Performance Gap to Needs Analysis

Although performance gap and training needs analysis are separate entities, they work in a pragmatic way in the context of a workplace.

A good business is always looking for ways to improve. There are lots of different strategies to boost performance but how does a company know which one to adopt? That entirely depends on what the business needs are at the time.

Training of employees is something that every company needs to do, but only when the time is right. Often organizations spend thousands of dollars in frequent training programs for their staff, only to be disappointed when their numbers stay the same.

Although performance gap and training needs analysis are separate entities, they work in a pragmatic way in the context of a workplace. When a request is made by an internal or external client for training and development, don’t immediately start defining training needs and asking about the knowledge and skill requirements for the position.

The first thing to do after getting a training request is to define the performance gap.

Performance Gap

A performance gap is a difference in the performance of the current situation and the intended situation. It is the shortfall between what the target person or team is achieving and what the company expects of them.

Do a performance gap analysis to find out why the anticipated results were not achieved. It determines what knowledge or skills are lacking in the performance of an employee for a particular role.

If you do not find a performance gap, then managers should ask themselves how they can train the team for the future. Other instances of when training needs arise are when the company is expanding and taking on new kinds of tasks, or when you want to raise the bar using new techniques and methods.

Does the employee need training?

Once you have identified and understood the performance gap, you need to determine whether the shortfall is due to missing knowledge or skills. If the gap in performance is not because of a lack of capabilities, then they should look into the workplace context and look for causes of the problems that the person is facing in their work.

Training cannot always fix problems with delivering optimal performance. Perhaps the problem is due to inefficient use or lack of equipment. The cause may be conflicts with colleagues or simply that the employee isn’t motivated or happy. These issues do not have a training need and performing a needs analysis would be futile. The individual who requests the training must be informed that it is something that cannot address the issue. They should research the problem and suggest an alternative strategy suitable for the situation.

However, if the performance gap is due to missing skills and knowledge, then a detailed needs analysis should be done. It analyzes what tasks the position undertakes, and the knowledge and skill requirements of the role. The upper management then takes those into account and includes them in performance design.

Training Needs Analysis

Training Needs Analysis is used to identify the gap in the training and development needs of staff members. It works on an individual level or a group of people. It also adds to the professional value of the individual and helps them grow and develop their careers as well.

Through the training needs analysis, the company can diagnose what the learning needs of its employees are. Professional trainers who perform the training follow a structured methodology, which links training needs with business objectives using credible internal and external data.

The training needs analysis is a process and is the first step in discovering the true skills/knowledge that is needed from employees so they can effectively and efficiently carry out their job. Organizations differ in approach, but there are five common basic steps:

1. Identify the objectives of the organization

After you have identified expected business outcomes and goals, link them to a training program(s). Also identify employee behavior critical to achieving desired objectives. These include skills, knowledge, qualities, and capabilities.

2. Appointment of training coordinator/champion

Appoint a training coordinator or training champion to ensure the process runs smoothly without any hiccups or trouble along the way.

3. Gather information on the competencies of the individual

The actual performance not matching the expected results established the performance gap. So, gather information on the training deficiencies of the individual. Experts also collect and publish works on the subject area to fill knowledge and skill gaps.

4. Analyze information

5. Create a training plan after identifying any gap(s)

Learning the shortfall in abilities may occur on the job. Or, the individual had those deficiencies before hiring. Determining how best to instill the desired traits in your staff, helps the training coordinator create a training plan for quick and efficient results.

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