Training Needs Analysis (TNA)
Training Needs Analysis is a formal, systematic process of identifying and evaluating training that should be done, or specific needs of an individual or group of employees, customers, suppliers, etc. Needs are often referred to as “gaps,” or the difference between what is currently done and what should be performed.
All too often a TNA will involve the collection of data around the number of users in specific job roles and mapping that to system roles. From that Users are allocated to training courses. This misses the point of a good TNA by a long way. Gathering an understanding of the types of users in the groups assembled in your TNA is critical to producing a meaningful and successful training programme. Examples of areas to be considering:
- The Learning Culture in the Organisation and the teams in question.
- The success or otherwise of previous training programmes both large and small scale.
- What systems are currently in use, how well accepted they are and what training is given to new users of them.
- Organisational and departmental experience of and attitude to assessed learning.
- Geographical distributions of staff and work time patterns.
- Likely time availability of trainees, both on block and over a period.
- A sense of how the team might fit into the learning bell curve.
Once you have the full picture of the teams, you can start to assemble a structured training programme to present in the next activity.
For end-user training to achieve the desired effect, all levels of the organisation must be fully supportive of the approach. This is important not only to ensure a positive attitude to the training but also to ensure that a peer centred training approach has the full support of management in terms of time required and impact on their team.
This will rely on two factors; the suitability of the solution and the effectiveness with which it is communicated to the business. The first of these will come from the TNA above, especially the extended information regarding the nature of the users, training culture etc.
Once an outline proposal has been produced, it should be presented as a consultative document, giving management, team leaders and other influential parties an opportunity to raise any valid issues or questions. It is vital that any questions raised are addressed. This does not mean compromising the approach, but you should be prepared to accommodate reasonable requests and mitigate any obvious sticking points. Remember, one dissenting voice in a position of influence can seriously impact the effectiveness of the whole training programme. You should also note that those in a position to influence the organisation are not always in senior positions in the organisation. It is important to identify these individuals and cultivate their support as early as possible.
Once the engagement of the stakeholder is agreed upon, a communications strategy needs to be adopted.