing our training and development system. We would like to ask from your end if you could send us a copy of TNA that would help us in creating a similar tool. Thanks a lot.

  42. Hi,

    Can you please send me a questionaire for TNA ?

    Thank you, love your website. very informative !

    KB

  43. Heyya,
    M an MBA student and m developing a questionnaire project on training need analysis for a start up company could you please help me out ( sample size is jsd 20 to 22 people)
    Ma mail id is vhawna01@gmail.com

  44. Can you please send me the questions or a sample questionnaire about TNA and i want to know more about the 360 feedback i believe that would help us in our company.

  45. Good Morning. am working as a training coordinator and am conducting training need analysis for corporate. could you please send me sample of TNA. Thanking you in advance.

  46. Thank you for a great article. It has given me an idea where to get started on TNA, just like the others, may I also ask for a sample of TNA for sales or for general company needs.

  47. I have also found this webste very informative. I am new to training and am currently performing a training needs analysis. Could you please send me a sample of TNA related to sales and service please. Thanks in advance

  48. Hi
    I have been requested to conduct a TNA for about fifty members of a local business association. The members of the business association are small scale business owners running their various businesses in town and the association would like to conduct a number of training programmes for its members that will mainly focus on business skills and knowledge development. The objective of the TNA is to identify the required trainings for the members.

    The association would like to have theTNA conducted in one day, this is due to limited resources. What approaches and methods / techniques could be used to conduct such a TNA?

    I would be grateful to receive your comments urgently.

    Thank you

    P Muteto
    LIVINGSTONE ZAMBIA

  49. Interesting article and obviously much needed. I am surprised by the number of HR people who have been left in charge of possibly the most valuable part of a trainig plan the TNA without the training or tools to deliver. Keep up the good work
    Charlotte Mannion Chartered Fellow CIPD

  50. Please,send me some notes on:
    (a) Training Policy Purposes.
    (b) Ways of Discovering Training Needs.
    (c) Tangible Benefits of Training Needs Analysis.

  51. Hello Dear all:
    I hope you all fine. i would like to request from you all. on Wednesday my interview has been schedul for the position of ( Training Officer). What kind of quesations will be aske in ther interview.
    Sincerly Ahmad Jawad.

  52. Great aricle. Could you send me a TNA questionairre? If possible can you send one based on healthcare worker needs in the patient care setting?

  53. I’ve recently started working as a training manager for medium sized retail company and they’ve never had formal training for employees and no HR manager either. Can you plz send me a TNA questionnaire? I want to convince the CEO of the importance of doing a TNA before anything else happens.

  54. Very informative article. Educative too… Look fwd to reading and learning more from you… God bless!

  55. Thanks for this information. I am a trainer and part of my jobs include training needs assessment. Could you please send me the TNA form and typical winning training proposal?
    Thanks.

  56. hi

    Dear friend .
    i just got job in the company . i have been requested to frame question on TNA for the employee. so pliz, could you send me. i will be graceful for your help.

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