Connect with Us: Call Us Today: 1-800-807-8030

Why Training Needs Assessment Is Important To An Organization

Is it necessary for organizations to conduct training needs assessments?

When learning development professionals talk to clients about the benefits and importance of “conducting a training needs assessment, ” they use the “You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint” metaphor.

It’s a good metaphor. And yet, it often fails to convince clients that the time and money spent on the training needs analysis is worth the expenditure.

The question is, ‘Why are companies so willing to forego the training needs assessment step when it is so obvious that conducting a training needs assessment is good business?’

Typically, a client chooses to skip this process for belief, Time, and Money.

  1. Clients believe they already know what training their employees need. In other words, they are not convinced that a needs analysis will provide them with any additional information. “We need a half-day session on team-building training.”
  2. They are out of time. The person hiring the training team often feels pressure from their management to complete the training as soon as possible—“yesterday would be ideal.”
  3. The budget doesn’t support a needs analysis. With limited resources, clients believe they must make a choice – a needs analysis or more people attending the training. Butts in seats win every time.

Clients believe they already know what training their employees need.

Experts report that of the more than 150 billion dollars spent on training in the U.S. each year, most programs skip the needs assessment process. Anna Filas, Director of Instructional Design, eLearning Solutions and Compliance for TrainSMART says. At the same time, most organizations skip formal learning needs analysis, and many do an abbreviated version.

“In many situations, a client knows that a specific performance gap needs to be addressed. Their initial inclination is often to arm the target audience with as much information as possible. More is not necessarily better. What we encourage them to do is to assess what the target audience must learn to close that gap.”

This saves the client time and money. First, design and development time can be significantly reduced when we know our target and can design accordingly.

They are out of time.

Second, the trainees only receive the training that they need, which maximizes their training time while also preparing them to perform those new tasks, apply their new skills, and change their behaviors immediately.

Filas adds, “While that is not a formal needs assessment, it does help prevent clients from creating training that dilutes the important skills and behavior points that need to be learned.”

Without the guidance that a needs assessment provides, three potential missteps occur: some companies overtrain training, others don’t train enough, and others focus on the wrong skills.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy: approximately 90% of new skills learned in corporate training programs are lost after just one year.

How can a training needs assessment reduce that alarming statistic?

By its nature, a training needs assessment hones in on an organization’s current situation.  Rapid changes in the global market, employee demographics, and technology mean traditional training may be out-of-date. The needs assessment helps organizations address the newest and most important performance issues.

Look at leadership training. More training dollars go to programs to enhance leadership and management than any other training category.  Yet, many organizations offer generic leadership training, including modules on building trust, delegation training, engagement, holding candid conversations, and increasing employee engagement.

While nothing is inherently wrong with this type of training, it does not maximize the learning opportunity. With a needs assessment, leadership training can focus on the specific aspects of development that the organization needs the most. The needs assessment helps make the training relevant and realistic for the organization’s immediate needs.

By focusing on the present situation, corporate training can provide training that “sticks,” –resulting in solutions directly tied to business performance, employee engagement, and increased skills.

Most importantly, a needs analysis provides a foundation for evaluating the effectiveness of the training program. How can you tell if you’ve improved if you don’t know where you are?

Do you need help conducting a training needs assessment but don’t know where to start? We can help! Contact us at or fill out the form below.

    Questions This Page Answers

    • Why do we need to do a training needs assessment?
    • The importance of conducting a needs assessment for training
    • What are the benefits of a training needs analysis?