Achieving Meaningful Learning With A Training Needs Analysis
Do you want to create impactful training for your employees? Find out why conducting a Training Needs Analysis is a step you can’t miss.
Conducting A Training Needs Analysis in 5 Stress-Free Steps
Training is one of the most valuable tools you can possess as a leader. Investing in the development and training of your employees can help them gain new skills and hone their existing ones while your business establishes its position in the industry. Businesses that understand and appreciate the importance of L&D are often willing to jump right in. However, this enthusiasm can result in them skipping the most important step when developing a training program: conducting a Training Needs Analysis (TNA). In this article, we talk about why you need a Training Needs Analysis and offer a how-to guide with 5 essential steps. Next, we discuss how you can link performance to results to ensure the development of a successful training program.
Why Does Your Business Need A Training Needs Analysis?
A Training Needs Analysis is an assessment that L&D professionals, trainers, or HR departments conduct when an organizational issue arises. Maybe your customer service is less than satisfactory, causing a dip in client satisfaction. Or, on-the-job mistakes have increased, costing you extra time and money. In any case, a thorough TNA can help you identify which skills and behaviors can be developed through training so that you can achieve your goals more efficiently. For this reason, it should always precede the development of your eLearning training program.
The process of a Training Needs Analysis can look different for every business according to its profile, needs, and objectives. However, there is a basic blueprint you can follow to make sure you receive the desired results.
Before you begin your Training Needs Assessment, you need to know what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. Which problem are you trying to solve, or which behavior are you trying to change through employee training? These problem areas will define your business objectives and help you paint a clear image of the final goal of your training program. It’s important to remember that your business goals must be clearly articulated and kept at the forefront throughout this process to ensure you don’t deviate from your desired outcomes.
Once you have identified what you want to accomplish, it’s time to specify the relevant job behaviors that will help you reach your desired outcomes. Specifically, you must find the critical competencies, such as knowledge, skills, and abilities, that have a direct connection with each one of your business objectives. For example, you want to improve your conversion rates. The target behavior for your sales representatives would be building and maintaining relationships with leads. At the same time, a related skill would be establishing a bond by finding common ground. To ensure this process is done correctly and thoroughly, it’s best to consult Subject Matter Experts to help you identify the ideal employee profile for each role.
Now that you know your target behaviors, you must establish if there are any competency gaps keeping your employees from reaching their maximum potential. This stage is very important for the formation of your training program and, thus, should be as specific as possible. Considering that no two employees are the same, it’s only natural that you will have to create personalized learning paths. A gaps analysis assists in identifying the specific competencies each employee needs help with so that you don’t waste unnecessary resources training employees on skills they already possess. To ensure your data is comprehensive, gather data through interviews, surveys, assessments, on-the-job observation, discussions, and more.
Training could mean anything from mentoring and coaching to on-the-job training, webinars, conferences, online training programs, and more. Then, there is the choice between an immersive training program that covers a lot of ground in a few days or a microlearning option that allows employees to fit small learning moments into their busy everyday schedule. The specific training needs of your employees, combined with their preferences, will dictate what type of training you choose. During this phase, you can also examine your existing training materials to decide if you can reuse or repurpose anything moving forward.
Conducting a Training Needs Analysis is never finished without measuring ROI. This step is often overlooked due to its complexity, but there really is no point in training your employees if you can’t prove any benefits. A training program is deemed successful when the material is retained and used in a beneficial way. There are various ways to prove ROI, such as conducting an after-training assessment, knowledge check, or checking the progress of a metric, e.g., training completion rate. Whatever method you choose, this will be your guide for possible changes and adjustments throughout the training process.
It’s a common misconception that the end of the Training Needs Analysis signifies the start of the learning course designing process. However, valuable training can only be achieved through the combination of Training Needs Analysis and performance mapping. During that phase, businesses can analyze what motivates their employees and figure out their exact training needs as well as the steps they must take and the knowledge they must have to develop the behavior they need to succeed. Conducting this detailed performance analysis leads you to specific learning objectives that pave the way for a well-designed and thought-out learning experience. In addition, it ensures that your training will have a meaningful and long-lasting effect on your business.
Although it’s not the most interesting part of creating and implementing training in your company, a Training Needs Analysis is crucial for its success. Especially when it is paired with performance mapping, it can help you identify organizational issues, employee training needs, and steps you need to take to foster meaningful change and growth within your company. Hopefully, this article can be your guide in conducting a successful Training Needs Analysis that will, in turn, translate into an effective training program.