Understanding The Importance Of Training Needs Analysis

Everyone recognizes the importance of training in improving the quality and productivity of our workforce. Unfortunately, training is often done in a haphazard manner. There must be a systematic way of knowing where to allocate our limited training budget to the areas that need improvement the most.
Training needs analysis (TNA) addresses the problem of methodically discerning the actual gaps in the needed skills of the work force. Here are some of the commonly used procedures and methods utilized in TNA:
Establishing the objectives. Some of the things that will set the parameters here are the budget for the training, and the present and future plans of the company in relationship to their manpower skills requirements. It is essential to set objectives in order to know how effective the training is.
Review current and past training programs. It is imperative to check what current training activities are being implemented in order to have coordination and to avoid duplication of efforts. Reviewing past performance must be done to learn about their strengths and weaknesses in order to make the current program more effective.
Analyzing job functions. It would be foolish to look for something that is not related to the job description of the person. You would not consider a lack of accounting skills in a person who is just limited to keeping the office clean. Still, these are points that must be carefully probed because what is written may not exactly match the actual job function. Even tasks written in the job description may need to be clarified. In this stage, preliminary observations may be made.
Categorizing the types of training needed. For best results, training should be adapted to the type of training needs. One way to do this is by examining the individual, occupation, and organizational level capabilities and needs. For example, technical training may mean just enough concepts to enable management to communicate regarding the matter, but it may also mean teaching in sufficient detail to enable a worker to do the actual task.
Design and implementation of training needs survey. You must know how to go about the process of gathering relevant information. The correct survey questions are critical, as well as the manner of obtaining the data. There are cases that need a personal interview and instances where filling up a form will do. Even in the case of personal interviews, you would have to decide if it would be one-on-one or with a group. Analysing the data gathered and making conclusions. The process of interpreting the results of the surveys and interviews entails at least some knowledge of the skill to assess if there is indeed a need for improvement.
Communicating the results to higher management. In many cases, the conclusions must be presented in the proper format so that higher management can more easily grasp the correctness and importance of the suggestions. This is crucial to have the program approved. Training needs analysis is the first step in starting an effective training program.
To know more about this topic, BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts a seminar entitled, “Training Needs Analysis.” Contact (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit www.businesscoachphil.com for details.
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*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, May 5, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.