A Training Needs Analysis – at Organisational Level

Following on from our post, last week, identifying some of the key thoughts prior to setting out to produce a training needs analysis (TNA), this week we turn to the first of the 3 levels of analysis.

TNA – Organisational Level  

Put simply, our outcome is to provide a summary of the organisation’s training needs. The IIP framework offers an approach for undertaking this. There are several stages of activities listed below and we need to identify the important considerations to ensure that this activity continues to have an impact at strategic level.

With the overall goal of producing a summary of the organisation’s training needs, then the stages are as follows:

1. Identify priority needs from the top team’s view of their mandatory requirements, this completed via interviews with members of the top team

2. Where the organisation is values driven, then determine needs from organisational values. However, ensure that values are understood and are an integral part of the performance management process.

3. Where competencies exist, then determine the needs from organisational competencies (these can be simply “key” competencies). However, ensure that the competencies are understood and are an integral part of the performance management process.

4. It will also be necessary to determine the priority needs from the each functional/department team’s own training plans. At this point, make every effort to ensure that line managers retain “ownership” of their own team’s plan.

5. Remember that there will be competencies and/or values linked to leadership & management. These will need to be reviewed as they provide the rationale and basis of any management development activity.

The overall goal is also to maintain the strategic impact of any subsequent investment in meeting the identified needs. With this in mind the next steps become:

6. Meet with the top team (possibly representatives/steering group) to confirm training priorities for whole organisation in line with business plan. Be prepared to discuss allocation of spending and the process for validation and evaluation.

7. Produce draft training plan at organisational level. Consider the coverage, does it reflect the organisation’s diversity whilst at the same time enhancing its uniqueness?

8. The top team should then allocate budget to plan. Be prepared to discuss lost time and opportunity costs in the calculations. This may be useful in later considerations about applying different approaches to meeting the emerging needs.

9. The top team should review progress of their investment on a quarterly basis. Consider a simple pro-forma for reporting at top team level.

10. The top team review the impact of their investment at an annual review of the costs and benefits of training. It is important to consider all costs and to keep it simple, it may be that a focus on “perceived” benefits can be as useful as engaging in the complexity of finding “real” benefits.

11. The top team should also be encouraged to extend the discussion they have at an annual review and consider how that impact might provide changes to the plans for training & development in the next business cycle.

Next week –  producing a team training plan.

A Training Needs Analysis (using the IIP Framework)


Following our recent article on developing a training strategy(using IIP), we have been invited to comment on how a training needs analysis(TNA) might be conducted (using the IIP Framework).

Again, by definition the word “training” encompasses learning, training & development.

We would also comment that any TNA should define its intentions at the outset as to how the validation and evaluation of any subsequent training activities might take place.

There are many useful, and not so useful, TNA survey tools available in the marketplace. One that suits your culture specifically, whilst at the same time being cost-effective, might be difficult to resource.

Given that IIP is fundamentally a framework that encourages organisations to engage with their people, then it becomes relevant to do any “survey” at three levels as part of the identification of needs.

What levels?

Level 1  Organisational needs

Level 2  Team needs

Level 3  Individual needs

The organisation’s training philosophy (and indeed policy) should reflect how these three sets of needs are prioritised.

For example, the ethos of the organisation might be that the individual is key and that will be the focus for training investment. It may be that the “team is king” and therefore that will be where training spend might be concentrated.

It could be that there is to be substantial change in the organisation and therefore training activities that support that organisational change become imperative.

At its simplest a cost .v. benefit analysis, even at this stage, will tell you that financially it will serve the organisation better to focus on level 1(more people affected and therefore less cost per head), however costs will need to be balanced with benefits, both real and perceived.

Over the next few weeks, we will offer our suggestions as to how, at each level, a TNA might be conducted.

Next week we begin with at organisational level.