7 DECEMBER, 2015


If you’re a training manager and you’re looking at the needs of your company and current and future staff, it’s important to understand what is needed to achieve certain goals. No single training program will suit all employee and business needs, so how do you know what is needed in the company and how to address those needs? How do you create a bridge from the current skills and knowledge of staff to the expected skill set?

This can all be discovered with a comprehensive training needs analysis. Training needs analysis is a process by which an organisation defines the training needs that are required for individuals, a group, team, department or industry sector. The focus is on the job role of those involved and what skills and knowledge are needed in order to perform that job competently.

There are four levels to training needs analysis:

  • organisation level
  • job role level
  • individual level
  • legislative level

Determining the needs at all four levels means you can discover different focuses for the selected levels and create a more comprehensive training program. Integrating the needs from all four levels is an essential part of planning and introducing a relevant and accurate training program.

Organisation level

The organisation level analysis takes into account what is needed and lacking within the organisation as a whole. At this level, the business objectives of the organisation are incorporated into the training needs analysis. One of the key aspects at this level is a review of the current training system within the organisation and what skills employees lack, and how the training plan in place can be adjusted in the future for the business to fulfil its objectives.

Job role level

The job role level analysis looks at the job role in question and the skills and knowledge required in order to fulfil the duties of that role competently. The focus is to look at the current training program in place for the job role and see if there are any current skill gaps between the employee and the required skills for the role.

A job role analysis is the foremost step to this level; it views the job role from different angles to assess what it entails, and determines what is missing from the current skillset of those involved.

Individual level

Everyone is different. People act and learn in different ways: what motivates someone to excel within their job role differs from person to person. The individual level analysis looks at the individual and the style of training that is most appropriate for them. It looks at their achievements, their motivation, how they feel recognised within the company, job security, and how satisfied they are in their role.

This level of analysis may look at an individual’s capability to use their skills across other roles and in different sectors, or their interests in doing so. It also looks at whether an individual knows how to perform their job role, performance levels, skill gaps (if any) and where to start on any training that may be needed.

Legislative level

This level of analysis is simple, but is a very important step in the training needs analysis. It looks at legislative requirements within the company. This can refer to regulatory requirements such as tickets of competency, licensing and qualifications that are required in order to be competent within a role. This level of analysis also identifies if any new legislation has been introduced since the last analysis and looks to fulfil any gaps that have occurred in needs.

Case Study

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), formed in 2013, has the herculean mission of implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). To help with this, NDIA worked with DeakinCo. on three pivotal projects:

  • conducting a national training needs analysis (TNA)
  • developing competency and development frameworks
  • designing, developing and facilitating a culturally unifying orientation program for 19 new senior leaders.

To meet the needs identified by NDIA within the available timeframe, DeakinCo. recommended a TNA at job analysis level, with some organisational level analysis. This enabled the completion of a TNA that provides gap analysis and training recommendations for roles at each level.

DeakinCo. first identified the environmental context and the current knowledge, skills and abilities of employees within the sample roles. We then took a detailed look at employee’s desired versus actual performance to identify any gaps. Finally, an action plan for training (and non-training) recommendations was developed. The action plan included priorities for development needs according to critical and non-critical gaps and roles. It also recommended training and non-training activities, identified any development needs that were common across roles or levels, and identified any other factors affecting performance gaps.

To complete the TNA, it was critical to seek input and feedback from relevant stakeholders through an online survey and focus group meetings.

We understood when we began this project that the NDIS Leadership Competency Framework and Leadership Development Framework would also be developed in the ensuing months. As some of these tasks could be undertaken concurrently, we saw that conducting the TNA over the same period was an opportunity to condense the required time and resources.

The outcomes of these work projects were both immediately useful and relevant to the NDIA’s long-term goals. The TNA identified the education and development required across all facets of NDIA operations, from corporate and technical to customer-facing and support roles.

Our competency framework flagged what’s required of current and future leaders at all organisational levels, while our development framework identified (and will provide) learning and development activities to grow these competencies.

Though the leader orientation program was eventually withdrawn, feedback for the content we’d designed and developed was extremely positive.

Sample individual skills audit template
Here is an example template of what an individual skill audit could look like.