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Human resource service knowledge article

Learning Needs Analysis: Filling in the Gaps

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Training & Development

Previously we have discussed how beneficial it can be to support ongoing employee learning and professional development; how it benefits both the employee as well as the employer in terms of improved skills, retention, and more.

But how do you identify where these opportunities for development lie? The answer is Learning Needs Analysis.

Conducting a Learning Needs Analysis

There are two main approaches used in conducting a learning needs analysis. Both involve creating and/or updating position descriptions for each role, then identifying gaps between the role as outlined and your organization’s workforce.

• Competency-Based Approach: For this approach, the focus is on the Qualifications section of the Position Description to identify needed soft skills and personal attributes. From there, a Competency Framework is created for each job within the organization. Afterwards, a checkmark exercise is completed for each individual employee to see where they are lacking in terms of the knowledge needed to perform their job.

This method is most useful in a learning organization where they value soft skills vs. hard skills; that is, companies where creative thinking and innovation are paramount to the organization’s success. For example, healthcare institutions where employees must keep their knowledge up-to-date on a regular basis.

• Skills-Based Approach: For this approach, the focus is on the Responsibilities section of the Position Description to identify the skills needed to perform specific work tasks. Using that information, a Skills Catalogue can be created for each job within the organization. Again, it would then be another checkmark exercise for each individual employee to see where they are lacking in terms of skills needed to perform their job.

This method is most useful in more structured organizations where they value results vs. effort; that is, industries where precision and consistency are paramount to the organization’s success. For example, a manufacturing plant, chemical processor, or engineering firm where mistakes can have detrimental consequences.

While it provides invaluable insight into the skills within the organization, performing a Learning Needs Analysis is a very time-consuming activity. Your Honiva HR Services Consultant can help you determine the best way to carry out this analysis within your organization, and how to use the resulting data to improve professional development programs.

Here to Help

We can be reached for a free confidential consultation at +1-403-470-5350 or [email protected] For further details on additional HR service offerings, please visit our website at https://www.honiva.com or follow along for more informative tips by joining us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We also run a complementary LinkedIn and Facebook group called “Insights by HonivaHR” where you can access free information on how to become an effective and legally compliant employer. Or you can sign-up for our quarterly newsletter to have help sent straight to your inbox from our company homepage.

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