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Training Needs Analysis – The Baseline Approach


Accurate training needs analysis (TNA) is at the root of effective training design. What may not be so obvious is that the questions used for TNA are virtually the same as those for evaluation. Whenever you are discussing training needs with a 'customer' try to stick as closely to these steps as possible. If you skip any steps or are fobbed off because your customer just wants a quick-fix then the training delivered is unlikely to be effective.

Step 1.

Before you actually look at training needs you need to establish that there is a business 'gap' identified. This can fall into two broad categories: -

1. There is a basic operational need (eg. people need to be trained to use the new accounting system) in which case move to Step 3.

2. There is an added value need (eg. the business plan is looking for reduced costs, improved output or quality)

Step 2.

If the gap identified at Step 1 is added value then an actual value should be calculated (eg. how much cost, 10% or £10K?)

Step 3.

How many employees will be involved?

Step 4.

Which employees, exactly, will be involved?

Step 5.

Have we already obtained measures of existing performance for each employee? This will include skills, knowledge and competence as well as overall performance. If not, can we start to get this information?

Step 6.

What do the performance measures tell us? Who is deficient in what? Can training fill the gaps identified?

Step 7.

Have the performance gaps been discussed with each of the employees? Has agreement been reached about: -

- the business need?
- the causes of the business and performance gap?
- who needs which type of training?
- what is the most appropriate type of training (eg. a book, coaching, classroom?)

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