Training your staff

How to identify staff training needs


To identify training that matches the specific needs of your staff and business goals you can carry out a training needs analysis (TNA).

Training needs analysis is a method used by businesses to identify training requirements in a cost efficient way. This process involves evaluating training needs and weighing up training priority areas at all levels within a business. Training needs analysis forms the first step of the training development cycle:

Training development cycle

What are the stages of training needs analysis?

There are three key stages of training needs analysis. These involve identifying the direction of the organisation, understanding the skills and knowledge of staff through a task analysis, and analysing the individual needs of each employee. These three stages of training needs analysis are explained in more detail below:

1) Organisational needs - this step evaluates the overall training needs in the business. This is where you analyse future skills needs due to changes in products, equipment, technology, teams or in response to economic or political factors. Upcoming changes in law or industry standards may also influence the training needs for your business. Practical ways of identifying organisational needs is by reviewing documents, processes, setting up advisory teams and carrying out a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths) analysis - our SWOT analysis template will help you get started:

2) Task analysis - at this level you compare the job requirements of your business with existing employee skills and knowledge. This will help you to identify the potential gaps. Here you establish how often specific tasks are performed, the level of skill and knowledge required to perform these tasks and where and how these skills are best acquired. Practical ways of carrying out this analysis is to create assessment centres, tests or practical observations of employees carrying out key tasks.

3) Individual needs - at this stage, you examine the training needs of each employee. This information is most often gathered from performance reviews and appraisal systems. You may seek feedback from employees on their recommendations on how to solve problems that may be hampering their day-to-day job. Other practical ways of identifying individual training requirements for your employees is through surveys, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.

Support to help your business with training needs analysis

Invest Northern Ireland offers help and advice to local businesses on upskilling their workforce. The training needs analysis workshops give you an insight into the tools and techniques used by learning and development professionals to analyse training needs.

Training needs analysis tutorial videos

The embedded video below is an introduction to a tutorial on training needs analysis. You can view the full Invest NI training needs analysis tutorial.