It goes without question that continuous learning in business is crucial for success. An organization’s willingness to expand knowledge benefits the entire process of attracting, maintaining, and developing employees. Any business that is seeking to implement employee training and development is encouraged to first identify and pinpoint the reason for training and what kind of training is required to reach business goals. Workforce training takes a lot of time and resources, so it’s important to make sure the correct needs are checked off. This will also help address any gaps between the current and future training.
There is a big difference in understanding the importance of employee training vs. identifying what the training and development needs of your employees are.
Before training, your organization must determine training needs of the employees. This can be done by carrying out a training needs analysis (TNA). This practice will help pinpoint the direction of the organization, evaluate the skills and knowledge of staff through a task analysis, and analyze the individual needs and skills gap of each employee.
Conducting a Training Needs Analysis
How do you decide what type of training you want your team to take part in? One key way to ensure you have selected the right training for your organization is to complete a training needs analysis. A TNA is simply a process that businesses carry out to determine all the training that needs to be completed within a certain period to allow their team to complete their jobs as effectively as possible.
Before investing the time, make sure you have a clear end goal in mind and that training will have a direct, positive result on your business in the long run.
Think about all the people that will be involved in determining training needs and ensure that all departments are included, as it’s important to make sure everyone is on board in the TNA process. While there are many variations of a training needs analysis, it is commonly broken down into three levels: organizational analysis, operational (task analysis), and individual analysis.
A training needs analysis at the organizational level identifies gaps between employees’ actual performance and their maximum potential to attain organizational objectives. A good step to identify training needs is to carry out an analysis of your business’ strategic growth goals and the tasks currently being performed to achieve those goals. Align your outcomes and learning objectives with employee skills and knowledge. This should help identify training needs specific to each team and job, where staff are performing too many tasks, and tasks that are being completed by more people than required. Ask yourself – what is the result that the executive team, manager, or employee is trying to accomplish? Will training contribute to this accomplishment?
At this level, the job requirements of your business are compared with existing employee skills and knowledge. The nature of the tasks to be performed on the job and the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) needed to do those tasks are analyzed as part of this level. A task analysis is typically done by collecting information through interviews, focus groups, or surveys. The result should include a description of mental activities, necessary equipment, physical activities, task durations and frequency, and the skills and education required to perform a given task.
Task analysis stems from making sure clear expectations were set in the first place – to monitor performance there needs to be something to measure against. Are the roles of the job description being met and are employees able to complete required tasks from start to finish?
Individual analysis will analyze the actual knowledge, skills, and current performance of each employee to determine who needs training in which area. This could be carried out by appraisal systems or performance reviews. Your employees are the ones living the day-to-day business challenges. Because of this exposure, they can provide input into what training is needed. Use focused evaluation to encourage honest feedback. Examples of questions to ask could be about job satisfaction and if current training is helping them reach their goals. There should also be manager and self-evaluations to compare and address gaps. Make sure your employees’ voices are heard in addition to senior leaders, customers, boards of directors, etc.
All three levels of a training needs analysis will be intertwined and assist in achieving an organization’s business objectives. Overall, it will identify performance gaps, help manage the training budget effectively, and reduce the risk of training failure. Once the training needs are determined, businesses can then move on to seeking training providers.
Workforce Development Resources
There are many ways that your company can strengthen its workforce development plans. Training projects can receive considerable financial support from Canada’s federal and provincial governments. To generate maximum training benefits for your employees, businesses should develop a plan that taps into these funds as much as possible.
To help recognize opportunities available for training grants, please download Mentor Works’ Canadian Business Funding Guide.