A good Training Needs Analysis is like a mechanic’s inspection report. What’s causing the clunky noise? What’s about to break and halt your car if you don’t update? What’s wearing down your engine or your tires more than it has to?
Employee skills are a key factor in helping a company operate smoothly. Having enough employees with the right skills prevents workflow bottlenecks and prevents certain employees from carrying disproportionate burdens. Employees who are up-to-date experts in their fields can provide insight into possibilities for the future and move your company forward. Fixing skills gaps keeps your company from slowing down and losing relevancy.
A Training Needs Analysis determines what skills are needed in order to have the benefits of a highly skilled workforce that is at the top of their field. By the end of the analysis, companies typically have a roadmap of which people need which types of training and in what order it needs to be completed. A good plan can cover several years of employee development roadmaps.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your TNA
This article covers some of our best unusual tips for getting the most out of your Training Needs Analysis.
The Most Important Steps Are Before You Get Started
This analysis process is no small feat, which is why it’s important to invest the time to do it right. This is not something you want to have to complete again less than a year later—the process takes patience. Depending on the steps you decide to take with your Training Needs Analysis, it can take up to six months or longer to have a definitive plan developed for what next training steps need to be taken.
Understand Company Goals
That’s why one of the most important steps to a Training Needs Analysis happens before the process even begins. That is, make sure you understand what the company goals are for the next three to six years. It’s not always easy for the L&D department to get the ear of the C-suite, but in this case, it’s necessary to understand the company vision so that the training included in the plan can help put the company on the right track.
It’s easy to make assumptions about what a company is going to do next. The reality is, things change fast and the plans the company has for their future may involve drastic changes within the next few years.
An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure
Another important thing to consider is how to prevent skills gaps from forming in the first place. While creating a plan for your Training Needs Analysis, it might also be worth looking into the steps you can take to help your company develop a learning culture. Employees who feel they have the time and support to complete training, and who are motivated to, will do half your job for you. People working on the ground often have the best idea of what they need and what they can expect for the future of their field. Employees these days also already understand that skills growth is key to job security in a world where technology evolves so quickly. A learning culture can make a needs analysis a less frequent task, which is a good thing because it’s time-consuming and difficult.
Talk To Your Highest-Performing Employees
We’ve established that the people on the ground often have the best idea of what kinds of skills and training they need to keep up with the changing world. One of the biggest mistakes companies will make is failing to consult their employees in the process of determining the training gaps. And I’m not talking about middle managers, I’m talking about the employees doing the day-to-day work.
High-performing employees are motivated and skilled, so they likely notice a lot about how the company is currently functioning and are at the top of their field. Interviewing these employees can give you an excellent idea of what skills the company needs more of to maintain a balanced workflow. They may also have ideas as to what people in similar roles at other companies are learning in order to continuously advance their skills.
Hearing from these employees may involve an interview or a survey. Just make sure the survey gives the employees space to comment freely, they are likely to have thoughts that are beyond the imagination of the person who wrote the survey questions.
Get A Third-Party Perspective
Your best employees provide a great in-house perspective, but the perspective of someone who isn’t blinded by being too involved in the day-to-day operations can also have valuable insights. Third-parties who work on Training Needs Analysis have likely looked at the details of how many different companies do things and can provide some unique insights into your skills gap situation.
The third-party perspective can also help you develop a plan for a successful needs analysis. You may only conduct a needs analysis every few years but needs analysis consultants do them constantly. They know how to create a smooth operation that will bring profound results.
See What Employees At Other Companies Can Do
Sure, you don’t know the secrets of your competitors, nor what projects they’re working on. And your company has its own unique vision—you don’t need to copy someone else. But paying attention to what kinds of skills they are hiring for and what kind of training their employees are getting can perhaps spark some inspiration for your Training Needs Analysis.
A networking conference is one of the best environments to learn more about what other companies are doing. This is an environment where people are eager to share what they’re up to and swap tips. Everyone is looking to connect.
Another way to get insight into this is through professional networking sites. People like to keep their skills up to date on these websites, and if you see the people in your field that you admire listing skills that are uncommon at your company, it may be time to pay attention.
All Training Needs Analysis Secrets Have One Thing In Common—Do Your Research
When in doubt, it’s worth it to err on the side of doing in-depth research at each stage of preparing for and completing your Training Needs Analysis. Consulting with the experts will certainly help you do this research and get the most out of this time-consuming process.