Picture this: you’re a leader in an organization who has identified a critical gap in employee performance, productivity, or compliance and feel this problem could be remedied by employee training. Sound familiar? If so, before you start pumping time, energy, and money into a brand new training program, you need to complete a crucial first step—a training needs analysis.
Why is a Training Needs Analysis so Important?
As eLearning designers, we’ve recognized that performing a training needs analysis is a step that’s often overlooked by organizations who are updating their training catalogue. We get it—once you’ve identified a problem, you want to get it fixed right away. However, without a training needs analysis you may end up with a training problem that targets the wrong employees, the wrong competencies, or the wrong training methods. That means money and time thrown down the drain on a training program that doesn’t help your organization improve.
By taking the time to perform a proper training needs analysis, you have the opportunity to:
- Get specific on your organization’s overall strategic goals.
- Relate those goals to trainable competencies for employees.
- Determine which training methods would be most effective for your employees.
- Conduct a cost benefit analysis to see how training would help your organization’s bottom line.
How to Perform a Training Needs Analysis
- Work with leadership in your organization along with professional training program creators to get clear on desired outcomes. Do you want to improve customer service? Increase sales? Teach employees how to use new technology? Get specific on what you want this training to accomplish and how your organization will measure success.
- Next, gather as much information relating to your desired outcome as you can. This can be done through employee interviews, customer data, surveys, focus groups, or any other useful channels. You should also get data regarding your employees’ education, age, literacy, comfort with technology, etc. The goal here is to figure out:
- What competencies do employees need to have to make successful changes?
- Which employees need to be trained?
- What training methods would be most efficient and effective for employees?
- Look at your organization’s current training. Does it cover the competencies you found in step two? Does it target the right employees? Is it the most effective type of training? Identify the areas where there are significant gaps in the current training that need to be updated so your organization can operate at its most optimal level.
- Look at the cost benefit of training. How will training employees benefit your organization financially? This step is important, because you need to be able to find the balance between training that is cost-effective and what will help your employees be most successful. For instance, instead of having strict web-based training, perhaps you need to invest money in part-time classroom training to accompany the online program. All of the information previously gathered in the training needs analysis will help you with this decision.
Many organizations find it beneficial to have an objective third party assist in their training needs analysis. This is because:
- Organizations may subconsciously want to find certain results, which can skew the data.
- A proper training needs analysis takes time. Outsourcing this work allows you to focus on other important job tasks.
- Professionals who spend their time creating customized training programs will get you the most thorough training needs analysis possible. They know what questions to ask, what data needs to be gathered, and what types of training would be most beneficial for your employees.
At Chromatic Content, we pride ourselves on working with organizations through the entire process of creating new training materials. By starting the process with a thorough training needs analysis, we ensure that the training program designed for your organization will result in the most efficient, engaging, and cost-effective solution for your business.