Training Needs Analysis

The organisation can use Training Needs Analysis to focus training and development effort on the places and people where it will have the maximum benefit. It is an active approach that is much more searching than distributing course outlines to managers.

The best way to do Training Needs Analysis is by interview. This requires first class listening, attending and summarising skills. Ask each manager:

  • How is your part of the organisation doing?
  • What are your goals for your part of the organisation?
  • What is going well?
  • What are the difficulties?
  • What is causing the difficulties?
  • What do you need to do to make things better?
  • What do you need to learn to do it?
  • How do you want to learn it?
  • What do your people need to learn?
  • How do they learn best?
  • What should we do next?


  • What are the two or three most important things you have learned from this conversation?
  • What has been good about it?
  • How could I/we do it better in future?

You will have expertise about learning methods and opportunities. This can be added towards the end of the interview. Bring out the manager’s thinking first. Do not take it over. His or her commitment is essential.

This approach challenges the training function. You have to be prepared to respond flexibly to the client’s needs. It vastly increases energy and enthusiasm for development that focuses on the needs of the business. When it goes well, you will find managers continuing the process with their own staff. This has useful trust building and team development benefits. Managers find it personally growthful too.

It can take a lot of time. If time pressures mean you have to use questionnaires or forms, do some sample interviews first to help you get some valid information to base these on. Even if you do, they will be less reliable because they only allow one-way communication.

If you would like help using this idea, or have any comments or questions please contact me. Thanks, Nick