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How to develop a Training Needs Analysis

Aoife Walsh of Tom Smyth & Associates explains how training is an integral part to the success of businesses across all industries.

Training has been known to improve employee engagement within workforces, as well as getting the most out of employees by improving their knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). This benefits both the employee and the bottom line of their employer. To be able to provide the most effective training available to the Company, a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) should be conducted and a suitable training plan prepared prior to any training taking place.

Conducting a TNA allows an employer to develop a relevant and effective training plan. It allows the organisation to identify any gaps in knowledge, skills and abilities. It allows an employer to focus their time and fi nancial investment on relevant training that is deliberately identified as required to improve employees and consequently business performance.

A few good ways to get started would be to gather relevant information from the current employees through questionnaires, interviews, observations, group discussions or focus groups, 360-degree feedback, or by analysing work diaries. Another option of gathering true data may be a mystery shopper, especially if the focus of the training plan may be on customer service and how the customer sees the store. A mystery shopper may highlight areas of improvement which may not be obvious to the employees or employer.

One way of making sure that all areas are thoroughly assessed and meticulously prepared is by using an ADDIE Model. The ADDIE model consists of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation of a creative plan for the training. It makes sure that all areas of the training are taken into consideration and carefully planned for. For the example below, we have selected safety training, but this can also apply to areas such as product knowledge, sales skills, customer service, dignity and respect at work, HR training, technology training, merchandising etc.

Step 1: Analysis

A Hardware Retailer realises that they may need to conduct the recommended updated safety training. They may have realised that their training was not up to date or that some employees had never completed the safety training with them before.

Step 2: Design

The next step will be the design of the training. Start at the end: what takeaways do you want/need employees to have. As our example updated safety training, all staff may need to take part, and the type and level of training may be theoretical, practical or mixed and all at the one level as its new to all employees. The company will also need to set out whether any assessment of the training will be written or practical.

Step 3: Development

The Development will follow on from the design stage. Once the learning objectives of the safety training have been assessed, the content to be covered can be set out. As soon as the decision is made on whether the training is going to be practical or theoretical, then the scenarios, content and learning aids can be fi nalised. (e.g. Is there going to be a practical safety scenario that the employees might have to act out with props from the store?)

Step 4: Implementation

Once the training content has all been assessed and designed into a strategic plan, then the Company must look at the implementation of the training. They must decide whether the person implementing the training is going to be an internal or external person. Also, is there a location at the Hardware Retailer store for the training to take place or will it need to go to a meeting or event room at a local hotel and when the training will take place? (i.e. quiet time of the week/year, when everyone is available?)


Step 5: Evaluation

In this stage, the Company may decide how to assess the employees progress from the training and will have to evaluate how effective the training was and if it was successful and appropriate to the business. A questionnaire to the employees on how they found the training might be an idea to get information back about the training, or alternatively, the employer could include a question surrounding how they found the training in their next performance evaluation.

Training can make a huge difference to the success of a business. It has a vast effect on employee morale and customer service, consistency and productivity and address any weaknesses that may negatively affect the business.

If you have any further queries regarding a Training Needs Analysis, please contact Aoife at Tom Smyth & Associates - aoife@tsaconsultants.ie or 021 4634154

Phone: 01 2980969
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