Training Needs Analysis (TNA)

Many businesses fail to recognise the value of training to improve competitiveness.

The training effort in many organisations is often wasted as a result of poor (or non-existent) needs assessment.  Surveys of Australian businesses reveal around 40% of organisations have no formal training schemes and around 32% have no formal instruction to develop skills.  These statistics reveal a lack of recognition of the role human resource development (HRD) plays in the success of an organisation, or the lack of wanting to invest in training.

The TNA Process

A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is a process by which an organisation’s HRD needs are identified and articulated.  The process can identify:

  • An organisation’s goals and its effectiveness in reaching these goals
  • Discrepancies or gaps between an employee’s skills and the skills required for effective current job performance
  • Discrepancies or gaps between an employee’s skills and the skills needed to perform the job successfully in the future
  • The conditions under which the HRD activity will occur.

Ultimately, the TNA will identify needs which require addressing in some way.  It not only provides clear direction for identifying training needs, but also helps to evaluate how effective previous training programmes have been.  The two outcomes are a training need and a non-training need.

A Training Need reveals a performance gap, and the gap can be filled with training.  It exists when the employee does not know how to do the job – it is a lack of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

A Non-Training Need reveals a gap, however this gap cannot be filled (or fixed) with training.  It might encompass workflow, recruitment, or job design.  Employees know how to do the job, but something else affects their performance.

McGhee and Thayer’s Three-Level Analysis

While several different approaches can be used to identify the training needs of an organisation, McGhee and Thayer’s Three-Level Analysis is the most commonly used.

training needs analysis

The model provides a systematic means of conducting a TNA at three levels: organisational, operational (or task), and individual (or person).  The levels of analysis are a hierachy which descends from the organisational level to the personal level.  At the same time as you descend the hierachy, you also move to a more micro focus in the organisation.

The data gathered from a TNA is the basis for a sound argument to link training to the organisation’s strategic intent, as well as to gain support from management, and for organisational commitment at all levels.  If this sounds like it would benefit you and your organisation, contact us today.