Planning for Another Year… How to Plan to Train

April 14, 2015

Many organisations will have plans for the New Year; budgets will have been set, projects and targets will be in place. To ensure that all this preparation and planning is implemented smoothly, it’s important that the personnel are ready too. Training needs exist when there is a gap between what can be done now and what will need to be done in the future and it’s important that these gaps are identified. It’s worth mentioning that this can be true of just an individual too – if you want a new career or position, what will you need to be able to do for that role?

A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is a vital tool in recognising the gaps in knowledge or skills of a team, or in yourself. It’s an invaluable first stage in the process of training and can help to transition staff, reduce the impact of training on the organisation and will help to secure a successful outcome.

For example, if a director decides that everyone will need to work on a new CRM system; a TNA can help to identify who will need training on the new system (probably everyone) but also offers the opportunity to see if anyone needs additional training- are all staff competent in taking information from the existing CRM, or from the sales systems? Does the sales team leader need some training in supervising staff, so that they can oversee the transition? The list is endless…..

Conducting a TNA:

1. What are the required business outcomes?

Training goals should correspond to a business objective and be closely linked to the role being carried out. A clear goal for the training should be set and revisited to ensure that the training needs analysis process keeps the desired outcomes in sight. The goals do not relate to the training, but to what the training is there to achieve – for example:

  • Better customer satisfaction
  • Improved sales figures
  • Reduce the number of incidents within IT services

 2. Link desired business outcomes with employees

Do employees know what to do? Do they have the capacity to do it? Do they also have the motivation to do it? This stage can be quite a lengthy process and involves gathering data; how confident are employees with each part of their role, how important do they think each process is? Do their managers agree? It may be worth using a chart to identify areas for concern.

Employees can be asked to rate how confident and competent they are on a 1 – 5 scale. Their manager can then be asked to rate their performance on the same tasks. A low score from either the manager or the staff member themselves can indicate that there is a training requirement.

3. Use Performance Reviews

The staff member may well be aware of what training they need. Performance reviews can be a great time to highlight gaps in knowledge, but it is also a great time to ask the employee what training and development they feel they need. Staff who have development opportunities often feel more valued and are more likely to remain in that employment. Obviously, training needs to link to the business objectives as set in point 1, there is no point in giving ITSM training to the security guard, but if the training is relevant and required, then why not provide it?!

4. Prioritise the Training Needs

If everyone in a whole departments scores a low number on one or two areas; then that’s probably where the focus needs to be. If none of the staff feel that they have been trained effectively in using a certain process correctly and none feel that they can do it confidently, then correcting this needs to be a priority.

5. Determine the Right Training Methods

It may be that on the job training or mentoring from a colleague is sufficient to supply the missing knowledge. It may require more formal training by way of certification or a recognised course. Businesses will need to factor in the time and cost elements too.

6. Evaluate

Make sure that the training has worked; check performance, check understanding and check to see if any further training is required.

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