How to do an Effective Training Needs Analysis to Bridge Skill Gaps


The growth and success of an organization depends on the performance of the employees, which depends upon their skills. Hence, it is important to invest in employee development to improve their efficiency, productivity, and quality of work. However, some of the employees could be lacking some skills.

In such a scenario, reskilling and up-skilling of employees becomes essential for organizations to achieve their business goals.


In one of our earlier blogs, “How to Build and Deploy an Effective Skill-Based Training Program for Your Organization”, we have discussed the need of reskilling and up-skilling in organizations. One of the key steps to bridge the skill gaps is to be thorough with the training needs analysis (TNA). In this blog, we will take a deep dive into the TNA to find out how TNA helps bridge the skill gaps.


What is Training Needs Analysis (TNA)?

At the corporate workplace, training needs of employees is met by training them to bridge their skill gaps. Identifying training needs is not a quick and easy task. It takes a lot of effort to first understand the skills that are required for specific job roles. Then it takes time to find out where the gaps are and figure out steps to close the gaps. Analyzing the information about the skill gaps leads us to get a clear focus on the training needs. This information is then used to plan and deploy training that can bridge the skill gaps.


Training Need Analysis is important because it provides a clear picture of the required skills that the employees need to perform their job roles effectively. It also points out the skill gaps if any. Based on this analysis, structured learning paths can be defined for the employees. This reduces the possibility of ineffective training plans based on random information leading to wastage of time, effort, and money.


How to Conduct a TNA?

Training Needs Analysis includes three major tasks - Training Needs Identification (TNI), Compilation of TNI data, and estimation of training cost and Return of Investment (ROI). Let us look into each of these tasks in detail.


TNA Tasks


Training Needs Identification (TNI)

This task mainly collects information related to:

  • Skills required for every Role Job Description (RJD) along with the skill level

  • Actual skill levels of every employee against the required levels

  • Gaps between the required and actual skill levels

TNI information can be collected from multiple sources. Here’s the list of the main sources:



1. Organizational Goals/ Objectives

The topmost priority of TNI is to align the training needs to the organization’s goals and objectives. If the organization’s goal is to be in the list of top 5 eLearning service providers, then the training focus must be on the skills that are required to achieve that goal. Examples of skills requirements in this case could be training employees to use rapid eLearning course-authoring tools like Storyline Rise, sessions on tech like Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality, creating game-based learning solutions, LMS and LXP expertise etc.


2. Individual Role Job Description (RJD)

The next important step is to define the key roles and responsibilities. Here, the key role-holders are the customer-facing front-liners. Lack of clarity in the responsibilities leads to confusion regarding the required skills for that role. Eventually, the skill gaps cannot be identified and a training based on assumption deals with a lot of backlashes. Shown below is a sample of the RJD of a Project Manager. The list of responsibilities includes a lot more than shown here, yet this one is to indicate the manner in which the responsibilities can be defined.

Role

Project Manager

Experience

5+ years in the role of a project manager

Responsibilities

  • Use relevant project management tools/ methods

  • Manage multiple projects

  • Coordinate with internal and outsourced teams

  • Complete projects within the estimated scope, time, and budget

  • Create, track, and manage changes in project plans showing the schedules, progress, resource allocation, and project costs

  • Define, measure, and analyze performance metrics

  • Attend client meetings and maintain client relationships

At this point, a skill matrix can be defined showing the required skill levels as shown below:


Skill Matrix


Skill level ratings can be defined as - (1) Beginner, needs hand-holding (2) Has little experience, needs mentoring (3) Can manage assignments, needs feedback (4) Can work independently and lead a team (5) Expert, can help/ train/ mentor others or lead multiple teams.


3. Supervisor Feedback

Supervisor or the reporting manager is the one who reviews the work done by the reportees and understands exactly where they need to improve. The actual skill level of the employees can be tracked by using the feedback on their performance from the supervisors.


4. Customer Feedback

Employee performance ultimately results in the deliverables that are sent to the customers, hence the feedback from customers on what they receive, is an important source of information on employee skills.


5. Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisal is a process of evaluating an employee's performance level in the workplace against the expected or pre-defined level. Ideally, an effective performance appraisal result can provide the required information regarding the current skill levels for the employee’s current job role.


Based on the information gathered from the last three sources, the skill matrix can be updated with actual skill level ratings as shown below:

Updated Skill Matrix


Here, we get a clear indication of the skill gaps in the ratings (required vs. actual).

To know more about the skill matrix, click here.


Compilation of TNI

After completing the updation of the skill matrix for all role-holders, the next step will be to compile those in a manner that results in the training requirements. For example, if the skill matrix for all project managers are compiled, then based on the gaps, training on specific skills such as Risk Management, Budgeting, Project Management, etc. can be planned. Shown below, a sample of the compilation outcome.

The compiled TNI can then be used to create a training plan.


Estimation of Return of Investment (ROI)

Training is a costly investment on employees and unless it is tied with the expected Return of Investment, it will remain as a cost. Shown below the steps to do an ROI analysis for training.

  • Identify outcomes of employee training (Tangible and Intangible)

  • Attach a monetary value to the outcomes and calculate ROI

  • Collect relevant training data (pre and post)

  • Analyze the data and plot the trends (cost vs ROI)


Conclusion

In this blog, we have discussed the process of Training Needs Analysis in detail. We have seen that without a skill matrix with required and actual skill level ratings, it is difficult to get a clear TNA outcome that can drive the training management activities in an organization.


At S4Carlisle, we help customers develop an end-to-end employee learning environment suitable for their organizational needs. We do this with a clear and transparent training needs analysis. If you would like to engage our experts in conducting a TNA for your organization and design a relevant structured eLearning program, please write to us at sales@s4carlisle.com.