There is a training need when there is a weakness that an organization needs to overcome. The identification of training needs must, therefore, be solved before training itself can be usefully undertaken. A training needs analysis is the first step to determining what actions a company should take to correct unwanted or undesirable actions and behavior within the workplace (Boydell, 1976). By performing a training needs analysis (TNA), one can identify unwanted actions. First, the company has to identify the issues and determine the most effective course of actions to take, including assessment of what training sessions would be essential to set the company on the right track. Second, the company needs to determine if the course of action is going to be most effective. Therefore, if a company is contemplating a training program, it is essential to have a training needs analysis to see what direction the company should take.
Training needs analysis (TNA) refers to a process of identifying the gap that exists between the training of employees and their needs. Different employees require acquisition of skills in order to fit in the job environment. This improves their performance in the workplace. Research in training needs has come up with analysis to assist in identifying attitudes and concepts of acquisition of skills. A focus on literature on training needs analysis assists in determining the appropriate aspect of employee training. A review of this literature shows different studies on training needs analysis and their implications in the business world. The human element is the most important aspect of the workplace. Therefore, it is important to research and make use of an effective contribution of the literature in the field.
There is a great need to review works that have been compiled by other authors, with regards to a certain topic because it can give the researcher a clue of the real life situation. There are some authors who might be wrong or inaccurate in their works. However, the risk of obtaining wrong information is spread through the use of wrong ideas by other authors. This way, the researcher can get the general truth. According to Boydell (1976), training needs analysis is a vital part of the development process of any company: it bridges the gap that exists between the available design data and the training objectives, as well as training media. This is an extremely important issue; furthermore, it is the opinion of this author that training deserves a thorough discussion. Typically, a company may have a lot of goals and objectives. As a matter of fact, it is a requirement for most of the companies before they carry out activities to have their objectives written down. However, unless these objectives are translated into the actual work that is carried out by the workers, they are considered null and void. Therefore, prior to any development that a company may wish to incorporate into their system, it is mandatory to carry out the training needs analysis. This way, the weak areas are communicated by the training media, and the company is able to plan on the management of the business. Therefore, training is an important issue that is raised by Boydell (1976).
Williamson (2004) concentrates more on how the training analysis should be done than on the relevance of the same. This is important because it translates to the actual work that a company should undertake. According to this author, there is an extremely wide variety of training media that can be used. This media ranges from traditional teaching to other simulators that are more sophisticated. However, the determination of the media that should be used depends on the activities that are intended by the company. Despite the fact that training needs analysis is vital, a company still has other activities to pursue. These activities depend on the resources such as time, concentration, as well as funds. For this reason, there is a need to carry out this activity in the most economical way possible. Therefore, the training media that is used in a particular field should be cost effective. This way, the process cannot prove to be disadvantageous to the firm. However, Williamson (2004) has not forgotten to point out the fact that training needs analysis becomes more useful in the occurrence of a new development that is expected to affect the company considerably.
Bartram and Gibson (1994) point out that there have been many approaches that have been improvised for training needs analysis. Among them are the Systems Approach to Training (SAT), which is used in both civilian domains and the defense. This author points out the fact that this approach is the best and has been there from time immemorial. Customer specific standards are the major booster towards the activation of this system. This shows that the system takes the needs of customers into careful consideration. The training needs analysis is carried out in accordance with the Systems Approach Training principles, which ensures that there is actual visibility in each stage of the design process. This is supported, of course, with clear audit trials from the scoping study all the way to the solutions that are recommended. The careful specifications of this method have been used by Bartram and Gibson (1994) in order to show that every company should have a team for the sake of conducting this analysis before the activation of any development. This further proves the fact that training needs analysis should be given a priority in every company.
A study has been carried out on how to identify training needs of an organization (McConnell, 2003). This study focuses on identification of methods and tools that an organization can use in training needs analysis. According to McConnell, it is important to analyze the relationship between design and training. The literature analyzes different tools and methods that link operational tasks to training needs analysis, with a focus on how an organization can apply design integrated training in its operations. Each organization relies on its manpower in its operations. The stability of the internal environment of each organization is crucial in determining its success. It is, therefore, necessary to come up with effective tools to enable employee training. This is important not only in the acquisition of skills but also in enhancing employee relationships in the workplace. This literature provides a study carried out in different firms, in New York. It provides applicable methods of training needs analysis that have worked effectively in organization (McConnell, 2003).
Critical incidents to review approaches used in training for different organizations are provided in Turrell’s work. This research provides a guide to recognizing training needs for employees in different organization. Integration of human factors in training analysis is successful in an organization that recognizes the specific needs of its employees. This prevents hazards that may arise in training. Training needs analysis assists in bridging the gap between skill acquisition and organizational integration. Questions arise in organizations about the cognitive abilities of different individuals and its relationship to skill acquisition. Human factors such as communication skills, attitude and intelligence are important in determining training needs. Each organization requires an analysis of these factors in order to determine employee needs. Job structures in each organization require operational involvement of personnel in different ways. It is important for each organization to address the training needs for each employee to provide a healthy internal environment. Training needs analysis assists in enabling this analysis. It combines human aspects with organizational factors thus enabling their integration (Turrell, 2012).
Different researches have been made which provide a toolkit for identifying training needs, selecting training strategies, and developing training plans (Bartram & Gibson, 2000). The literature provides an analysis of different studies on training research analysis to provide an effective toolkit applicable in different organizations. The difference in organizational application of training dictates the need for special strategies to handle employee relationships. Experts in training must have proper knowledge in human factors in order to develop effective training plans. These factors include communication skills, learning of individual attitudes, colossal thinking, procedural skills and transfer of knowledge, performance training and psycho-motor skills. The global labor market is highly competitive. Each employee must have the right skills to enable them have competitive advantages in the market. The role of training is to equip each person with skills that enable competitiveness. Training needs analysis allows trainers to come up with training plans that suit the general labor population. Each organization must also invest in employee training for a healthy working environment. The literature gives appropriate strategies that favor employee training. It is a guideline for trainers to give effective training (Bartram & Gibson, 2000).
The authors of the referenced sources have not just analyzed the topic blindly. Instead, they have come up with implications derived from their factors. Other implications can also be deduced from their work without their mentioning. The first implication that can be derived from the authors is that training needs analysis is a complex process, in which any company should invest its resources. Bartram and Gibson (1994) prove that it is a process that can be counterproductive, unless it is carried out in the right way. They also point out that the absence of TNA in an organization is a recipe to great failure. Therefore, the importance of this activity for any company cannot be refuted. This is a discussion that can also be taken from the works of all the other authors.
Williamson (2004) also points out the fact that any company should conduct training needs analysis and this process can be done through the most traditional methods. The implication of this fact is that there is no single company that can claim that it does not have the necessary resources for this activity. If this is the case, it is advisable for all the companies to adopt this system and fully incorporate it in its list of activities that have to be completed. Any company that can write down its goals should be able to carry out a training needs analysis. However, there are two things that the writers agree should come together. This is a sentiment that is held by Boydell, as well (1976) who points out that this is a part of the development process and should be carried out every time the company is willing to effect any changes into its system, as well as the way it conducts some or all of their activities. Lastly, McConnell (2003) believes that the most effective workforces in the corporate world have been subjected to this system (one way or the other) since training has to be sharpened by an activity that both motivates them and makes them better. The other reason is that the employees are trained in areas in which they are weak and deserve to be trained. Consequently, the analysis takes care of the weak areas of the employees by identifying them, first. The implication of this is that resources are also saved. Ultimately, there is no irrelevant training of the employees in areas where they do not need training. Employees are only trained in the areas that they need to improve. Otherwise, a lot of resources would be used in activities that are not worth the effort.
The main role of training needs analysis is to bridge the gap between the already existing data on design with training objectives and training media. It gives effective analysis methods and tools that trainers should apply in their operations for effective training. Training needs analysis ensures that there is smooth transfer of skills. It also enables people joining the training world to have good transfer elements of training (Bartram & Gibson, 2000). Most of the studies undertaken in training needs analysis conclude that it is important for each organization to adopt training designs, which incorporate human elements with operational environment aspects. It is important to note that training needs analysis is a complex undertaking with construction of user-to-task maps in training structures (Turrell, 2012). It requires understanding of the training system to determine the relationship between tasks and the identified team of trainees. An effective training map is also important in incorporating new groups of users to training systems (McConnell, 2003). An organization can assess the training programs using these maps. This is done by comparing the goals and tasks that each employee undertakes. It ensures that one can bridge the training gap that exists, especially for new employees. This is to construct a system that promotes the relationship between users of training programs and training systems.
Studies show that there exists a variety of training media that organizations can adopt to enable effective training (McConnell, 2003). The fact that a trainer can choose from lecture-based systems or sophisticated methods to conduct training demands an analysis of training systems. This is because different methods of training can be more or less appropriate for specific activities. Training needs analysis assists in the determination of the most appropriate and cost-effective methods and tools for specific trainees (Turrell, 2012). Turrell also observes that each trainer should analyze defined approaches to training and choose the most successful one. Therefore, organizations invest in training needs analysis and seek to come up with the most successful operation-based training. One should not only consider the most cost-effective ways to conducting training but also the best approach to meeting the needs of the employees. It is important to conduct a training needs analysis especially with change in operations. This is because any change in an organization creates a gap in the needs of the employees. Acquisition of new equipment also calls for training needs analysis. Any form of development in an organization has an impact on the current regime of training. A training needs analysis assists in determining appropriate changes, which should be made in training systems, in order to accommodate the training gap created by organizational change.
Based on the above research, it is clear that training needs analysis has been ignored by most of the organizations, especially in the corporate sector. The result of this negligence has been a massive failure in these companies. The essay illustrates the importance of the activity and looks into the views of other authors. This way, it is possible to come up with viable conclusions on the subject. Therefore, it can be generally agreed that every company that aims at achieving significant results should engage in training needs analysis. This way, it can ensure maximum utilization of the workforce, as well as their orientation towards the goals that have been set by the company.