What is a Training Needs Analysis?

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The ultimate goal of a Training Needs Analysis/Assessment (TNA) is to determine the gap between the current and desired behaviours, and whether or not training is the best way to close that gap.

A Training Needs Analysis / Assessment (TNA), sometimes referred to as a skills gap analysis is a process in which the desired knowledge and skills of a particular job role or level are compared to the current skills of employees holding that job role or level.

The process is required to determine what interventions (training or other) need to take place in order to lift the performance of that employee or group of employees to meet the organisation’s needs.

The key steps for undertaking a training needs analysis or skills gap analysis are as follows:

  • Identify the problem or pain point you’re looking to solve and how it’s critical to your organisation
  • Work out the desired future state: how do you want people to behave
  • Work out whether or not it’s a skills gap that’s driving current behaviour
  • Develop recommendations to close the skills gap

Unless you’re starting a company completely from scratch, it’s very unlikely that you’ll need to examine the capability requirements of your entire workforce at once using a training needs analysis.

A lot of online articles reference the requirement for HR and L&D professionals to be ahead of the curve and be able to predict training needs before they occur, but that’s not always possible. Some common practical scenarios in which you’ll be using this method as a HR or L&D professional include:

  • An organisational strategic shift or change

  • Loss or potential loss of a key staff member in a team or organisation

  • Inability to fill roles that should be able to be filled by internal candidates, demonstrating a lack of an established talent pipeline

  • Ongoing performance issues in a team

  • Complaints or disciplinary action in a team

  • Organisational process changes

  • New legislative or regulatory frameworks being introduced