For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, TNA stands for Training Needs Analysis. But there is a serious problem with past TNA’s that many researchers are hoping to correct in 2008. The top 2 problems are:
TNA Problem #1 – They do not focus on people, the greatest asset of a business.
TNA Problem #2 – They are written with a negative approach.
Before we go into the details & solutions of each of the 2 problems, we need to be clarify our new TNA goals for 2008.
Goal #1: Ensuring we have motivated and committed learners from the start.
Goal #2: Obtain top level managers who actually know that learning has nothing to do with how many courses you take.
Goal #3: Locate and praise learning professionals who can help companies deliver business, as well as training, solutions.
Now let’s address TNA Problem #1: They do not focus on people, the greatest asset of a business.
“I am often asked: “What’s the secret to running a successful business?” It’s simple – look after your staff and the business will look after itself.” – Richard Branson
Yes, we use TNA’s to assess a company’s needs, assess the training requirements of the employees, and determine the best method of delivering it, but don’t neglect critical issues such as employee morale and career development. Make the connection between the employee’s individual performance and the training plan. Let’s step out of the box and go beyond traditional techniques in 2008.
Try starting from the bottom and working your way up! Keith Porter of Advance Performance suggests going to every level of the business using a cross section of employees from every level and every department and then go to outside customers and/or clients for feedback. Look out for negative language cues that can often provide insight on cultural and management environmental and situational issues. If you have the funds, it may be beneficial to hire Consultants with an “impartial ear”.
Here’s a good example. If a manufacturing plant invests in a new piece of equipment, they will work hard and spend a lot of money to maintain it. The same cannot be said for how many businesses treat people. Businesses expect people to “maintain” themselves without providing them with the resources and tools to do so.
Now let’s look at TNA Problem #2: They are written with a negative approach.
Jan Hills of consultancy HR with Guts states in a Training Zone article: “If the training analysis focuses only on what people are failing to do, it means that they are only approaching the training from a ‘problem’ frame of mind.”
What this negative approach does is focus on the failed areas and filling in skill gaps. It continues to look backwards at past problems, instead of forward to desired outcomes.
What we need to do in 2008 is become optimists in our TNA approach. Switch to a positive approach by focusing on skills and tasks that people are doing well and investigate how other members of their team can get those skills and get to their level. Then focus on how to develop those skills even further. This not only is guaranteeing their success but their opportunity to advance.
Combining the solutions for the Top 2 TNA problems and the Top 3 Goals for 2008, we have exactly what GC has been focused on since 1996, the Learner. You’ve read our past Newsletters on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, also found on our Home page under How we meet the needs of the Learner? When we focus on the Learner and the positive skills they are displaying we motivate the Learner. And motivation leads to higher self-esteem and confidence.
Training is not just about offering courses. It’s about offering employees a better life. A chance for a “career” and not just a “job”. Make them feel good about their own skill level, their achievements, and how they contribute to the companies overall business vision.
Until next month…