how to conduct a training needs analysis
Employee Training
Learning & Development
August 1, 2022

How to conduct a training needs analysis: definitions, benefits and step-by-step instructions

Most companies recognise the importance of employee training and want to dive right in. Unfortunately, this means some end up running before they can walk. In order to understand how to implement effective and impactful training, you first need to understand what the training needs to look like. 

Conducting a training needs analysis is the first step to developing a successful training programme. But what is a training needs analysis? And how can you conduct one? Let’s take a look.


  • What is a training needs analysis?

    • Organisational needs

    • Team needs

    • Individual needs

  • The benefits of a training needs analysis

    • Identifying problem areas

    • Ensuring your training is focused on the right areas

    • Increasing the ROI of training efforts

  • How to conduct a training needs assessment

    • Determine the desired results

    • Define learning competencies

    • Decide how to train

    • Prioritise your learning

    • Plan for learning evaluation

  • Sources of support for learning and development

What is a training needs analysis?

A training needs analysis is a training and development assessment. Companies conduct a needs analysis to find out what knowledge, skills and abilities staff need in order to do their jobs more successfully.

You can conduct a training needs analysis on a number of different company levels:

1. Organisational needs

Here you assess your skills mix at an organisational level. What company-wide learning and development would help you to achieve your organisational goals?

2. Team needs

What are individual teams trying to accomplish? At this level, you analyse the skills, abilities and knowledge of a team in relation to its goals.

3. Individual needs

To maximise the potential of every member of staff, you need to develop an effective L&D plan. An individual needs analysis will help you find out which employee goals align with the goals of your company — and how you can support them to achieve them through appropriate training.

The benefits of a training needs analysis

So why should a company invest time and effort in conducting a training and development needs analysis? There are a number of key benefits you get from accurately assessing learning needs.

Identifying problem areas

When you conduct a needs analysis, you find out where you are in relation to where you want to be. You then get a better idea of what learning and development will help you to close that gap.

You find out what skills, abilities and knowledge you need to develop, and also which areas and departments within your organisation have the most pressing learning and development needs.

A thorough assessment of training needs can also prevent problems from arising in the first place. You have the insight you need to identify and fill skills gaps before they start affecting the company.

Ensuring your training is focused on the right areas

By assessing learning needs, you establish which aspects of your existing L&D programme are useful — and which aren’t actually helping you to achieve organisational goals.

Perhaps your employees have had enough training in a particular area. Maybe there’s an important area of training that you’ve previously overlooked.

When you analyse rather than assume, you get to know exactly which training and courses stand to benefit the company and your employees.

Increasing the ROI of training efforts

Training and development initiatives are expensive. According to 2020 government figures, UK employers spend around £42 billion annually on training. Yes, billion. That’s around £1,530 per employee, per year.

When there’s so much investment at stake, you want to know that you’re getting your money’s worth. And this is something else that an assessment of training needs can help with.

By ensuring that your L&D is properly aligned with both skills gaps and company objectives, you get a better ROI on your training programme.

How to conduct a training needs assessment

So how do you go about analysing training needs? Take a look at this training needs analysis model.

1. Determine the desired results

These are the goals you want to achieve. You’ll adapt these objectives depending upon the level of your training needs analysis — organisational, team or individual.

However, remember that all training objectives have to align with overarching organisational goals. Team and individual objectives need to support the future ambitions of your company.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Improve customer satisfaction ratings

  • Improve team motivation

  • Reduce the time it takes to fulfil orders

2. Define learning competencies

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you can start to link skills, abilities and knowledge to your objectives.

What competencies do you need at an individual, team or organisational level — and how well-developed are those competencies at this current moment in time?

Surveys, questionnaires, interviews and tests can help you to determine where employee competencies lie and where training is required.  

3. Decide how to train

What competencies to train

Some competencies are difficult to teach.

For example, you may want your sales team to be extroverted and outgoing. But no amount of training will turn a shy employee into an uber-confident salesperson.

To make training as effective as it can be, focus on developing the skills, abilities and knowledge that can be developed and that have a direct link to company goals.  

Who to train

Some employees will need more training than others. By identifying performance gaps and setting acceptable performance levels, you can work out which employees to put forward for L&D programmes.

How to train

Tailored training is much more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach. You might like to employ any of the following training methods:

  • On-the-job training

  • Mentoring and coaching

  • Conferences

  • Instructor-led training

  • One-on-one or team training

  • Web-based training

4. Prioritise your learning

You can’t tackle all of your L&D ambitions at once. So work out which are the most important competencies for your business right now. Then prioritise learning in these areas.

5. Plan for learning evaluation

Analysis doesn’t end when you implement a new training programme. To make your L&D efforts as effective as they can be, you need to understand that your training results will also be in need of analysis.

As part of the learning evaluation process, you need to ascertain just how successful training has been in developing competencies and supporting business objectives.

Based upon your findings, you can adapt your training programmes, and introduce new ones too.

Sources of support for learning and development

By following the training needs analysis model above, you can craft an effective learning and development programme and simply the process of training.

But to ensure success, you need two additional elements:

  • The right learning materials

  • Employee motivation

My Learning Hub can help with both.

Our learning management platform provides organisations with an extensive library of learning materials and intelligent content recommendations.

It also employs a bottom-up learning model. Employees are encouraged to follow a personalised learning pathway and are able to access engaging learning materials at a click.

Want to see how My Learning Hub could improve L&D for your organisation? Sign up for a free trial today.

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