Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is a critical process that helps organizations identify and address competency gaps in employees. In today’s competitive business landscape, organizations must ensure that their employees have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to excel in their roles and contribute to the success of the organization. By conducting a thorough and systematic TNA, organizations can design and deliver targeted training programs that are aligned with their strategic goals and tailored to the unique needs of their employees.
However, analysis is often confused with assessment. Kaufmann and Guerra-Lopez (2015) write in their article on the Association for Talent Development website (td.org) that these two terminologies have key differences. Training needs assessment refers to the activity of determining gaps in performance or workplace behavior. Assessments are also best conducted when training has been confirmed to be the best solution to bridge the gap. This also aids in evaluating whether the training intervention has been successful in closing the observed gap.
Training needs analysis, on the other hand, refers to activities that seek to understand the root causes of the observed gaps. It is the process of determining the factors that could have led to the manifestation of such misalignment between expected and observed job performance. It should be noted, though, that both assessment and analysis are needed to be able to come up with the most effective learning and development initiative. But for the time being, this article would like to focus on TNA as Training Needs Analysis.
TNA involves a series of key steps, including identifying the purpose and scope of the analysis, collecting and analyzing data, and identifying the competency gap. These steps help in designing and delivering the appropriate training program. Moreover, it also provides direction to the parameters needed to be evaluated for training effectiveness. Organizations can conduct different types of TNA, including organizational analysis, job/task analysis, and individual/person analysis, depending on their specific needs and goals. Personalized, collaborative, and technology-driven TNA can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the process.
Organizational analysis is done to be able to align the training needs with that of the company’s business strategies, its available resources, and the support required from management. Person analysis is a three-pronged activity that involves (1) determining any performance gaps that are due to a lack of knowledge, skills, or motivation, (2) identifying the person or group of people who needs the training, and (3) gauging their readiness for the said training. Task analysis determines the specific tasks, knowledge, skills, and behavior that should be the point of discussion during the training (Noe, 2017).
Implementing TNA requires careful planning, stakeholder involvement, data-driven analysis, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Organizations need to ensure that their competency framework is comprehensive, up-to-date and aligned with their strategic goals. They should leverage data and technology to streamline the TNA process. It is also best if organizations involve employees in the TNA process and provide clear communication about the benefits of training.
However, organizations may face challenges in implementing TNA effectively. Identifying the right competencies, ensuring data quality and analysis, designing and delivering effective training programs, engaging employees in the process, and sustaining continuous improvement are some of the common challenges organizations may encounter. Overcoming these challenges require a strategic and systematic approach involving all stakeholders and leveraging best practices. The solutions to these challenges, however, would be the focus of another article.
In conclusion, TNA is a vital process for organizations to identify and address competency gaps among their employees. By conducting a thorough and systematic TNA, organizations can ensure that their employees have the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to excel in their roles.
Kaufmann, R. & Guerra-Lopez, I (2015). Needs Assessment vs. Needs Analysis. Retrieved from
Noe, R. A. (2017). Employee training and development. McGraw-Hill Education
About the Writer
MARY DONNAVEL A. LIBRON-BULORON
She is currently People Dynamics, Inc.’s (PDI) Manager for Learning and Development. In this role, she helps develop training modules and leadership assessment tools, among others. She manages several consulting and research projects for PDI’s clients.
She has also immersed herself in learning and development in both academic and industrial settings for the past 15 years. She continues to teach courses in college while continuing talent development practices in private and government organization settings.