Training Needs Assessment – an Overview

Are you planning to organize a training program at your organization? Do you want to make it effective as well as efficient? Then, you need to start the training program with a needs assessment.

What is training needs assessment?

Training needs assessment is done to determine the areas of knowledge & behaviors that require focus through the training to fill the gap in the learners’ skills. In other words, the assessment process acts as a diagnostic tool to find out the training needs which are vital for individuals and organization in accomplishing their goals. The assessment involves inspecting the skills, knowledge, and abilities of the employees and the organization in order to detect gaps (if any) or areas of need followed by determining the objectives which have to be achieved through the training.

What is the purpose of conducting training needs assessment?

If an organization successfully wants to achieve its goals, it should bridge every kind of gap persisting between employee skills and the skills entailed by the job. Training needs assessment acts as a background deciding the effectiveness of the training to be conducted. It helps find out the general content of the training and ensures the proper deliverance of the most applicable training. Besides, it can be re-administered to check whether the training conducted has led any increase in performance or skills.

What are the steps involved in training needs assessment?

Here are the following steps involved in training needs assessment:

Setting specific training goals

You must know what you want to achieve from the training program. What are your expected business outcomes? Is the training capable enough to achieve those? The training needs analysis should target the goals and outcomes of your organization.

Performing the gap analysis

There are two parts in this step

  • Analyzing the current situation
    It involves assessing the current and actual performance of organization and employees. It is done by determining the current state of skills, abilities, and knowledge of the employees. In addition, it also includes examining the internal and external constrictions within the organization.
  • Setting the desired situation
    Next, comes the desired condition you seek for the success of your organization. It includes analysis of the skills, knowledge, and abilities actually needed. The ‘gap’ between the current and the required will drive the training needs assessment.

Identify priorities

Now you have a list of needs for successfully conducting the training. The next step includes arranging them on the basis of priorities. It should be done while taking the objectives, realities, and hurdles of the organization under consideration. For example- Is the analysis cost-effective? Is top management expecting a solution? Does training need analysis involve too many people/keys? If some of the needs are comparatively of low importance, it is better to drop those instead of putting considerable amount of time and energy. It is advisable to focus on the problems of greater value.

Choose the best training method

There are several training methods you can choose for training, e.g. classroom training, online training, conferences, or coaching. Make sure that the method is apt enough to allow the employee learn and apply it on their work.

Implement the plan

Now, you have thoroughly evaluated training needs, methods, situation and priorities; it is time to put the plan to action.

Evaluation of the training

Assessment is the last and the most important step involved in the training. After all, you should know whether your training worked or not? If yes, how successful it was? If no, what are the loopholes?


After successfully implementing all the steps, don’t forget to create a detailed report including all the steps involved in carrying out the training. It will be very handy if you plan to conduct a training need assessment in future.

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