Training needs assessment program has become the need of training process. Most of the times, keeping an accurate track of current and required skill and knowledge levels of the trainee is quite important, especially when it comes to costs for the one who is organizing the training. Since that’s what on the basis of which the training plan is based and the same thing determines the general content and difficulty level of the training. Moreover on the way, it is also important to note that whether the training has been delivered as expected or not. Well! That’s all, one can expect to do during the process of training needs assessment or better known as TNA.
Training Needs Assessment Steps
- Needs and Problems Identification
It’s pretty obvious that whenever one starts something important, he tries his best for making accurate identifications of what he needs desperately or what’s the thing that causing him problems. The same goes for the training needs assessment process.
Those problems can be the difference between the expectations of the organization from its productivity and the reality, or desired performance by the employees and the current performance levels, or even skills and competencies differences. Just whatever it is, it is important to define it in the words that are as close to it as possible.
- Determining Design for Needs Analysis
The second and one of the most important steps of the training needs assessment process involves the subject to identify the target group on which this training will be targeted. Furthermore, it also requires one to plan ahead by making a choice for a suitable survey method as well as scheduling the process. Moreover, the interviewees attending the process are also selected in this step. These points are what which determine that whether it is time to move a step ahead from the previous training course, if there was one or can the present needs be fulfilled by the course that’s currently running.
For the purpose, a training report is created which contains all the details about the points mentioned above along with some other important information like training importance, training subject (or subjects), time requirement, potential target group, current target group, required training frequency and expected results.
- Data Collection
Data collection is the third step of the training needs assessment process. Just as expected, this step consumes a huge amount of time and is quite tiring one. But its capability of being a cornerstone of nearly all of the TNA’s is what that keeps ones moving ahead.
There are various methods for the purpose of gathering information like surveys, individual interviews, focus groups, discussions and reviewing existing documents, where each method plays its own role. But depending on the target group and the training requirements, it might also be useful if one uses a combination of data collection methods, at a time.
- Analyzing Data
In the fourth step of the process of training needs assessment, the training manager is expected to work in coordination with the management for training prioritization depending upon the extent of the need of the training or the urgency of the need. This step is based on the assumption that more than one needs, can be identified by the TNA. This information proves itself to be worthy by being the basis of further instruction objectives for the development program and training.
Methods for Needs Assessment
Just as its name suggests, this technique requires one to observe the target group and to generate data that is relevant to the working experience and work environment. And that’s what makes it quite an advantageous technique for the purpose of. Moreover, it minimizes the interruption in the work, since it requires nothing to do with the employee, so he can work without any disturbance. But on the other hand, it is also possible that the employee’s behavior might alter if he knows that someone is observing him, so it needs a highly skilled person for the job.
Questionnaires are quite an inexpensive way for gathering information from a large group of people at a time. In this technique, the target group is supplied with some questions and each member answers them according to his own mindset, which means there is no compulsion for the trainer or someone else to meet the members of target group face to face. Furthermore, the data gathered by this method can be summarized easily.
On the contrary, they lack details to any particular instance mentioned in the questionnaires, since the target group is supposed to directly answer the question. Moreover, there is also a possibility of inappropriate responses as a response or the data may not be in parallel to the members’ actual behavior. They require much time but have lower return rates as compared to the observational techniques.
Interviews lie in a totally opposite realm as that of questionnaires. This method involves live questioning and answering between groups, the interviewers, and the interviewees. So, this means that the questions can be created or modified at the spot depending upon the response of the interviewees. And this can uncover pretty many details about the causes and needs of training as well as exploring any unanticipated issues that may become a problem later on.
High time consumption is what, which makes the method difficult for one, to pursue. Due to extreme differences in the mindsets of the members of the target groups and their responses, it is highly difficult for one to analyze and classify the data in the form of certain groups. Moreover, it requires great skills to skim the responses.
- Focus Groups
Making use of focus groups is the perfect option for the situations with controversial or complex issues where there just one person may not be able to respond to the method effectively. In the case of any anticipation during the implementation of the technique for training needs assessment, questions can be modified for the purpose to be covered successfully. Despite all its good points, what makes it difficult for one to approach this method is organization difficulties, which renders the process to be slow.