Training Needs Analysis Are you Competent?

As a provider of learning and development services I get frequent requests for designs of bespoke training courses and for delivery of existing courses into a range of organisations in various sectors. Each situation involves the addressing the development needs of unique individuals in groups and therefore requires an analysis of training needs.  

Whether we design a new training course or deliver an existing programme we want to ensure a connection between training content and job performance. This is essential knowledge and its absence impacts both the design of the training, the delivery of the training and ultimately the transfer of the skills into measurable business results.

The problem is many purchasers of training have failed to ask the questions that analyse the individuals development needs in the context of their role.

Let’s take a recent example; an email requesting an in-house communications course for managers contained no additional detail.  Now, I am perceptive but mind reading is not included in the competencies for my role as a consultant. I return a response that asks the questions:


  • What form of communications skills require development? (Email, influencing, written, face to face………)
  • What evidence to you have of this development need, can you provide examples?
  • What specific improvements/outcomes would benefit your organisation, do you have any metrics?
  • Who has the need for the training, do these managers manage people, process, both?

 If a business identifies a need for improved communications, surely there must bfinger in the wind training needs analysise some evidence of that need from performance management records, from supplier negotiations, from ineffective meetings, and yet the inability to answer questions about the need suggests some unfocused finger in the wind activity method of identifying training needs.

The danger is that you encourage the risk of failing to get a solution that meets development needs because the design and delivery of that training comes from a starting point of “here’s what I know so that’s what I’ll teach

Rather than what do you need then that’s what I’ll provide!

Spectrain provide competency based training and development solutions, our courses that enable you to better manage the training and development function are available to view here:  Managing Training and Development

4 responses to “Training Needs Analysis Are you Competent?

  1. I totally agree. What really needs to happen is a “Root Cause Analysis”. What is the performance gap? What is the Behavioural gap that is causing the performance gap? Close the Behavioural gap & set Specific, observable Behavioural objectives to cement the on-going success of the learning. Before doing an event, I always ask if I can observe the people in action. Whether it’s shadowing managers, listening to sales calls, sitting in on meetings etc. It gives me the “Real” picture & I can observe trends & behaviours & adapt the training accordingly. never Fails. Rob Moon, Best Intentions.

    • Hi Rob, many thanks for taking the time to comment, evidence based performance management introduces transparency into the process and that can only be positive, it also has its benefits in enabling the individual to evaluate their own performance which then impacts ownership of new behaviours and goals. As an external triner I dont always have the luxury of observing what’s going on and occasionally I am forced to rely on feedback from third parties which of course can be subjective.

  2. Dear Joy,

    Great article I must say. In fact, I am writing to feature this article in our
    Guild of HR e-Mag which is published online monthly.

    Let me know if you’re keen for us to take this forward.

    Thanks !

    Azwan Sekeri
    HR Republic Kuala Lumpur,

  3. Hi Azwan, many thanks for your feedback and also for the opportunity to appear in your Guild of HR e-Magazine. I will be in touch shortly and look forward to the feature:

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