July 30, 2019

Introducing Training Needs Analysis into Learning Content Process

Well-trained employees are valuable assets to any organization. They help in contributing to the success by achieving the set business goals. When equipped with the right learning content, employees can build the right competencies and capabilities to increase individual and organizational performance. However, on the flipside, if irrelevant learning content is assigned for consumption, the employees might feel unmotivated or discouraged and soon lose interest in consuming any further learning content that clearly misses the mark.

According to a 2015 ATD research study, only 38% of managers believe that their learning programs meet their learner’s needs.

So, what can an organization do to avoid being in such a scenario? Conducting Training Needs Analysis efficiently answers this vital question. Training Needs Analysis when done right can do wonders for the employees and in turn the business. An insightful outcome from conducting a Training Needs Analysis efficiently is that it provides stakeholders with clear indicators to make buy/build/partner decisions—buy of-the-shelf learning content or build custom learning content with the help of internal resources, or partner with external vendors who can provide a range of learning content.

Here are five considerations to conduct an effective Training Needs Analysis:

Identify competencies necessary to achieve business objectives

New and disruptive technologies that are being introduced on a regular basis. To adapt and respond to the change, organizations are required to identify a set of core competencies that employees need to possess in order to drive business strategies. By deploying automated workflow applications, organizations can identify high-level core competency themes such as leadership, innovation, creativity, technical expertise, delivery, communication, and a customer-oriented focus, all of which reflect strategic business goals. Identifying competencies efficiently ensures that the organization is on the right track to achieve its business goals.

Evaluate employees’ current skills/knowledge based on the identified competencies

Once the core competencies are identified, different automated evaluations techniques such online assessments, surveys, and so on can be used to identify the skills/knowledge gaps within specific roles. The skills gap analysis provides a clear picture of the variance between the existing and the required skill levels. This serves as a precursor to identify the best training strategies to close the gap in order to enhance employee skills and upgrade existing knowledge to perform better.

Develop an Individual Development Plan

The outcome of compiling and analyzing the skills gap is aligning training activities to specific competencies. This can be done at a granular level by generating an Individual Development Plan (IDP). An IDP is an essential component of an automated workflow for assigning the right learning content. However, many organizations view the IDP creation as an optional step as they do not want to invest in being so structured about their training initiatives. On the other hand, the benefits of constructing an IDP can’t be sidelined. For the employees, it provides a structured approach to advance learning experiences designed to acquire or upgrade competencies and skills deemed crucial for their role. For the Managers, it provides visibility to track the employee development progress.

Check training availability

The data generated by automating the process for identifying competencies and skill gaps sheds light on two important aspects. First, it provides the training and development roadmap to be created for the employees through an IDP. Second, it assists in the training build/buy prioritization. That is, to make a conclusive decision after mapping the learning content requirements with the current content availability within the organization’s repository. Based on the findings, either internal resources can be pulled in to custom develop the learning content or off-the-shelf content from the vendor libraries can be bought. The automated process of identifying competencies and skill gaps when done continuously can generate live reports and provide visibility of the direction for training spends.

Evaluate the results of training

Once the training is delivered, it’s important to know how effective the training was or how well the employees received the training. Evaluating training effectiveness is the last piece of the puzzle that helps improve upon learning content.
Information collected post the evaluation can be used to refine learning outcomes, eliminate irrelevant training content, improve the quality of existing content, and ensure that the training is aligned to the organization’s business objectives. These aspects improve the build/buy decision making of the learning content even further.

Through an efficient Training Needs Analysis, an organization can create effective and relevant learning content. It can receive valuable insights along with concrete information to identify the training needs and gaps within the workforce. Conducting a Training Needs Analysis efficiently need not be a cumbersome process. Automation can help streamline the process workflow right from gathering information of the employees’ learning needs to implement the training.