Get Started Free
    Home  ›   Blog  ›   How to Conduct a Training Needs Assessment in Your Organization

How to Conduct a Training Needs Assessment in Your Organization


Did you know that companies around the world spend over $350 billion every year on workplace training?



This astonishing statistic feels even more surprising when you consider the fact that as many as 70% of employees report not having the adequate skill level for their job. 

The reason for this gap is fairly obvious.

It’s ineffective training programs.

Unplanned and inefficient implementation of employee training can derail even the most extravagant of endeavors and cost you dearly in terms of money, productivity, and overall employee morale. 

The solution?

Conduct a training needs assessment before implementing your programs.

Also called a training needs analysis (TNA), such an assessment lets you figure out:

  • Which employees need training
  • What competencies they’re lacking
  • How much training will be enough to fill the gap

In this blog post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about training needs assessments, including what they are, different training needs analysis methods, and how to conduct training and development needs assessment the right way to get the most out of it.

Let’s begin.

What Is a Training Needs Assessment?

Training needs assessment or training needs analysis (TNA) is a process used by companies to determine an employee’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes to improve their performance to a level that meets or exceeds the organization’s expectations. 

Some of the ways in which companies conduct TNA for training include: 

  • asking employees to take assessment tests and questionnaires
  • holding one-to-one or group interviews 
  • evaluating data 
  • closely observing employees 

Here are some examples of training assessment tests:


Purpose of Training Needs Assessment

While it’s best to conduct training needs assessments frequently and periodically, they’re particularly helpful in these situations:

  • After onboarding a new employee, to find out if they need to take any training courses before you can put them on the job
  • When an employee scores low on their performance review and you need to identify their skill gaps
  • To create and implement career development plans for improving employee productivity and engagement
  • To identify and groom employees with leadership potential as part of your leadership development and succession planning initiatives
  • When organizational changes require department restructuring or changes in job responsibilities

Benefits of Training Needs Assessment

Now that you know what training needs assessments are let’s look at how they can help you grow your business while creating a better experience for you and your employees.

  • Identify Employees Who Need Training 

TNA makes it very easy to spot employees who are underperforming or may underperform in their role and design training programs tailored to their learning needs. Tailored training programs save you a lot of time and effort. 

For example, let’s say you find out that your IT team isn’t up to the industry standards when it comes to security. An IT security assessment will reveal team members who are lagging behind so that you don’t have to provide the training to the entire team. 


  • Prioritize Crucial Employee Training Needs

Running a company-wide training needs assessment drive lets you seamlessly prioritize your biggest training needs. Having your training schedule aligned with your strategic goals can deliver big in terms of business impact. 

This is especially important when you’re short on time or budget.

For example, you may get to know that more than task management training, the employees need to be taught about goal setting to begin with.

  • Check the Effectiveness of Training Programs

You simply can’t afford an ineffective training program if you’re a small business. Your training and development expenses need to pay off in a tangible way every time. 

A training needs assessment can help you a lot in this regard. 

Post-training TNA is a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of your training process and learning material. You can try out your training program on a small batch of employees. If the results are positive, you go for a full-scale implementation. If not, you return to the drawing board. 

Related Read: How to Evaluate Learning with Pre and Post-Training Tests

  • Discover New Training Methods and Tools

TNA doesn’t just help you identify learning needs but also uncovers key learning obstacles. Armed with knowledge about what is holding back your employees from realizing their potential, you can brainstorm new and more efficient training approaches.

For example, if your employees have a tight work schedule, they may feel unenthusiastic or even negative toward classroom-based training workshops. Conducting a learning needs assessment would reveal this insight and prompt you to look for a flexible alternative, such as ProProfs Learning Management System (LMS), that lets you train anytime and anywhere.

Watch: What Is a Mobile LMS & How Can It Help Train Anytime, Anywhere?

  • Optimize Your Training ROI

Conducting regular training needs assessments is among the best ROI decisions you can make for your company. Delivering effective training to only the employees that actually need it gives you the dual benefit of reduced costs and increased revenue. 

Related Read: How to Measure Online Training ROI

  • Boost Employee Engagement

Providing opportunities for learning and development is one of the best ways to keep your employees engaged

A study by Udemy has revealed that four in five people believe learning new skills would make them more engaged. The same study also found that a lack of opportunity to learn new skills was the biggest reason for employee disengagement.

An employee needs assessment for training lets you find the best new skills for your employees to feel valued and stay motivated towards their job. 

  • Streamline Organizational Change

Every organizational setting goes through some significant changes now and then, which can create a lot of new training needs. For instance, you may have to—

  • Create a new department or restructure an existing one 
  • Promote an employee to a leadership role 
  • Change your strategic vision 
  • Introduce business software, such as Salesforce, MS Dynamics, etc.


A quick and efficient training program designed using a training needs assessment will ensure that your company’s day-to-day operations aren’t impacted when you make such changes.

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction

Conducting training and other HR needs assessments also contributes to customer satisfaction. Well-trained and engaged employees do better work, produce better products and services, and provide better customer support. All of this helps in building long-lasting and mutually rewarding relationships with customers. 


Related Read: How to Conduct a Customer Service Assessment

Training Needs Assessment at Different Levels

To ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the training needs in your organization, you must conduct TNA at three levels. These are:

  • Organizational level
  • Task level
  • Individual level

Let’s look at each of these levels or types of training needs.

Organizational level

At the organizational level, TNA identifies critical training needs from a big-picture perspective. The aim is to design training programs to help your organization achieve its strategic objectives.

Let’s say a service company has been receiving poor feedback lately from customers. An organizational-level TNA would find out exactly where the problem lies and how it can be sorted out to improve customer satisfaction

To conduct this macro-level analysis, you need to:

  • thoroughly examine your business goals, skill inventory, customer satisfaction survey reports, and work culture. 
  • find areas where training is most needed (for instance, a specific department or group of employees).
  • conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to better understand your business situation. 



A great thing about organization-level TNA is that you have clearly defined and measurable outcomes. This highly improves the chances of your training program being successful. 

Task Level 

Task-level or operational-level TNA involves analyzing individual tasks to find out the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to achieve them satisfactorily and then correlating these KSAs with the actual KSAs of the workforce to find training gaps.

For example, let’s say you want to make more sales this year. In your task-level TNA, you would start with understanding how a sale is made, then move towards analyzing industry and company standards and the operational challenges that prevent your sales department from achieving them. 


Tip: To find out the required KSAs for various tasks, you can look at job specifications and descriptions of related job roles. 

Individual Level

Training needs assessment at the individual level analyzes how well an employee performs his job responsibilities. The difference between individual employees’ expected and actual performance provides the training needs at this level.

Two employees from the same department may need training in entirely different areas of their job. For example, one employee in your accounting and finance department may need a refresher on financial analysis. In contrast, the other employee may need to brush up on more general things, such as workplace communication and email etiquette.


Apart from analyzing relevant KSAs, individual-level TNA also aims to find out the learning obstacles (if any) for the underperforming employees. Having a complete understanding of an employee’s performance-related challenges ensures that the training program chosen for them will raise their performance to the expected standards. 

Methods of Training Needs Assessment

A variety of methods are used for TNA. Depending on your goals/business needs, you may opt for any one of these or multiple ones. 

Skill Assessment Tests

Skill assessment tests are commonly used in recruitment processes. But, they can also serve as an excellent tool for conducting a training needs assessment. You can use these to easily and accurately measure your current employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

The number of questions that an employee got wrong on the test can be a good indicator of their training needs. And if you’re using assessment software, you can also analyze and compare the test-takers’ performance.

Watch: How to Create an Assessment Online 

Survey Questionnaires

Survey questionnaires are an amazing option if your strategy is to directly ask your employees about their performance challenges. You can create and share these easily using online questionnaire software to streamline the entire process.


A well-designed questionnaire for TNA should be a combination of open-ended and closed-ended questions, with some ranking and projective questions sprinkled in. 

Tip – If you’re conducting an organizational-level or task-level TNA, you can improve the credibility of your training needs survey by allowing your employees to submit their responses anonymously.


You can conduct interviews for training needs assessment in two ways.

  • Individual Interviews – Conducting face-to-face or video interviews with your employees is a simple yet effective way to collect information about performance gaps. You can choose between an informal or formal setting for such interviews, depending on the employee’s preference.
  • Focus Groups – In this TNA method, a number of employees get together and discuss their training needs and learning challenges. The training manager closely monitors the conversation and recommends a training program based on their analysis of the focus group participants.

Related Read: 15 Best Video Interview Questions to Ask Candidates


A lot of useful information about a job and the employee doing it can be collected by simply observing the employee as they work on their day-to-day tasks. The key things you learn this way include:

  • the functional aspects of the job
  • the technical methodology followed by the employee to perform it
  • behavioral aspects of the employee

While simplistic, this training needs identification method is great for getting both qualitative and quantitative feedback about an employee’s performance.

Data Evaluation

The HR records of a company contain many important data sources for a training needs assessment. These include:

  • Exit interviews
  • Job descriptions
  • Performance evaluations
  • Production, cost, and sales records
  • Accident and safety reports

When analyzing HR records, you need to keep an eye out for common problems that the training can address.

Apart from HR records, you can also look at your customer feedback to identify performance deficiencies. This is crucial if you’re in the service industry.

Related Read: 15 Ways to Collect Customer Feedback and Make the Most of It

How to Conduct a Training Needs Assessment Program

Taking a systematic approach to conducting Training Needs Assessment or TNA can significantly improve the quality of your findings. Here’s how you should go about it. 

Step 1: Analyze your business needs

Step 2: Identify key competencies and training needs 

Step 3: Weigh your training options 

Step 4: Report the findings 

Step 5: Measure training effectiveness

Let’s take a detailed look at each of the training needs assessment steps.

Step 1: Analyze Your Business Needs

As is the case with many other business processes, you need perfect clarity on your needs if you want your TNA program to be a success. Defining organizational goals ensures that your training programs are relevant to your organization, both in the present and future.

For example, let’s say you want to enhance your brand awareness and recall. The marketing skills assessments you conduct in this case would be quite different from those for creating a succession pipeline in the marketing department. 


When analyzing your business needs, you should also ask yourself some important questions, such as:

  • Why am I conducting this training needs assessment?
  • What results do I expect from it?
  • Is conducting a training program the right solution for my business goals?

Doing so is crucial since there may be situations where training might not even be the answer. The correct solution could be an organizational change, such as restructuring a department or something as simple as creating and sharing fun quizzes for better employee engagement.

Related Read: How to Make a Fun Quiz 

Step 2: Identify Key Competencies and Training Needs 

After you’ve identified and examined your business needs, the next step is to figure out the knowledge, skills, and abilities you need in your employees to meet those needs and how your employees can reach the required levels.

When performing your training needs analysis, ensure that you’re not solely focused on the relevant competencies. You should also try to find out as much as you can about the various learning obstacles that your employees face and their individual learning styles and preferences. 

The more learning-related information you can gather about each employee, the more personalized and effective your training programs will be.

To find the training needs of individual employees, you can use a combination of two or more training needs assessment methods listed in the previous section. 

For example, you can use skill assessment tests to find skill gaps, along with either interviews or survey questionnaires to find your employees’ learning challenges and preferences. 

Watch: How to Create an Employee Survey

Step 3: Weigh Your Training Options 

Analyze the competency gaps of individual employees and you’ll get a list of training needs. Match the needs with the most suitable training options and then categorize them into high, medium, and low priority. Consider these factors when making this categorization:

  • Relevance to business needs: Training needs that are more important in terms of business goals and pain points will be prioritized higher. 
  • Cost: If possible, you should postpone training programs that will hog up your training budget. 
  • Time: Too much time invested in training may result in the employee being unable to complete job duties. 
  • Return on Investment: Training programs that will take a long time to provide a return on investment can be prioritized lower.
  • Legal Compliance: Training needs that are required to be met from a legal standpoint or for maintaining employees’ licenses/certifications will always be high priority. 

Related: How to Link Your Training Programs to Your Business Goals 

Step 4: Report the Findings 

The next step is to report the training needs and their assessed priority levels and recommend short and long-term training plans for each of them. Your report should also include details about why and how this training assessment was conducted, including information on the methods used and the people involved. 



Step 5 – Measure Training Effectiveness

In the last step of the training needs assessment process, we measure the effectiveness of the finalized training programs before they are implemented on a large scale. 

As mentioned previously in this post, you can do this by conducting your training program for a small batch of employees and then asking them to take a post-training assessment test. If the results are encouraging enough, you can scale up. If not, you make changes to your training program till it starts showing positive results. 

Closing the loop in this way will ensure that you have developed an effective training program and save you from a lot of unnecessary costs and wasted time.

To know more about leveraging assessments to deliver effective training, check out:

Employee Training Assessment Guide: Train Smarter to Boost ROI

Create Your Training Needs Assessments Easily and Quickly 

The importance of needs assessment for organizations today can’t be understated. Regularly conducting staff needs assessments in your organization is an excellent way to ensure that all of your employees are working to their fullest potential. 

But, for company-wide implementation of training needs assessments, you need a way to seamlessly measure learning gaps and training progress. 

ProProfs Assessment Maker lets you do just that. With its intuitive interface, 100+ smart configurations, and 100+ ready-to-use & customizable assessment tests, you can create insightful assessment quizzes in minutes. It also offers thousands of training needs assessment templates and a virtual classroom functionality to easily assign assessments to your employees.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the tools required for a training needs assessment?

You can use various tools to conduct training assessments, including:

  • Skill assessment tests 
  • Survey questionnaires
  • One-on-one in-person or video interviews
  • Focus group sessions 
  • Employee observations 
  • HR records of exit interviews, job descriptions, performance evaluations, safety incidents, and more 

Depending on your requirements and budget, you can use one or more training needs assessment tools

What are the three classes or levels of training needs?

The three classes or levels of training needs are:

  • Organization level: Training needs crucial from a big-picture and long-term business perspective 
  • Task/operation level training needs: Training needs according to individual tasks 
  • Individual & team level: Training needed by employees to perform their responsibilities satisfactorily

What questions should you ask in a training needs analysis?

If you’re using assessment tests for TNA, your questions will entirely depend on the assessment takers’ job profile and department. But if you’re conducting a training needs survey, there are some general questions you can ask irrespective of who is taking the survey. Here they are:

  • What are the organization’s goals this year?
  • What changes are required to meet these goals?
  • What skills do you and your team members need to meet these goals?
  • What training will help you close the knowledge gaps?
Share this article on

Do you want free Quiz Software?

We have the #1 Online Quiz Maker Software for complete learning & assessment


About the author

Kamy is an eLearning & training expert. He has been published in eLearningIndustry, TrainingMag. As a corporate trainer at ProProfs, he has been instrumental in building an awesome eLearning management system that has simplified learning and training for thousands of customers across the globe. Follow Kamy @kamyanderson