Performance Needs Analysis versus Training Needs Analysis

Performance Needs Analysis versus Training Needs Analysis


When faced with a performance issue, many organizations believe they are doing their due diligence by performing a “training needs analysis” to address the issue. However, what they should be doing is a Performance Needs Analysis (PNA). A Performance Needs Analysis has a broader scope. A PNA opens the scope of the analysis and looks past training as the only solution.

Unfortunately, many organizations assume that if employees are not doing something well or correct, they need more training. This is not always the case. Traditional training models only solve the problem of lack of knowledge or skill. A performance issue caused by lack of resources, processes, or motivation will not be solved by training.

Many training needs analysis conducted by organizations only determines if training should be conducted, and if so, what skill or knowledge is lacking. Other training needs analysis jump to the conclusion that training is the solution and only address – what knowledge or skill is lacking. Neither approaches to the training needs analysis considers other possible solutions besides training. This is the old adage by Abraham Maslow “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” Meaning if you only do a training needs analysis, you tend to see the solution as training.


Addresses Performance Problems

To truly and effectively address a performance problem, an organization needs to conduct a Performance Needs Analysis and not a training needs analysis. A Performance Need Analysis will determine what the root cause is and how to best address that cause. It opens the possible solutions to include changing work processes, rewarding employees, or buying new equipment.


Performance Needs Analysis versus Training Needs Analysis

The scope of the training needs analysis is limited compared to the scope of a performance needs analysis. Performance need analysis is a much more comprehensive method that also addresses motivation, resources, and processes.


Training Needs Analysis

  1. What is the skills or knowledge the employee lacks?


Performance Needs Analysis

  1. Does the employee lack the skill or knowledge necessary?
  2. Does the employee have the resources and/or equipment to successfully perform their tasks?
  3. Is the employee motivated to performance their job functions?
  4. Does the processes allow the employee to effectively preform there job functions?



About Training Needs Analysis

A training needs analysis is a process designed to determine what knowledge or skill(s) is lacking. It establishes the difference between the employee’s current level of skill or knowledge and the desired level of skill and knowledge. It also addresses what is needed to attain the desired level of skill or knowledge.


About Performance Needs Analysis

Performance Needs Analysis is a process that systemically identifies and addresses performance issues and opportunities by examining the performance gap, root cause, and possible interventions.




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