Paul Kearns explains an effective tool for developing training needs analysis, evaluation and performance measurement
Two of the most difficult jobs for any training professional are accurate, individual training needs analysis (TNA) and convincing outcome evaluation.
Unfortunately many internal customers do not appreciate the time and skill involved, which is why they often just ask for quick-fix training solutions.
This situation can be very frustrating for trainers who want to do a highly professional job. More importantly, any training delivered as a result of insufficient analysis is likely to be much less effective. However, this tool offers a simple, practical and effective solution. It serves three main purposes:
- Helping the trainer cover TNA and evaluation questions simultaneously
- Ensuring the internal customer becomes fully involved in the training process
- Linking training directly to measured employee performance
It is called the Baseline Approach because it emphasises pre-training, baseline performance measures before any training solution is offered. The tool comprises two separate techniques.
The eight-step TNA
The first technique is a series of questions that should be used at the outset of any training discussions with your customer. Try to stick as closely to these steps as possible. If you skip any steps or are fobbed off by an impatient manager do not be surprised if subsequent training fails to deliver.
1. Identify the business gap
Before you actually look at training needs you need to establish that a business “gap” has been identified. This can fall into two broad categories (see also the Toolbox in Training, October 1999): -
A - There is a basic operational need (for example, people need to be trained to use the new accounting system, staff need basic product knowledge) in which case move straight to Step 3.
B - There is a need for performance improvement (for example, the business plan is looking for reduced costs, an improvement in productivity or quality.)
2. Calculate t