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Carrying out a training needs analysis. A step by step guide.

In my 10 years of experience as a training coordinator, I’ve carried out many training needs analyses for companies. I’ve worked with companies in industries from hospitality to construction and manufacturing. Here I will walk you through the methods I’ve successfully used time and time again. In this step by step guide to carrying out a training needs analysis, I’ll explain how to determine the workforce training requirements of an organisation. We’ll then look at how to effectively visualise and monitor them moving forward.

What is a training needs analysis?

A training needs analysis is a process that lets you discover what skills, qualifications and competencies your workforce currently hold and what they need to perform their role.  It will help your organisation operate more safely, efficiently and effectively. It is also a great way to demonstrate compliance in industries where there are regulatory requirements.

Carrying out a training needs analysis is a good opportunity to standardise your workforce training and ensure that everyone is trained according to the rules you set out. Training forms an important part of a person’s competency. The HSE says ‘Competence can be described as the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them to perform a task safely’. You can find information and advice about training requirements on the HSE website and you may need to take external advice to ensure that you are meeting your obligations as an employer.

Where do I start?

If you don’t have software to help you, it might be useful to do a pen and paper exercise and jot things down before transferring to a matrix. 

  1. Write the task title at the top of the page. List the names of your workforce carrying out this task and then list the training required. Continue to do this for every task.
  2. Collate your existing training certificates and transfer your information into a training matrix. We have created a free training matrix template which you can download here
  3. Usually, you would list the names of the people in a column along the left of the page. Next list the training/skills or competency in a row along the top.  Looking at each individual and working through the pages of training requirements, recording whether the training is a requirement for their job role or not. Where there is a requirement, record if the person holds the necessary certificate or qualification and where possible, the expiry date.  If there is a requirement and their certificate is missing, record this also. 
Training needs analysis pen and paper exercise.
Training needs analysis pen and paper exercise.

How do I keep track of all this moving forward?

A training matrix is the best way to collate, monitor and manage your organisation’s training requirements. It displays this information in an orderly and easy to read way.  Before creating a matrix, you need to know what information should be included. This is a good opportunity to look at the people in your workforce and the tasks they do. Not just their job titles, but really drill down to specific tasks. Not everyone with the same job title will carry out the same tasks and their training needs will vary. Take a Warehouse Operative for example. They may all need manual handling training. Only some of them will be driving a forklift and that has its own set of training requirements.

Traditionally a training matrix is recorded on a spreadsheet but this can be laborious and time-consuming to keep up to date. Human error and subsequent data loss is a common problem when using spreadsheets. Training management software will simplify and streamline the training need analysis process and automate the training matrix aspect.

We discuss the benefits of creating a training matrix using specialist software versus spreadsheets here

It’s important to remember that this is a working document and it must be updated regularly to avoid issues arising. If you would like to simplify this process and reduce the risk of issues relating to your training needs. If you would also like to explore more efficient and automated ways of working. I would be happy to show you how Moralbox Workforce Manager can assist you.