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What is Training Needs Analysis?

Understanding the needs of the organisation and the needs of the employee are not mutually exclusive concepts, yet many businesses introduce training that fits with one but not the other. There are many factors which impact on the training needs of the people in the organisation.

It’s common to find managers who base training on what they personally think is required, using the logic that it worked elsewhere so therefore will work here as well. However different people, different cultures and different organisational goals all require training programmes that are bespoke to their needs.

As technology moves forward at pace, completely disturbing the status quo of the traditional office, companies, departments and staff need to adapt. A thorough training needs analysis (TNA) will ensure that staff are fully equipped with the skills needed to support the operations of the department or the goals of the organisation.

Effective TNA is not just about supporting the development of skills and helping an organisation reach its goals. A thorough TNA programme is integral for ensuring employees remain fully motivated. We’ve all been on training programmes that have included those light bulb moments which allow us to reflect on our performance. When TNA is undertaken correctly it will help to drive motivation, retention and performance amongst your staff.

Who and what should be involved in TNA?

In short everyone. To start with TNA will involve observing the workforce, monitoring performance and undertaking interviews with staff, whilst evidence is gathered. During this stage it is good practice to educate managers in particular on the importance of this work. Furthermore, at this stage mapping out the goals of the organisation, the department and individuals is integral. Only full analysis of all the evidence will allow you to create a bespoke training programme.

What type of Training needs arise?

Typically there are training needs you can predict, some that arise from ongoing monitoring and needs that arise from left-field. Not every need will have the same level of importance so it’s important to have strategies in place to deal with different needs as they arise.

A sudden required change in the regulatory environment in finance, for example, may require a staff training programme to ensure that employees are fully compliant. Training can incur time and monetary costs. When an existing strategy is in place a training programme can be introduced which minimises challenges. Organisational needs, such as developing leaders, can evolve over time and may be predictable, or be enhanced as part of ongoing monitoring.

Ongoing Monitoring

Training Needs Analysis is not a one-time project but an ongoing requirement of the organisation. Staff appraisal programmes can be an indicator of the ongoing training needs. Ongoing monitoring of departmental budgets, customer/stakeholder feedback and staff surveys can all add to the identification of requirements.


Before any training programme is established the needs of the organisation, department and employee should first be identified. Poorly thought out, highly reactive training can create more problems than it solves, leaving staff with a skills gap which can affect performance. Before you start training make sure you’ve collected all the relevant evidence.

Have a quick look at what happened when we helped Nationwide to better understand the successes of its graduate development programme.



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Managing Workplace Stress

The demands of work can be a motivating factor for many people. The pressure is often what drives some individuals to perform, and the feeling some get when they achieve goals can be rewarding. For many others though pressure can be excessive and result in employees becoming stressed. Workplace stress can cause a number of symptoms which include headaches, sickness, insomnia and much more. These days’ companies have a legal requirement to ensure that individuals are protected from workplace stress, although ensuring staff are looked after can have many wider benefits.

What can cause stress?

A wide range of factors can cause workplace stress such as:

  • An excessive workload resulting in staff working more hours than they are contracted to
  • changes in the workplace which leave staff feeling at risk
  • Lack of clarity in the job role
  • Workplace bullying or harassment
  • Issues outside of work which can impact performance such as bereavement or financial worries.

This is not an exhaustive list and many different issues an affect individuals in a variety of ways.

How to Recognise Stress?

As a manager being able to spot stress will enable you to offer the types of support required for the individual. Hopefully your company will have training in place to support managers who are helping those suffering with stress but for those who don’t the types of signs you might look out for include:

  • Change in approach to work such as irritability or prone to angry outbursts
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • Lateness or absence from work
  • Lacking in concentration
  • Staff becoming withdrawn and impacts on office relationships

What to do when you identify stress?

As a manager dealing with workplace stress can be highly challenging. In fact a staff members’ relationship with you can often be the source of the stress. Embracing your suspicions with a private and quiet conversation might be the start point. Certainly a referral to your HR department will give you the support needed to ensure proper actions are put into place.

Managers can help reduce stress themselves by keeping an eye on the distribution of work around the office and making sure staff have taken their full allowance of annual holiday.

Final Thoughts

Workplace stress is a huge problem globally, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggesting that stress now accounts for 40% of all work related illness. Many companies are now tuning in to that challenges that work can create, with confidential support becoming more widely available. However more still needs to be done, but whilst we are aware the stress is an issue we can start to do something about it.

If you want to know more about how Psyence can help your organisation manage workplace stress then contact us to find out more.

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DOP Annual Conference 2016

The annual Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) Conference takes place this week at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham.

The team from Psyence will be in attendance at the event held between the 6th and 8th of January. Our Occupational Psychologists, including Karen Moore, Stephen Smith, Gordon Ryan and Hanna Armstrong, will be covering the Psyence stand at the conference exhibition. Karen and Gordon will also be supporting a number of talks and lectures at the event.

This years’ conference centres on the theme of ‘Resilience in a Challenging World.’  The latest thoughts on how issues such as the environment, technology, population changes and international conflict impact upon the world of work will be just some of the themes discussed.

As ever this promises to be an exciting and insightful event. To keep up to date with the conference please follow the Psyence Twitter feed for latest updates, or by tweeting #DopConf.

If you plan to attend please come over and say ‘Hi’ to our team, it would be great to meet you!