Conducting a TNA

For this week’s blog post I spent some time reviewing Men’s Wearhouse, a retailer of men’s clothing. The company was established over 40 years ago and pride themselves on providing world class customer service. If conducting a training needs analysis on this entity, there are several factors to consider, including the organization, the people and the tasks they are assigned to perform. Training needs analysis (TNA) is a “systematic method of determining what caused performance to be less than expected or required,” (Blanchard & Thacker, 2007, p. 101). The TNA requires a thorough and objective look at the organization. It is only through understanding the organization and the performance issue that we can determine the next steps to address the performance gap. Like any program evaluation, this analysis cannot be successful without identifying the key stakeholders and gaining their buy-in (Fitzpatrick, Sanders, & Worthen, 2011).

A TNA at this company must include the CEO, a representative of the board of directors, the Training Manager, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Chief Operating Officer, Store Operations, front line staff and even the customers. Their feedback will be necessary to determine the performance gap to address. They will also have opinions on the best options to treat the gap, provide the necessary funding, and participate where required to ensure execution.

I would conduct three analysis: organizational, person and task. An organizational analysis is intended to determine the goals and objectives of the organization and how training will support these. A task analysis will identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities the learners must possess to perform at optimal levels (Noe, 2013). While the person analysis identifies the individuals who need training and their readiness for training (Noe, 2013). There are many questions which you can pose to the stakeholders in these analyses. At a minimum, the following questions will be asked in the analysis identified in the left column.

Analysis Questions Who to ask
Organizational What are the goals and objectives of the organization? Top management
  How does the intended program align with the strategic needs of the business? Training Manager
  Which persons or group have an interest in seeing training succeed? Whose support do we need? Training Manager
  Is there a general understanding of the goals and objectives? Supervisors, department heads, incumbent
  Are there policies, procedures,  or rules that inhibit performance? Department heads, supervisor, incumbents
  How are jobs organized? Top management, supervisors, department heads, incumbents
  Does the job in any way inhibit incumbents from being top performers? Top management, supervisors, department heads, incumbents
  How does employees know what level of performance is acceptable? Supervisors, incumbents
Person What is the average age range of expected training participants? Training Manager, supervisors
  What are the learners’ educational background? Training Manager
  Are there any special needs we will need to cater to e.g. hearing impairment? Supervisors
  How are learners made aware of poor performance? Supervisors, incumbent
  Are learners aware of the performance expectations? Supervisors, department heads, incumbents
  What tools does the employee need to carry out their assigned tasks? Do they have access to all these tools Incumbent, supervisor
Task What are the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to carry out each task successfully? Supervisor, incumbent
  What are the duties and tasks expected for this job? Supervisor, incumbent

 

There is usually no one best way to conduct an analysis and indeed research advocates for a multi-method approach (Fitzpatrick, Sanders, & Worthen, 2011). In keeping with this suggestion, I would make use of interviews, observations, questionnaires, and document review when conducting this TNA. I would ensure I review performance appraisals, sales records, and job descriptions.

References

Blanchard, P. N., & Thacker, J. W. (2007). Effective Training: Systems, Strategies and Practices (3rd ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Fitzpatrick, J. L., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B. R. (2011). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

 

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2 thoughts on “Conducting a TNA

  1. Great summary! I really liked how organized your questions were and how the entire summary flowed. You helped me make sense of the TNA. You shared a great point stating that, “it is only through understanding the organization and the performance issue that we can determine the next steps to address the performance gap. Like any program evaluation, this analysis cannot be successful without identifying the key stakeholders and gaining their buy-in (Fitzpatrick, Sanders, & Worthen, 2011).” This type of stakeholder involvement from the beginning is crucial for success. One of the greatest ways to keep these individuals involved is including them from the beginning and getting “buy-in” early. Getting “buy-in” from your key stakeholders, clients and project sponsors is crucial for a projects success. Portny et al., (2008) states that those who “will work on a project or will be affected by its outcome are more likely to support the project if they’re confident that the project team hears their concerns and issues” (p.67). Allowing the voices of the group to be heard early on will save you time and effort later when things need to be changed. Greer (2010) states that, “if you don’t involve all stakeholders in an active and engaged fashion from the beginning, you are likely to suffer the consequences of rework when they finally figure out what you and your project team are up to and they then take action to leave their mark on it!” (p.10).

    Fitzpatrick, J. L., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B. R. (2011). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

    Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.

    Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    Like

  2. Dear Camille

    I enjoyed reading your post. I liked that you factored in a question on employees with special needs, and I would suggest extending that to all stakeholders including the customers and the employees themselves, not just the supervisors. When we say special needs, we also include workers aging into disability, particularly with changing population demographics in the United States (Moon and Baker, 2012). The consequences of including the persons with needs in the assessment are quite striking in the study by Moon and Baker (2012), with 89% of participants feeling that the employer lacked clarity in what is deemed an accommodation. You can see how this ties into training and performance.

    Neville

    References:
    Moon, N. W., & Baker, P. M. (2012). Assessing Stakeholder Perceptions of Workplace Accommodations Barriers Results From a Policy Research Instrument. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 23(2), 94-109.

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