Training Need Identification (TNI)

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


What is the purpose of our life? Why are we born? Are we born only once or we are taking rebirth again and again? If we are born only once, where do we go after that? If we are taking rebirth, do we take birth immediately or there is some gap?

Sometimes we get unexpected success and at times we fail to understand why we are not succeeding in spite of our best efforts! When we meet someone for the first time, at times we feel that the other person understands us very well and sometimes you don’t even like to see a person’s face even though you never met them before!

Throughout our lives, we keep on searching for the reason why it is happening to us, very few people could identify the real reason and the majority of them could not decipher it.    


Knowing how to identify the training needs of employees is the foundation on which the entire training process is built. It makes sense to get it right.

Developing a new employee training (or revitalizing an old one) is a big endeavour. Why? Companies that skip the crucial first step, which is a Training Needs Identification (TNI), may find their training ineffective on every level.

In this blog, we’ll explore different steps related to training needs identification, why it is important for any organization, how to measure its effectiveness and possible industry challenges.

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Competence (ISO 9000: 2015, Cl 3.10.4): Ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results

Skill (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.30): Learned capacity to perform a task to a specified expectation

Knowledge (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.25): Human or organizational asset enabling effective decisions and actions in the context

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Detailed Information

Training needs identification (TNI), also known as training needs analysis, is the structured process of understanding the organization’s and employees’ training requirements.

Well-trained and knowledgeable employees are valuable resources for any business. Here the focus should be placed on the needs of the organization as opposed to the desires of the employees for a constructive outcome.

Identification of training needs is important from both the organizational point of view (for the benefit of all stakeholders or members, including owners, employees, customers, suppliers, and neighbours.) as well as from an individual’s point of view (people have aspirations, they want to develop and to learn and use new abilities, people need appropriate opportunities, resources, and conditions).

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Why Correct TNI is Important?

A Training Needs Analysis looks at the knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees to determine what types of training they need to move their company towards its objectives. There are two key objectives for any TNI. They are

  • to enhance Knowledge
  • To avoid failures

If the organization doesn’t effectively identify the training needs, then it’s like setting your employees adrift on a raft in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. They won’t know which way to paddle, and eventually, they will all get tired and give up!

By systematically identifying the training needs,

  • Organization objectives can be achieved
  • Customer satisfaction can be enhanced
  • Relevant stakeholder’s needs and expectations can be met

Some of the pertinent questions that can be asked during the TNI process can be

  • Which training is to be given to whom?
  • What level of training is to be provided?
  • What kind of results are expected?
  • What kind of training is identified?

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How to Identify Training Needs:

The key idea of training need typically refers to a discrepancy or gap between what an organization expects to happen and what occurs. The entire TNI process can be bifurcated into 3 parts:

  • Following Existing Practices:
    • At the time of recruitment (gap in Job Description),
    • upgrade from existing responsibility & designation like Engineer to Manager. Example: additional role of SCM- Supply Chain Management
    • Job rotation (responsibility Transfer) is like a change from a Quality process to a Production process. Check whether the person is ready for the new role and if not what needs to be done.
    • Annual Appraisal process to identify the gap and plan the training accordingly
  • As per Management Direction: The senior management can have their perspective based on their exposure to the external world. For example- visiting another country like Japan and finding best practices: Quality Circle (QCC), Kanban, Kaizen, 5S or attending some conferences and finding new technologies like IoT-Internet of Things.
  • To Develop a Culture in the Organization: The organization wants to focus on building a new culture or strengthening its existing practices like Safety First, seeing Quality in everything etc.    

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How to Evaluate the Appropriateness of TNI

  • COPQ
  • Internal rejection
  • External rejection
  • Customer rejection
  • Profitability
  • Increase in business share

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Summary: It’s hard to deny that a Training Needs Assessment requires a bit of extra effort. Identifying the training needs of the employees is a crucial task for business and Learning & Development. More importantly, though, it saves time and resources by ensuring that the right training is delivered to the right people in the right way, and for the best results.

If the training needs are not identified correctly, the company may end up providing a one-size-fits-all kind of training, which may not be beneficial in upskilling employees in the long run. 

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Industry Challenges:

  • How often job rotation/change in job responsibility is linked with a review of competency which is generally done during the annual appraisal?
  • Generally, a fixed list of training is available with HR and every year, the same list is shared with the different processes to pick the training from that list! Is that list reviewed and updated?
  • How often are the criteria for training identification for an individual in seniority/position or personnel who deserves that training?

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ISO 9001: 2015

ISO 9002: 2016

ISO 9004: 2018

IATF 16949: 2016

Industry Experts

This is the 168th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” I invite you to ask anything about the above subject. Questions and answers are the lifeblood of learning, and we are all learning. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability and promise to keep personal information confidential.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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