Business Challenge

The learning & development group at this pharmaceutical company wished to develop a strategic training plan based on a learning needs assessment. The immediate objective of the project was to assess the current and future training needs which serve as the basis for developing a strategic training plan.

TrainSmart Solution

The purpose of the project was to enable and move the client’s training and development efforts forward over a three-year period with a purpose and vision that aligned with their business goals.

The training needs assessment was undertaken to complement the client’s concurrent needs assessment. TrainSmart’s team conducted hour-long interviews with a cross-section of 19 key Medical Affairs personnel to identify their learning needs in four major areas: scientific, functional/departmental, professional development, and technical.

The results surfaced 10 areas of specific training needs, not only in terms of specific topics (i.e., potential courses) but also in terms of enhanced processes and resources.

The Project Approach

Phase 1: Kickoff Project

  • Task 1: TrainSmart learning and development consultant meets with client project management to review project objectives, processes, and expectations.
  • Task 2: The client identifies and selects 16-20 individuals to be interviewed. Individuals should be selected from the following groups:
    • Target audience (6-8)(e.g., 2 physicians/pharmacist, 2 nurses and 2 non-medical/scientific types);
    • Instructors (2-3);
    • Key stakeholders (9-12) (e.g., Medical Affairs, HR, Sr. Management.)
  • Task 3: The client notifies the selected personnel and explains the nature and purpose of the project and their role in it.
  • Task 4: The client pulls together all pertinent information that might be used for training purposes (e.g., process/flow charts, scripts, job description, etc.)
  • Task 5: The client provides an overview of their business processes, goals, and objectives.

Phase 2: Collect Data

  • Task 1: Conduct interviews.
  • Task 2: Review relevant documentation (e.g., business plans, existing training materials, etc.)

Phase 3: Analyze Data (Training Needs)

  • Task 1: Prepare the draft of learning and training needs.
  • Task 2: Client reviews and comments.
  • Task 3: Finalize the learning needs report.

Phase 4: Develop a Strategic Training Plan

  • Task 1: Confirm learning needs report with senior management.
  • Task 2: Draft a strategic training plan.
  • Task 3: Client reviews and comments.
  • Task 4: Finalize strategic training plan.


These needs then became the input for developing a strategic training plan that prioritized and outlined specific development projects to be undertaken by the Learning and Development group over the next two years.