Definition: Training needs assessment is a process that identifies the present level of knowledge, skill, and competency and compares it with the required or established levels within an organization. This concept helps to know the difference and determine training needs.
What is Training Needs Assessment?
Training needs assessment is one of the best ways to deal with competency gaps. It can be conducted at any time like hiring, making career development plans, performance reviews, succession planning and dealing with changes related to the job position.
Training needs assessment survey and training needs assessment reports should be conducted regularly through training needs assessment form and training needs assessment questions to determine whether there is a need for training and whether the existing programs are proving effective in the organization.
Factors that lead to the training needs assessment survey
The factors that will lead to training assessment programs are as follows-
- Succession planning
- Implementing new processes
- Re-organization in the company
- Process improvements
- Re-engineering of business processes
- New hires
- Layoffs / Transfers
- Career growth plans
- Changes in regulations
- Changes in the workforce
- Introducing new technology
- Safety-related issues
How to conduct a training needs assessment?
The various steps involved in training needs assessment are as follows
1. Identifying the needs of the business
The first step in conducting a training assessment is to identify the needs of your business. It will help to understand the areas where you need to focus on bridging the competency gaps. Understand the department as well as the overall goals of the organization for assessing and identifying the training opportunities that will lead to the success of the organization as a whole.
The assessment will also help to know about the steps that should be taken to motivate employees by offering career development opportunities and use the training options of the organization.
Important questions at this point that must be addressed do the organization need this assessment, why it is conducting it, what is the end-result that the organization is trying to accomplish and will training accomplish the objective of the assessment.
It is important to know at the onset whether needs assessment is the answer for the issues at hand or any other process, for instance, employee management, job analysis etc will be more effective in that scenario.
2. Identify priorities
The organization has identified the need for training and now is the time to view them and determine the needs are real and worth addressing. If you are looking for ways to conduct successful needs assessment then prioritize them in order of importance.
This will help to identify the needs of low importance as well that can be addressed by other cost-effective ways.
3. Identify causes
If you are looking for ways to conduct a successful needs assessment then identify specific areas that are considered problematic. Know and understand performance requirements and the solutions that will be needed for it.
4. Identify possible solutions as well as growth opportunities
If you are looking for ways to conduct a successful needs assessment then identify possible solutions as well as growth opportunities. This will help to understand if training can make a difference and help the employees as well as the organization to move in new directions.
5. Perform gap analysis
If you are looking for ways to conduct successful needs assessment then perform a gap analysis. The process of gap analysis is about assessing the current employee skills, abilities, knowledge and performance and making comparisons with the desired levels. The difference is the competency gap that can be identified with the help of several gap analysis methods.
Performing gap analysis helps to answer questions like are there issues in the company that can be solved by training, are there problems that can crop up in future because of new equipment or processes, is it possible to take advantage of new technologies and will the training be optional or mandatory? There are several methods of performing gap analysis.
HR records are an effective gap analysis method to know about job competencies, job descriptions, performance evaluations, exit interviews, safety reports etc. Individual interviews conducted with managers and other employees will help in identifying information about safety precautions and if they are feasible in the current scenario.
Focus groups will include questioning a group about training needs and the participants will have to think and write down about them. Self-assessments, questionnaires and surveys are also used for performing gap analysis.
It can be conducted by phone, electronically, or in writing through a standardized format. Employers generally ask employees what do they need for offering better customer service and ask customers about their experience with employees.
6. Assess training options
The gap analysis has helped to create a list of training needs and options. Now is the time to assess them based on the current and future goals of the organization if you are looking for ways to conduct a successful assessment?
Look for solutions to the problem along with the cost of the training. You can also assess training options by looking at ROI and legal compliance. In case of issues, it is recommended to outsource talent to fill in the skill gap.
7. Report training needs and recommend training plans
If you are looking for ways to conduct a successful training assessment then report the findings from the training needs and recommend training plans for both short-term and long-term along with budgets.
Start with the most important or critical option and then the next important and so on. Include a brief description of how and why the training needs was completed, people involved, methods used, and recommendation with timelines.
Some important questions to consider at this point are what is the training that is being offered and should it continue, will off-site or on-site training prove feasible, are the participants at the different or same location and can the learning opportunity be conducted online?
Sources that will determine training needs
The sources that will determine training needs assessment are as follows
- Focus groups
- Assessment centers
- Skills test
- Needs analysis
- Needs assessment questionnaire
- Exit interviews
- Employee interviews
The benefits of Training needs assessment are as follows
- Training needs assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps it to determine the employees who need training through performance evaluations, self-assessments, focus groups, customer feedback, etc. Identifying employees who require training helps to meet their learning needs and assist in their professional growth.
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps to identify performance gaps. It encourages both existing and new employees to take competency assessments to know the need for training and the areas which should be targeted.
- Training needs assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps to direct resources to priority areas to meet business goals. It also helps in preventing unnecessary training and thus saves money and time
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps to improve the efficiency and productivity level of an employee. The workforce will be able to gain competence and become more productive. This will ultimately improve employee engagement and boost employee morale
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps to improve the quality of services. The training helps to meet the desired goals
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps to train the right employee for the right job with the right approach
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps to collect qualitative and quantitative data
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it prioritizes training needs so that employees can become innovative, efficient and innovative in their jobs.
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it helps to achieve a higher return on investment
- Training assessment is considered beneficial for an organization as it provides an opportunity for learning and development through proper training
Disadvantages of training need assessment
- Training assessment is a time-consuming process. Developing surveys and assessments and completing them will take lots of time and effort that can be spent on other important matters. The training in itself is also considered time-consuming as it will be conducted during office hours that will waste a good chunk of the employee’s working hour.
- Training assessment is very expensive. It might require multiple sessions and this will prove expensive for the organization and if it hires the third party for conducting assessments even then it will prove costly.
- By the time a training assessment is completed, the business needs might change and in that case, it will not prove effective
Training needs assessment is a valuable method to equip individuals with skills and know-how to enhance their capabilities. It identifies the behaviours that the learners need to accomplish their goals and objectives.
The assessment is usually conducted to fill growth gaps and performance gaps so that the organization can make the necessary changes and fulfil its organizational goals.