IDENTIFY TRAINING NEEDS

Training Needs Analysis (TNA) systematically examines who needs what training in the organisation. This can be identified in two ways: firstly, by looking at individual members of staff and identifying the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required by them to carry out their tasks (task and job analysis); secondly, by looking at organisational changes, for example new legislation or new technology (organisational analysis).

Task and Job Analysis

Task and job analysis is used to identify the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required for a particular task or group of tasks that make up a particular job. In simple terms, the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to carry out the job or tasks are listed and then compared with what those doing, or planning to do, the job have. The objective is to identify the gap between the two – the training gap.

Methods

There are a number of methods that can be used in task and job analysis.

• Interviews with staff: these can be specific to the TNA or can be part of an appraisal system.

• Group discussions or interviews: useful as a starter or to get a group to understand the process of TNA. These will show common trends but not very accurate material about individuals within the group.

• Discussions with: managers;

customers or clients; related departments.

This can be a general discussion or specific interviews.

• Analysis of faults or complaints.

• Tests of specific skills or procedures.

• Questionnaires instead of interviews where the numbers are too large or the staff not easy to access.

• Observation at the work place.

There are important considerations in choosing the most appropriate methods.

1. Don’t assume that the people involved understand the process. It may be the first time they have been asked about their training needs.

2. Inform all levels of the organisation about the process, and enlist their support.

3. Use more than one method, as errors can occur through bias in a particular method. For instance, the influence of the observer in the work place or a leading question in the interview. Compare the material from both methods to get the best results.

4. In choosing methods and designing material to be used, for instance questionnaires, interview sheets, etc., be aware of cultural, gender, or systems bias.

Organisational Analysis

Organisational analysis identifies changes or developments that will create training needs for the whole or parts of the organisation.

Some areas that should be considered are:

• New, or changes to, legislation;

• Policy changes;

• Restructuring or reorganisation;

• Redundancies;

Recruitment;

• New technology;

• Changes in the social climate the organisation works in;

• Changes in the client group;

• Changes in political control;

• Changes in management;

• Changes in funding sources.

The main difference between this and the previous form of TNA is that these changes can usually be anticipated and the training needs identified before there is any effect on the organisation. Once the area of potential training need is identified, an analysis of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required will provide the information needed for preparing the training plan.