Training-needs analysis

  • Focus
  • Monday, 18 May 2015

Managers and HR personnel should be aware of the kinds of training that are needed, where they are needed, who needs them and which methods will best deliver them to the employees.

To lift a company’s productivity, you must first identify where personal and organisational performance need to be improved.

Generally, training-needs analysis (TNA) can be defined as a process of gathering and interpreting data for identifying areas for personal and organisational performance improvement. The challenge is to obtain complete and accurate TNA data.

Such an analysis considers the skills, knowledge and attitude that your people need, and how to develop them to perform their tasks effectively to support the business goals.

Managers and human resource personnel should be aware of the kinds of training that are needed, where they are needed, who needs them and which methods will best deliver them to the employees. To ensure training is timely and focussed on priority issues, managers should approach needs assessment systematically by utilising the three following levels of TNA analysis: organisational level, departmental (team) level, and individual level.

Using this structure will help to ensure a balanced analysis that takes into account the big picture as well as the specific needs of individuals.

Organisational Level Analysis

TNA at this level should start with a review of the organisation’s strategic and operational plans. It is recommended that you perform one using a tool such as a SWOT analysis, which looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (ergo SWOT) that your organisation is facing.

Once you have a strategic picture of the organisation’s objectives, performance and future direction, you can review this from the perspective of knowledge, skills and behaviours that can help your organisation build on its strengths and address weaknesses.

The SWOT analysis are as follows:


• How can you capture the good practice and expertise that already exists?

• How can you build on the strengths, skills and knowledge that is already in the organisation?


• What are the skills, knowledge or behaviours that could help address the identified weaknesses?


• What are the skills, knowledge or behaviours that could help your organisation make the most of the available opportunities?


• What are the skills, knowledge or behaviours that could help your organisation manage and overcome the identified threats?

Departmental Level Analysis

SMART is a way of checking that your objectives are clear. It applies to both work and learning objectives:

• Specific: You know exactly what it is you have to do

• Measurable: There is a clear way of knowing when you have done it.

• Achievable: It is achievable within your reasonable control

• Realistic: It is a realistic goal, bearing in mind the time and the resources available (doesn’t mean it shouldn’t stretch or challenge you!)

• Time-bound: There is a date or deadline for achieving the objective.

Skills for managers

In order for TNA to be effective, line managers need to have the knowledge and skills to work with employees to help them identify their needs and how to meet them. The Malaysian National Occupational Skill Standards (NOSS) is a good starting point for identifying competencies for particular roles.

NOSS is a document that outlines the dexterity required of an employee working in Malaysia at a certain level of employment to achieve specific skills. Manager can also be instrumental in identifying individuals’ career progression routes, based on the skills and knowledge that exists within the organisation.

Creating a learning culture

A learning culture is one in which learning is embedded across an organisation, it takes commitment to establish a learning culture. Here are some of the ways in which you can encourage and raise awareness of the value of learning:

• Investing in people is a quality standard, which encourages good practice in the development of people across your organisation.

• Leadership – if senior management and line managers can appreciate and be enthusiastic about the value of learning and development for both themselves and others, it will set a training culture for the organisation.

• People learn a lot from teaching others – encourage people to share what they know with others – in writing, at team meetings, at staff conferences and events informally.

• Get involved with the organisation’s initiatives such as encouraging employees to continuously improve their knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Individual Level Analysis

It involves determining which employees require training and those who do not in order to help an organisation prioritise those employees. It is important to take into account people’s career ambitions and personal development objectives.

In less complex organisational structures, people may be demotivated if there is lack of progression or challenge built into their work as there are fewer opportunities to move up the career ladder.

However, there is also a need to be realistic about what you can offer by way of development opportunities and to not raise expectations too high.

A proper feedback system can be helpful in getting a clearer picture of individual performance. This approach is suitable for those in management or leadership roles.

Some questions to ask for your personal development plan:

1. What do you want to get from your work?

2. What are your strengths?

3. What areas would you like to improve in?

4. Where would you like more responsibility?

5. What is preventing you from developing, as you would like?

6. Which interests or talents would you like to develop?

7. How do you like to learn?

8. What skills or experience would allow you to feel more confident at work?

The outcome of training-needs analysis at an individual level should be a training development plan, which outlines individual training needs, objectives, and linking them to the agreed work objectives.

TNA Training Cycle

To ensure that investments in training and development have maximum impact on individual and organisational performance, a systematic approach should be used. This approach involves five phases, which covers the training needs as follows;

Analyse: Study the environment in order to understand it and describe the goals and objectives required to correct performance deficiencies (performance gap). Design: Define the learning objectives, what the learners need to do to learn the new performance (activities), and what will motivate them to learn and perform. This becomes your blueprint.

Develop: Elaborate and build the products called for in the blueprint that was produced in the Design phase (the finished product is often called courseware).

Implement (Delivery): The implementation phase develops procedures for trainers and learners.

It covers the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, testing procedures and evaluation of the design.

Evaluate: Determine if the performers and learning process achieved the desired results. This is done through proper evaluation throughout the process cycle.

Benefits of TNA

• Able to prepare systematic training plan to support the company goals

• Able to to apply different TNA tools to enhance staff competency

• Current staff will stay longer

• Feelings of confidence, competence and well-being in a good training

• Staff know that whatever changes may occur, they will be properly trained in what they need to cope

• Moving out of the organisation is a step into the unknown

• Meets ISO training plan requirements

NHRC welcomes all those who wish to register and participate in NHRC’s portal which is on free subscription at the moment. The portal provides information related to HR, as well as templates and samples of documents and letters that can be downloaded. Questions from readers will be answered in future columns. Please send them along with your name, contact number and email address to

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