Pro and Cons of Training Needs Analysis

Merits of Training Needs Analysis

Arthur et al. (2003) points towards the fact that the countless efforts of organizations staying competitive and being competent in the marketplace, increasing efficiency and improving employees skills, knowledge and attitudes call for learning and developing new knowledge, skills and changing attitudes, which can be done through effective training program and TNA is the approach that provides a firm support towards fulfilling those efforts. According to Bentley (2006), training needs analysis helps organizations construct sound training activities that add value to the training process and direct organizations towards the achievement of their strategic objectives. Ferdinand (1988) points out that TNA helps organization determining the needs that need to be highlighted in order to competitive and effectively respond to its business environment.

Rae (2000) denotes that TNA is the process that defines what is missing in the performance of the employees and provides organizations a base on what to be dealt with. Training needs analysis helps organizations understand performance lacking that obstructs employees reaching standards and achieving targets and provides an indication of how these needs should be spotted and directed (Bowman and Wilson, 2008). Armstrong (2003) indicates that TNA recognizes performance gaps in employees and smooths the progress of the learning and development of new skills and knowledge to mitigate current performance gaps and in addition makes possible to deal with future learning needs and development. Boydell and Leary (1996) emphasize that through TNA, learning opportunities are recognized, which is imperative in attaining organizational objectives.

Peterson (1998) points out that a good TNA is an excellent source in understanding employee absenteeism, turnover and grievances, which elucidates organizations what training initiatives need to be taken in order to resolve those problems. Buckley and Caple (2007) lay out that TNA helps identify problems occurring in the current performance and helps determine future needs of the employees that help organizations devise training programs, which enable them retaining key employees within the organization and enable employees developing their skills and knowledge in order to apply in the respective areas, which in turn result in improved productivity, increased job satisfaction and a decline in turnover.

According to CIPD (2008), an effective TNA assists organizations design their training programs in a cost effective way as they are based on a sound TNA. Rae (2003) points out that in order to ensure the cost effectiveness of a training program, an excellent training needs analysis should be the base of its design.

Boydell and Leary (1996) state that a sound training needs analysis is an effective approach to understand whether employees’ performances meet current organizational objectives, whether groups are able to achieve set targets and meet performance standards and whether individuals are competent enough to provide required performance, which help evaluate the effectiveness of existing training programs. TNA provides a comprehensive thought of the learning needs and their intended outcomes that are imperative in measuring the efficacy of the training activities designed or to be designed (CIPD, 2008).

Disadvantages of Training Needs Analysis

According to Anderson (1994), TNA is highly systematic and traditional as this involves gathering data from various sources on employees knowledge, skills and attitudes, which is time consuming and highly expensive for the organizations as needs are constantly changing over time and previous needs may become obsolete by the time the analysis is done.

Peters (1994) argues that the problem behind training needs analysis is that it focuses only on the needs of the employees and organizations and does not emphasize the good performances of the employees, which, in fact, is a very good indication of understanding what others really need and determining this fact can result in effective training needs analysis.

Before conducting training needs analysis, it is important to reach to an agreement on the meaning of TNA and how TNA will be carrying out to attain the result as different people hold different perceptions about TNA and these affect the process of TNA. It is argued that training programs that are inadequately focused do not serve the purpose (Peterson, 1998). Bowman and Wilson (2008) point out that it is very important to understand whether TNA truly focuses the needs of the individuals and organizations. They argue that TNA can be ineffective if it is based on the perceptions and opinions of certain people, which can lead to the ineffectiveness of training programs. Clarke (2003) specifies that a little progress has been made so far in developing the models of TNA, which results in its inability to highlight various factors that question the efficacy of TNA.


• Anderson, G. (1994), “A Proactive Model for Training Needs Analysis”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 23-28.
• Armstrong, M. (2003), A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, Kogan Page, London.
• Arthur, W. Jr., Bennett, W. Jr., Edens, P. S., and Bell, S. T. (2003), “Effectiveness of Training in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis of Design and Evaluation Features”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 234-245.
• Bentley, R. (2006), “Time to get back to the basics”, Personnel Today[Sutton], Jan, pg. 14.
• Bowman, J. and Wilson, J. P. (2008), “Different roles, different perspectives: perceptions about the purpose of training needs analysis”, Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 40, No.1, pp. 38-41.
• Boydell, T. and Leary, M. (1996), Identifying Training Needs, IPD, London.
• Buckley, R. and Caple, J. (2007), The Theory and Practice of Training, Kogan Page, London.
• CIPD (2008), Learner-centred Courses, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, [Online], Available:
• Clarke, N. (2003), “The Politics of Training Needs Analysis”, Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 141-153.
• Ferdinand, B. (1988), “Management Training Needs Analysis”, Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 20, No. 5, pp. 27-31.
• Rae, L. (2000), Effective Planning in Training and Development, Kogan Page, London.
• Peterson, R. (1998), Training Needs Assessment: meeting the training needs for quality performance, Kogan Page, London.
• Peters, W. L. (1994), “Repertory Grid as a Tool for Training Needs Analysis”, The Learning Organization, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 23-28.

Posted by: Farid Ahmed

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