Understanding the might of Learning Needs Analysis
Limited budgets. Cost-effective solutions. Need to ensure bulls-eye targeting of monies and resources at areas where learning and development is needed. And, a guaranteed and measurable positive return on investment
A business-effective solution to counter these challenges is the Learning Needs Analysis (LNA). LNA throws clarity to determine the gap between existing skills, knowledge, and abilities of employees on the one hand, and those that are needed for the organization to function at the desired level and more.
LNA is particularly vital in today’s changing workplace as new technologies and flexible working practices are becoming widespread, leading to corresponding changes in the skills and abilities needed
An effective LNA serves to monitor current organizational performance, anticipate future shortfalls or problems, identify types and levels of training required, and analyze how this can best be provided. Such analysis helps channel resources into areas where they will contribute the most to employee development, enhancing morale and organizational performance.
Training needs can be sorted broadly into three types – one, that arise from monitoring, two, those an organization can anticipate, and three those that result from unexpected problems. Given this can and will happen across different functions in an organization, it is imperative to efficiently integrate learning needs. This will eliminate squandering of limited resources in duplicating efforts. A well thought out LNA achieves this end. It also enables organizations identify priority needs and eliminate those that are not essential.
An efficient learning needs analysis will help organizations
- Identify the competencies, skills and knowledge employees already have, and need developing
- Evaluate what can realistically be achieved, given the available resources
- Increase the sense of ownership and involvement of employees
- Determine the results that can be expected and how they can be measured
Organizations need to make this a continuous, sustainable activity that shows tangible benefit in monetary and non-monetary terms. This calls for a continued commitment to the necessary resources. The four major stakeholders involved in such an exercise are the senior leadership, middle and senior level managers, subject matter experts (SME) and trainers. Given its complexity, it is impractical and unsustainable for an organization to deploy full time SMEs and trainers.
Qualified and specialist consultants bring in the following advantages
- With their diverse experience of serving multiple clients, knowledge and expertise are well institutionalized in consulting firms. This provides the best possible solution customized to the organization’s requirements
- Companies often need a fresh set of eyes – and consultants can add tremendous value based on the most mundane observations and insights
- Consultancies have a breadth of resources that they can bring to bear on problems (data mining, analytics, primary market research…).