Training needs analysis: what is it, processes and models

What is a training needs analysis? Training needs analysis is the identification and diagnosis of training gaps or deficiencies affecting...
19 July 2022

What is a training needs analysis?

Training needs analysis is the identification and diagnosis of training gaps or deficiencies affecting a company or parts of it (such as employees, collaborators, etc.) to which the company itself can give a total response through the design, implementation, and monitoring of an Internal Training Plan. It is carried out in three stages: organizational, individual, and job analysis.

Sounds easy to solve, doesn’t it? Keep reading; it’s not that simple.

These gaps could directly affect the competitiveness and return on investment of the company. Needs that, once covered, improve the processes within the company and increase its competitiveness in the market. 

This process of detecting training needs is discovered from the difference between the training needs (in terms of knowledge, attitudes, competencies, and skills) required by the company and those of the company’s employees.

When should your company perform a training needs analysis process?

When a company desires to increase competitiveness or finds shortcomings in the production process, it should ask itself what can be improved and whether training is necessary.

Managers should note that there are times when members of the organizations express a need that may not correspond to the actual training needs of a company.

For example, if we are talking about an organization that manufactures ships, a company member may express a need for more training in aircraft engine engineering. In this situation, it is clear that this person has a training gap, but it is not related to the organization, so it would not be a training need to be covered by the company.

Training needs analysis: what is it, processes and models

To avoid this type of confusion, it is advisable to follow a series of steps:

1.) Define the research objectives by talking to the training manager or defining information sources (by knowing job descriptions, competencies, schedule of company activities, etc.).

2.) Make interviews: questionnaires to company employees, f.e. If there are many workers, they can choose a representative sample to make the assessment.

3.) All these phases result in a Training Needs Analysis that the company must concretize in proposals, priorities, work plan, the definition of objectives, etc.

In addition, we must say that this is not an analysis exclusively for employees, as it should also be carried out among managers, the company’s middle management, and directors.

Training needs analysis models: 5 key detection tools

There are 5 essential models for the detection of training needs:

  • Performance analysis model: This analysis focuses on identifying and determining the causes of discrepancies between expected and actual performance or between the prototype employee and the average employee.

According to this model, a training need exists only when the discrepancy in performance is due to a lack of knowledge, skills, or abilities.

  • Organizational elements model: Although this is not a training analysis model on its own, it provides a general framework for analyzing training needs in the enterprise. 

The Organizational Elements Model relates resources and activities, individual job performance, company results, and social consequences to the organization’s results internally and externally. This model can be used as a framework to identify what the company should be regarding results.

  • Organization – Task – Person Model: It starts with the study of the organization. Then, it categorizes in levels of organization and position, in addition to skills, knowledge, and aptitudes. From there, the company’s needs are also analyzed to define the objectives to be pursued. 
  • Training wheel model: It’s the process of identifying the training and development needs that derive from the requirements of the business or company. 

To do this, influential environmental factors in the company are explored. Then, business needs and training needs are identified, and training sessions are planned, carried out, and evaluated.

  • Anticipatory training needs analysis model: In a dynamic environment where organizations need to anticipate the future, the objective of this model is to provide a conceptual framework for identifying and analyzing future changes. 

The goals and objectives are to enable companies and team members to adapt dynamically to changes in the environment and subsequent changes in companies, which impact the demand for competencies. Moreover, all this is performed from an interactive perspective.

When should your company start a training needs analysis process

How to perform a training needs analysis?

Identifying the critical points of a training needs analysis and executing them is often a lengthy task, but let’s try to summarize the process in 9 steps.

1.) Determine the desired results and the organizational goals. (They could be measurable outcomes, such as financial performance, or softer ones, like customer satisfaction or organizational culture).

2.) Link the desired results to employee capabilities.

3.) Identify trainable skills. (The more specific you are here, the more effective your training programs will be).

4.) Evaluate competencies and skill levels.

5.) Determine performance and skills gaps.

6.) Prioritize training materials and development needs.

7.) Determine the employee training solution program and conduct a training.

8.) Perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA).

9.) Plan the evaluation of the learning program.

Conclusion: choose wisely your tools to conduct a training needs assessment

Even though it is a complex process, you should not forget that you have many tools at your organization’s disposal to carry it out. We can help you ensure that your company’s capability assessment process is made with the best security and privacy guarantees available, thanks to the SMOWL tools

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us through this form, where you can also request a free demo of our e-proctoring system for organizations.

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