Importance of Training Needs Assessment in enterprises

In Mexico, training is an employer’s obligation, according to the federal labour law. But more than a law, today it is a necessity: companies and their employees are not the same as they used to be, especially in a context marked by demands and competitiveness. And this requires proper training.

In this scenario, it is necessary to strengthen employee training as part of a strategic educational process that allows for workers with a high level of skills and abilities.

For this it is necessary to apply Training Needs Assessment as part of the essential strategies to achieve this. In this article we explain what, why it is so important for companies and how to identify the main training needs of employees.


What is training needs assessment?

Training Needs Assessment (TNA) is a methodology for identifying the training and development needs of an organisation’s employees. 

In a way, it is the first step in the implementation of employee training, and allows to discover which skills, knowledge or attitudes are needed to improve the efficiency, quality and results of a company or organisation.


Training Needs Assessment Objectives

While there are several objectives of the Training Needs Assessment, we will list some of the main ones that make clear the importance of Training Needs Assessment:

  1. Provide opportunities for the continued development of employees, either in their current roles or in other functions.
  2. Generate a good working environment and increase employee motivation.
  3. Determine a company’s problem situations as well as identify the associated symptoms and investigate their causes.
  4. Enable the creation of an action plan and thus organise the Training Needs Assessment.
  5. Carry out an analysis comparing (with their respective differences) what should be done or happen with what is actually done or happened.


Importance and Benefits of Training Needs Assessment

The importance and benefits of Training Needs Assessment are varied. If we talk about its importance, we can mention certain points, such as that it provides key information to plan, develop and successfully implement training programmes and, in turn, allows companies to channel resources to the areas that will contribute most to the development of workers, which improves organisational performance. 

In terms of benefits, some of them are:

  • It makes it possible to identify the training needs of companies.
  • To reduce gaps in staff knowledge, skills and attitudes.
  • It offers a tailor-made development programme for each employee.
  • It enables employees to strengthen their knowledge and skills and thus increase their productivity.
  • It increases employee satisfaction and motivation, as they see that the company is committed to their personal and professional development.


How to identify that a company needs to do Training Needs Assessment

We said that training an organisation’s personnel is fundamental for the growth of both the company and those who make it up. But how do we know if a company really needs a Training Needs Assessment?

An organisation needs to do a Training Needs Assessment when there is a gap between the expected performance versus the actual performance, and if this gap is due to the skills or knowledge of those who make up the company, the difference between the desired and the actual performance is what will mark the need for training. The difference between the desired and the actual performance is what will determine the need for training, but not before considering that training is only one more axis to solve the problem. What does this mean? That training is only one part of the problem, and it would be necessary to detect what other factors are involved in order to know whether training can effectively solve the problem or whether more strategies are needed.)


Training needs assessment within the company

In order not to waste time and resources, it is important to assess the training needs of the company.

This can be done by various means, such as reviewing performance data, interviewing employees or conducting focus groups, for example.  Employees should also be observed to identify areas or aspects where there are difficulties that need to be addressed.

This should take into consideration the objectives of the company as well as the needs and learning styles of the employees. Then, a plan for implementing the training should be developed, which should consider a timetable, budget and key objectives.


The 3 levels of analysis for Training Needs Assessment

Based primarily on whether there is a skills gap, which is central to the question of whether to apply Training Needs Assessment, a Three Level Analysis (coined by McGhee and Thayer, 1961) can be performed:

  • Organisational: Addresses the problems and weaknesses of the organisation as a whole. This level aims to further improve the current competencies and strengths of the company.
  • Operational: Determines what is required from a particular area of the business to drive an operation forward. Identifies specific training to improve the skills of a team, department or business unit.
  • Individual: As the word suggests, this is an analysis of the training needs at the individual employee level. Here the difference between the actual and expected performance of an employee is identified.


Forms of training

There are various forms of employee training. In the following we will concentrate on 3 of them:

  • Organisational training: This involves understanding the company as a whole and, with this in mind, planning a training programme that can take the form of seminars, lectures or workshops. The aim is that all members of the company acquire useful knowledge for their daily work.
  • Motivational training: This consists of motivating workers precisely when they need it most, for example, in times of discouragement and demotivation. This may be due to factors related to problems with other colleagues or bosses, monotony at work, low identification with their business role and little prospect of growth or lack of future plans. This allows the application of certain approaches to boost employee motivation, such as working on practical cases, improving employee appraisal policies, covering the areas of greatest disinterest and implementing a plan of benefits and rewards for productivity.
  • Leadership training: This type of training is designed for those who fulfil leadership functions within the organisation, and whose role involves not only knowing how to lead a project, but who must also act as mediators, motivators and know how to make complex decisions involving several people, focusing above all on people management, conflict management and critical thinking.


How to carry out a proper Training Needs Assessment

Knowing what the key points are for a correct Training Needs Assessment is of vital importance for the success of this process. We can summarise it in a few steps: 

1- Determine the desired outcome

2- Identify the competencies that drive the desired outcomes

3- Knowing which competencies can be trained

4- Evaluate the competencies that currently exist in the staff.

5- Being clear about performance gaps

6- Prioritising training needs


Thus, achieving a correct Training Needs Detection becomes relevant for the growth of a company and its employees, as it brings several benefits for everyone. If you wish to do so, you can count on Kilpatrick and the HR services that will help you to achieve it successfully.