Training needs assessment is an ongoing process of gathering data to determine what training needs exist so training can be developed to help the organization accomplish its objectives.
Conducting needs assessment is fundamental to the success of a training program. Often, organizations will develop and implement training without
first conducting a needs analysis.
These organizations run the risk of overdoing training, doing too little training or missing the point completely.
Reasons why needs analysis must be done before training programs are
- To identify specific problem areas in the organization. HR and management must know what the problems are so that the most appropriate training (if training is the answer) will be directed to those organizational problems.
- To obtain management support. Management usually thinks training is a “nice thing to do.” This stance can be laid directly at the doorstep of a poor (or nonexistent) needs assessment. The way to obtain management support is to make certain that the training directly affects what happens in that manager’s department.
- To develop data for evaluation. Unless information on needs are developed prior to conducting training, the evaluations that take place after the program may not be valid. In conducting a needs analysis first,we can measure the effectiveness of a training program.
- To determine the costs and benefits of training - Needs assessment that identifies the problems and performance deficiencies, allows management to put a cost factor on the training needs.