Are training needs analysis still required?

By Adrian Harvey

Training Needs Analysis, or TNA as it is known in the trade, is the process of assessing what training is required in any given function.

In a company’s learning and development plan, individual knowledge profiling would be the optimal theoretical process in order to compare against an ideal required target, dependent on job role.

By carrying out a department analysis the L&D function could highlight the greatest systemic areas of weakness and then work with the functional leaders to force rank the respective results to best match the greatest operational requirement/benefit. These lead indicators can, if necessary, be cross-correlated with the lagging indicators already available to the employer, i.e. the output measures for that job profile.

For example, if after conducting a TNA it is assessed that the customer service staff in Site A have low knowledge of the complaints process and the scorecard for the Customer service function shows that complaints closure and CSAT measures for complaint handling is poor, then the lead and lag indicators correlate and training is almost certainly required.

Conducted in this way the L&D function can ensure that every penny of training is specifically targeted at the areas of greatest benefit and training is entirely focussed on an employee-by-employee basis.

Although the theory sounds great, historically firms large and small have struggled with TNA and have wholeheartedly failed at employee specific, “benefit ranked TNA”. The practical realities of life in modern business mean that employers simply don’t have the time to even attempt the optimal TNA model and instead end up settling for either some form of sampling, possibly combined with an incomplete analysis of scorecards and lag indicators. In any event the process is rarely precise and almost never at an individual employee level.

Why the focus on individual employee TNA? Well in every business I know individual employees affect the performance of the enterprise, and so management need to know what they have been trained in. Assuming that all employees are at the same level is likely to irritate the subject matter experts who may become disruptive in any re-training and conversely, under-train the employees with the very lowest levels of understanding and knowledge. In reality the one-size fits all TNA actually suits very few employees and is an expensive and ineffective use of time and resources.

Clever Nelly from Elephants don’t forget is a continual assessment engine that uses less than 1 minute 30 seconds per day to conduct a continual training needs analysis of each and every individual member of a workforce. She delivers constantly updated, precise, factual knowledge profiles of each employee relative to their role function and does so just as easily and effectively for office and mobile workers. Because she uses so little time, there is a zero negative impact on employee availability to work and the process is not resented by employees.

Best of all, Clever Nelly not only provides 100% accurate and continual individual employee TNA, she also works gently with each individual employee to fix the gaps; and guarantee that every employee learns and retains what they have been trained.

TNA is important and needs to be at an individual employee level, but it is not good at identifying where each and every employee’s knowledge gaps are, these gaps need repairing and employee knowledge needs retaining. Only Clever Nelly from Elephants don’t forget guarantees this outcome and does so gently, unobtrusively and with no negative impact on employee availability for work.

Contact the team by phone on 0845 60 60454, or email the lady herself: