Training Needs Analysis: TA Blog Series (4/4)

This blog is the final of a four-part blog series on training approaches. Our previous blog was on: what makes a good quality training workshop? Now, we are discussing how you can conduct a training needs analysis.

Scrabble pieces spelling assess


It depends on how your organisation works but identifying training needs is crucial in targeting the right areas, you and your staff team need to strengthen in. In some cases, you may be asked to create a training plan for the next year. For example, identifying the training needed for the whole team or for particular people in the organisation. Alternatively, you could be asked to identify training on an ad-hoc basis. For example, after an incident at work that could have been prevented. Whatever way you and your organisation choose, a training needs analysis approach is recommended.


What is a training needs analysis?

A Training Needs Analysis or (TNA) is a method in which you can identify gaps between the training currently being provided and the needs of your organisation. This should be the first stage in the training process (before you have even sourced a training provider). TNA’s can help you to identify problems or areas for concern in the way your organisation is operating.


The aim of the TNA is to enable you to see these problems/areas for concern and identify how you can address it with additional training. For example, in the residential care industry, you may have a problem with staff burnout and stress. Therefore, you may require training that can help to alleviate burnout such as reflective practice.


How do I complete one?

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to complete a TNA:

A person walking up a set of steps

Step one: Identify problems or areas for concern

You can conduct a TNA at any level. Such as, an organisational, operation or individual level. However, the best TNA should be completed with the organisation as a whole. The key is to take a helicopter view. For example, if you are a service in the residential care sector or working with vulnerable young people you will need to look at three key aspects:

  • The presentation of the young people who access your service.
  • The staff team that deliver your services.
  • The operational costs of the organisation.


Step two: Consultation

This is often missed out of most training needs analyses. However, we would argue that it is one of the most important steps. For us, consultation needs to occur at all levels. Therefore, managers, senior workers and front-line staff and most importantly the individuals who access the service should be consulted in this step. Consultations can be held through a focus groups, team meetings or using questionnaires. These individuals will likely have an idea of training or gaps that could develop themselves and the organisation.


Step three: Determine the desired outcomes

Decide what you and the service want to achieve. Think about the impact you want the service to have on those accessing your service. What are the regulatory bodies wanting your organisation to achieve? Do you and the service want to specialise in a certain area or field?


Step four: Identify trainable competencies

Now that you have identified problems/areas for concerns, consulted others and determined what you would like the outcomes to be, you need to think about the competencies that can be trained.


Step five: Evaluate the competencies in your organisation/staff team

Do all individuals in the service need the training? Where is it needed? Who needs it? What does the current training data look like for each individual in the service? Where are there gaps? Have you had a relatively new influx of staff?


Step six: Prioritise the training needs

What is needed as a matter of priority? How quickly can you identify a training provider and free up staff for the training? Are there staff who need the training as soon as possible? (prioritise those most in need). What training need will have the biggest impact on the current situation?


An example of a TNA

To help you complete a TNA, we have provided a brief example to highlight each of the six steps:


  1. The area of concern = There are too many serious incidents occurring in the service.


  1. Consultation = The staff team feel they require more support from the management team. The management team feel that staff could recognise the young people’s triggers more effectively. The young people feel that staff do not understand how they feel.


  1. Desired outcomes = To increase staff member’s understanding of behaviours that may challenge and the thoughts and feelings of the young people. To enable the staff to feel more supported in their roles.


  1. Trainable competencies = Debriefing style, telephone support, crisis management and reflective practice, knowledge and understanding of children in care, challenging behaviour why it occurs, methods of behaviour management, therapeutic model.


  1. Evaluating competencies = Managers have no training in how to debrief staff or reflective practice. Although, the staff team have a behaviour management model, they have not recently been on training about understanding the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of young people in care.


  1. Prioritise = a) Train all staff in understanding the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of young people in care. b) Provide senior team with debriefing or reflective practice training. c) Crisis management training for managers.



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