How to Identify Employee Training Needs

Conducting employee training can be a daunting task, particularly when you have a staff with a diverse set of skills and knowledge. It's a waste of company time and money to provide training in areas where employees are already performing to standard. Instead, it's best to first identify the specific employee training needs.

Identify Employee Training Needs

Conduct a job task analysis of the employee (or group of employees) for whom you are identifying training needs. In order to provide effective training, it's necessary to know exactly what the expectations are for the job. You can gather some of this information by observation and by asking employees to provide you with either verbal or written descriptions of what their jobs entail.

Compare employee performance to the job expectations and identify the areas in which there are discrepancies. Identify whether the discrepancy is due to work process issues, such as not knowing how to complete a specific task, or personnel issues, such as not wanting to complete a specific task. Work process issues can be addressed with employee training, while personnel issues are better addressed by an employee review process.

Schedule a meeting with all of the employees involved, asking them to bring with them lists of what they consider to be the top five areas in which they feel more training is needed. Share the lists as well as your own observations.

Group training issues by category. For example, learning a new computer program would fall into the same category as learning how to use a new piece of equipment, but reviewing customer service strategies would be better categorized with other policy review issues.

Prioritize training needs as a group, taking into account that those that have an immediate effect on business performance or employee safety are the most important. Discussing your business goals with your employees can also be helpful in this process. Knowing the desired outcome can assist employees in telling you what they need to know in order to help the company achieve its goals.


  • Use a prioritized list to schedule group training sessions, or consider creating a mentor program in which employees who excel at tasks are paired with employees who need additional training in these areas. Needs that are identified for a select few employees still need to be addressed via individual employee action plans.

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