TNA and the mechanic – more in common than you’d think

By Adrian Harvey

When your car doesn’t work properly the mechanic needs to identify/diagnose the problem before he can fix it. If he misdiagnoses the problem then he fails to fix it, wasting his time and your money. The same goes for  Training Needs Analysis (TNA). Get the TNA wrong and you might as well not bother doing the training. You would, however, be surprised at how many firms simply rely on very flimsy data (if any) when determining the training needs of their business. The consequence goes way beyond wasting precious L&D Euros, we must also consider how employees feel being supplied with training that simply doesn’t match their first hand experience of what training is required. So get TNA wrong and we waste money and alienate the workforce. Stop guessing and stop making it up.

We get asked all the time what are the top 3 methods, what are the top 5 ways to get accurate TNA. Let’s not waste anyone’s time, the ONLY way to get accurate TNA is to have it evidence based, end of. I am sure your ‘opinion’ is important but in the world of accuracy and evidence it has no place. Just do what the mechanic does and test your employees – find out what they know and what they don’t know and train them to fill the gaps, it’s not rocket science.

The trouble is people aren’t cars, they have feelings and opinions and generally hate being tested! They also hate receiving training when they don’t need it and management really dislike releasing employees to be trained in areas they perceive are not required.

On the basis that you have, at some point in the past, trained your employees in what you need them to know, you are then talking about ‘re-training’ what they have forgotten and failed to learn. Or perhaps,  you know you haven’t trained them in something and therefore it isn’t an issue of TNA, it’s an issue of ABC – just train them on the new stuff.

The really neat answer is to do real time TNA by continual testing and re-training. We use an Artificially Intelligent application called Clever Nelly, whose home is in Dublin, that gently assesses/tests what you actually know and what you don’t and simultaneously re-examines you on what you personally have failed to learn. Or, if the ‘knowledge gaps’ are big enough, automatically tees you up for re-training in that subject matter.

Evidence based, focused on the individual and takes less than 1 minute 30 seconds a day.