What is a Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) and when/why do you need one?

There are a few terms in our business that lend so much mystery and specialness to what is in effect the very simple business of developing people, ‘doing an LNA’ is one of them! It’s really simple when you break it down, though and conducting a Learning Needs Analysis is the start point to any effective learning and development strategy.

Put simply, a LNA is a way of
a) identifying the skills and knowledge needed to meet your business goals and
b) identifying any gaps in that knowledge or skill set that the people in your business might have. A LNA aims to answer three questions:
1. What does your business need?
2. What can your people do?
3. Where are the gaps?

Training needs are created where there is a gap between the knowledge, skills and attributes required and those already possessed by employees. Once the gap is identified you can either train to fill the current or future needs of the business, or recruit and buy in specific skills and knowledge. A LNA is not undertaken very often, but it should be, because it is the precursor for creating and developing a learning and development strategy that will deliver real and measurable results. Taking time out to conduct a LNA to ensure that your training is targeted exactly where it’s needed and can demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) is well worth the trouble. If your training provision needs a thorough overhaul, or if your organisation is going through a big change, we would argue that it’s vital! You can also link your LNA to any succession planning to ensure you are growing leaders for the future. A LNA will ensure that the right people have the right development, saving time and money.

If you’d like to know how to make a start, you can read our document here Cerulean LNA Intro