Investing in training the employees is a wise decision taken by any management of an Organisation. The sooner they understand this fact, that the people are its best asset, the higher they would grow. But which all employees need the training, what type of training is needed by them, from where to source these trainings are some of the questions which need an answer.

Hence, Training needs analysis comes to the rescue. So, what is Training needs analysis?

“The greatest asset of a company is its people.”

Jorge Paulo Lemann (Co-founder, Banco Garantia)

Well, training needs analysis is an old age methodology that has been used for decades to upskill the employees and to structure the training efforts in the organization. If you are new to the field of Learning and Development (L&D) and you are not sure of:

  • How to decide what kind of training your employees should attend?
  • What type of training will increase their efficiency at the job?
  • What sort of training will help bridge the capability gap, so that the organization’s profitability plans are achieved?

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Then this article will surely provide you with useful insights. If you are already a seasoned and a hard-core Learning and Development Professional, then you can still follow along, as there are always a few things that we can pick up.

As an L&D professional, it is certainly challenging to pick up just the right courses for each employee and make sure that they are receiving optimum benefits from the selected training. Training programs of some of the organizations go in vain due to poor or no assessments of needs at all.

Surveys of Australian businesses reveal that around 40% of organizations have no formal training schemes, and approximately 32% have no formal instruction to develop skills. The statistics revealed the lack of an organization’s willingness to invest in training programs.

We all are very well aware of the fact that an organization is as good as it’s employees. One-way to ensure that you are selecting the right training for your employees is training needs analysis (TNA). Now, the question is, what is TNA? As the name suggests, it is an analysis of an organization’s training program need.

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What Is Training Needs Analysis (TNA)?

TNA is a systematic process that any organization or business goes through to determine the training needs of its employees and to ensure that the gaps in the current and desired state are identified.

McGhee and Thayer’s in their 1961 book, “Training in Business and Industry” introduced the Three-Level Analysis to identify training needs of an organisation. A systematic TNA is done at the following three levels:

  • Organizational Analysis: It deals with strategic objectives and outcomes
  • Operational Analysis: It deals with role and task capabilities
  • Individual Analysis: It deals with personal workplace effectiveness

These analysis levels are in a hierarchy, descending from the organizational level to the individual level.

Organizational Analysis:

The organizational process involves the procedure of spotting the areas within the organization where the training emphasis should be placed. It also determines the factors affecting the same. The analysis involves going through an organization’s strategic direction, such as analyzing the organization’s mission, vision, and values and then reaching for suitable training. It is recommended to conduct surveys once a year for achieving short-term and long-term goals of the organization.

Operational Analysis:

Operational analysis is the process of identifying the Attitude Knowledge and Skills (ASK) for a particular job that needs to be emphasized during training development. It focuses on the “what” of training development stage through determining critical behavior and asking job descriptions and later assigning the task to be performed in the respective job to increase the efficiency of employees. Job analysis helps in deciding the right content for the job.

Individual Analysis:

An individual analysis is a process of identifying employees in the organization who needs the training and in which particular area. This is done through the IDP (Individual Development Plans), where the employee identifies their own short-term and long-term goals, their strength, weaknesses, areas of interest; align it to the business needs and then look at the gaps and sets up a self-development plan. This can be done in a very structured way, where the inputs from the manager are also taken so that there is an alignment of the individual needs with the overall organizational needs. Also, this can be derived by assessing the performance of the employees based on the actual performance and comparing it with the set and agreed targets. This approach helps in identifying the training gaps that could have led to a better performance of an individual. Individual analysis should not just focus on current training needs but also identify the training programs that will help employees grow and achieve the organization’s goals. Organizations conduct individual analysis through questionnaires, 360 feedbacks, one to one sessions, interviews, attitude surveys, etc.

Significance Of Training Needs Analysis:

1. Determines the weaknesses of employees:

One of the immense benefits of training needs analysis helps you to identify your employee’s weaknesses before it hinders their productivity at work. It highlights the knowledge gaps in advance as it is always better to work on potential problems rather than handling it at the time of crisis. The training analysis makes you take a proactive approach and sort out the flaws before they become a problem.

2.     Leave room for evaluation:

With training needs analysis, it becomes easy to prepare the annual training calendar for the employees. As soon as you identify the skill gaps and employees who need to attend training, and in which particular area, it becomes easy to plan and schedule the training covering all the topics. As training needs analysis identifies the training objectives well in advance, it leaves the room for evaluating training effectiveness directly impacting the business in a much positive manner.

3.     Acts as a guide:

Training needs analysis acts as a guide to decide which training is required for which employees to achieve organizational goals. Force fitting the same training on all the employees will diminish the productivity of employees and could be harmful to businesses. Every employee has their own strengths and weaknesses; hence, training needs analysis aims to plan the training considering the ASK of an employee. It ensures that a personalized training plan is followed, and employees receive maximum benefits from it.

4.     Channelizing organization’s training efforts in the right direction:

Training needs analysis helps to allocate the organization’s training budget in the areas where it can have maximum impact. Without training needs analysis, it is tough to select the right training for the employees and gain maximum benefits out of the training, which directly affects the organization’s goals. It also saves a massive amount of money for the business and as the training is focused and given to the employees who need it.

5.     Align organization goals with training:

Completing training needs analysis will pinpoint the areas that are required to be focused to achieve organizational goals. It is essential to have the right reasons to add a particular training to your training schedule, as it could not be based on assumptions. TNA not only helps in highlighting the courses that should be added to training, but it also highlights the courses that your team no longer requires. Hence TNA enables the team to make the optimum use of time and allow them to focus on organizational goals without any distractions.

How To Conduct Training Needs Analysis?

1. Set your goals is the first step when it comes to Training Needs Analysis:

Determine your goals and desired outcomes of the training. Involve the stakeholders while determining the goals

2. Link your training goals with your employee behavior:

Identify employee’s skills, knowledge, and attitude that are linked to desired outcomes. And then define the objectives to evaluate training effectiveness.

3. Identifying the critical competencies:

Evaluate the critical and core competencies (Attitude, skills, and knowledge – ASK) of your employees and determine if there are abilities one should possess before job entry or abilities that can be learned on the job.

4. Determine performance gaps:

Evaluate current competencies and identify the gaps between current ability and desired ability. This can be done through Pre-test, Personal Interviews, or some tasks to identify these gaps.

5. Categorize training needs:

For the best result, categorize the training needs by identifying the employees who need training on the competencies. Understand the significance of competencies to achieve business objectives.

6. Calculate the budget for training:

Conduct a cost analysis survey. Consider the investment in a particular training course and the benefit it is providing in the growth of the business by filling performance gaps of employees.

7. Conduct a training evaluation:

Training is only beneficial if it increases the productivity of employees and helps to achieve the desired goals of the organization. So, it is essential to conduct a training evaluation to measure training effectiveness and to calculate the training ROI.

Training Needs Analysis Examples:

Training needs analysis has been in existence for ages and finds its relevance in all the industries and of all sizes. The approach towards the deployment of TNA could be different basis the business they are into and the kind of efforts/the team size hey have. Here are some of the examples from a few of the industries that will provide better insights.

 1. Example of Training Needs Analysis In the manufacturing industry:

Manufacturing of quality products is vital for the success of many in the manufacturing sector. Production of quality products depends on its manufacturing unit workers. A well-trained manufacturing unit worker will take forward the business to success. For the very reason, it is crucial for the manufacturing industry to conduct a systematic training needs analysis.

Let’s take an example of a steel plant that is in the business of galvanizing of cold-rolled coils. The galvanizing team was struggling with the issue of a high rejection rate to the tune of 7% due to one reason, which was impacting the organization’s bottom line. When the shop head, senior professionals, and the shift in charges were contacted to understand the reason for the high rejection rate, it came out unanimously from the leaders that it’s the freshers who have joined the organization. Since these people are new to the organization and they don’t know much about the process, they are generating more defects. When the freshers were interviewed, they had a different story altogether. Well, if only the leaders were to be believed, then the training interventions around various reasons for rejection for these new entrants would have been designed.

However, a detailed analysis of the data revealed a very different picture. Statistical analysis of the data showed that the people who were having higher experience were the ones who were creating more defects. On further review, the data revealed that it is not because of the technical knowhow of these people but because of the behavioral issues. Based on the statistical analysis of the data and then further validation of the facts through interviews confirmed it. Based on this detailed training need analysis, individual programs were mapped to the employees based on the inputs that were required for them. Since the programs assigned to these people were much focused and with a clear objective, post the training when the training evaluation was done, the performance of the individuals had phenomenally improved, and the same was being reflected in the Rejection Data of that shop. The defect, which was earlier 7%, reduced to 0.01% because of this reason. This intervention resulted in the improvement of several other KPI, as we had addressed the root cause of the problem.

So, one of the important take away from this Training Needs Analysis is always to take a deep dive to understand the real problem and not just the superficial problem. If we take a deep dive, then only we will be able to crystallize the issue and take corrective actions.

2. Example of Training Needs Analysis In the pharmaceutical industry:

The pharmaceutical industry is a highly competitive industry, and the rate at which new modules are being developed is continuously increasing. A lot of organization’s budget is spent on the research and development of these molecules. When these medicines reach the market, the medical representative who is typically the voice between the pharmaceutical company and the doctors and the druggist (chemist) becomes the most critical thread. He is the one who is responsible for the sales of new medicine. So, it becomes crucial to upskill these people continuously.

A detailed study was done for one of the pharmaceutical companies, and it was found that though the company had an excellent range of medicines, still the month-on-month sales figures were dropping. There were several reasons that were brought on the table, and one reason was lack of training to the front-line sales staff or the medical representatives. But the challenge was what to be taught? Which are the training interventions that should be planned? What are the capability gaps? How do we align it with the business targets?

Detailed workshops were conducted at various levels to understand the pain areas and how training can address this gap. Assessment centers were also created to check the current state so that it can be compared with the desired future state, and a specific action plan can be prepared. Voice of the customer, in this, the doctors and the druggists (chemists) were taken as to how our processes can be improved. Taking inputs from the doctors and druggists was very critical as that helped to define the customer’s expectations. Based on the detailed Training Needs Analysis, several learning interventions were identified, ranging from product knowledge, leadership behaviors, selling skills, influencing and negotiation skills, making effective presentations, personal grooming, etc. Based on the gaps identified, relevant programs were assigned to the learners. Kirkpatrick’s model was used to design the learning experience and to check the ROI of the training. Results revealed that there was a sharp increase in the sales and CSAT scores.

3. Example of Training Needs Analysis In the IT industry:

With digitization and mobile revolution, IT industries are booming all around. Without an educated staff and knowledge about the current technology, the business is obviously going to suffer the loss. The technology is changing at such a rapid rate that if you are not upgrading yourself on a daily basis, in no time, you will be obsolete. For a business to survive in this competitive sector, it is essential for all the employees to go through systematic training to be updated with all the trends and new softwares in the market. Hence TNA is the tool used to establish a training process such that it aligns with organizational goals and takes the business towards success.

The L&D team of the IT firms has to work very closely with the business to understand the upcoming technologies, current and future state, quickly assign the courses to the relevant employees, and to see that they add value to the business.


Training needs analysis identifies the competencies of the employees and fills the attitude, knowledge, and skill gaps in order to achieve organizational goals. It not only helps in selecting the best training, but it also lists out the ineffective online training materials that are draining out the organization’s resources.

Training has become vital in the success of any organization, and the right application of the TNA process will exponentially increase training effectiveness without wasting much time, energy, and money.  In case you want Learning Everest specialists to help you with the Training Needs Analysis for your organization, then our team will be more than happy to work with you. You can schedule your meeting with us by contacting us or by dropping a mail on [email protected]

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