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Identifying training requirements in 8 simple steps

A guide for executives, HR managers, and personnel developers


Do you know your employees’ training requirements? How do you identify them? It is neither a secret nor a surprise to hear that the rapid pace of technological development is forcing companies to constantly expand and adapt their employees’ skills. Skills that are important today may become less so tomorrow. Only those who adapt and make smart use of their competitive edge will be able to stay at the front of the pack. 

Find out what methods are available to help you identify training requirements, and implement our super simple step-by-step guide at your company. So you can continue to be a front-runner or even pave the way as a thought leader.


Why identify training requirements?

Before you start planning training measures for your employees, you should identify their training requirements.  This enables you to precisely determine which skills your employees already have and where there are skill gaps. Without this clear data foundation, your training initiatives will overlook the actual need and therefore waste resources.

When identifying training requirements, plan training measures based on reliable data, not on instinct. This data forms the basis for strategic decisions in personnel development. Determine where investment in training is most urgently needed and deploy your resources accordingly. This is not just about closing skill gaps, but also about promoting and developing talent.


Advantages of determining training requirements for employees

By precisely identifying your training requirements, you can offer your employees the following benefits:

  • Tailored career development
  • Acquisition of skills that are crucial for their current and future roles
  • Motivation and commitment through personalized training initiatives
  • Being able to adapt to new technologies and processes more quickly
  • Greater satisfaction with their job and the company

Advantages of determining training requirements for companies

  • Targeted training increases the efficiency of personnel development
  • Competitive advantage of having highly trained specialists
  • Targeted talent development promotes loyalty and retention
  • Fast responses to changes in the market or in technology
  • Positive and proactive corporate culture that attracts more talent

Identifying training requirements: The methods available to you

In modern personnel development, you have various methods at your disposal to precisely identify training requirements. These use both quantitative and qualitative data to paint a comprehensive picture of your employees’ current skills and learning needs. There is no “one-size-fits-all” method. Use a combination of different approaches to achieve the best possible results. Which ones you choose depends on your resources, the number of employees, and your corporate culture. Here are some of the most common approaches to identifying training requirements:


Performance appraisals

Identify skill gaps by regularly assessing your employees’ work performance. These evaluations often provide direct indications of training needs. Performance assessments can come from different sources. Assessments from superiors or direct colleagues provide a good insight. In the case of managers, it is also worth taking a look at appraisals from their subordinates. These provide good information about their leadership and communication skills. 

Have your employees also submit a self-assessment. There is a need for action if there is a major discrepancy between their own perceptions and those noted by others.


Competence analyses

This involves defining the skills required for certain roles and comparing them with your employees’ current skills. This helps you to identify specific training requirements. 

Example of a skills analysis in the development department of a large software company: 
The HR department conducts interviews with leading software developers and their superiors. These help the team to understand in detail which technical and soft skills are required. Based on the information collected, the HR team creates a competency model that includes skills such as programming languages (e.g. Python, Java), an understanding of agile development methods, communication skills, and the ability to work in interdisciplinary teams.


Employee feedback

Direct feedback from your employees—whether through surveys, interviews, or regular feedback sessions—provides valuable insights into their training requirements. Use a feedback questionnaire for this purpose. This keeps the data consistent, structured, and comparable. 

An effective feedback form contains the following elements:

  • General information (name, department, etc.)
  • Evaluation of current training programs
  • Needs assessment (required skills, requests for tools and topics)
  • Questions about personal development
  • Space for suggestions and additions

Technology-based data analysis

Modern HR technologies and learning management systems (LMSs) often offer advanced analysis tools that automatically collect and evaluate data regarding learning progress and outcomes.

Some LMSs are able to gather data automatically. Every time your employees start or complete a learning unit or take a test, the system records these actions. By connecting the LMS to your existing company systems, you will be able to supplement your data analysis with existing employee data. 

The LMS uses algorithms to analyze the data gathered. It can identify which learning modules are used most frequently, which are perceived as difficult (based on test results and repetition rates), and how effective the materials are at improving specific skills. This information helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the current training program.

Based on the analysis, the LMS makes specific recommendations for all employees or for whole departments. It recognizes which skills need to be improved and suggests appropriate courses or materials. These recommendations are based on a combination of the employees’ career goals, the requirements of their current positions, and the company’s overarching business goals.


360-degree feedback

This method of identifying training requirements gathers feedback from everyone who interacts with your employees, including superiors, colleagues, subordinates, and sometimes even customers. The broad spectrum of perspectives paints a detailed picture of their strengths and areas that require improvement.

The challenge lies in evaluating the feedback in a meaningful and fair way. First of all, make sure that the feedback questions are well-structured and relate directly to the skills that are relevant to the position in question. For a fair evaluation of the feedback, it is advisable to look for recurring themes or patterns in the responses rather than focusing on individual opinions. The aggregated data provides valuable insight into areas where training is needed or where an employee is performing particularly well. You can then discuss the results of the feedback with the employees concerned in order to draw up training plans based on specific responses. This makes 360-degree feedback an effective tool for targeted personnel development and helps to ensure you deploy training resources where they will bring the greatest benefit.



Benchmarking is a systematic process in which you compare your processes, performance, and practices with those of other leading companies in the same or other industries. This comparison helps you identify performance gaps and understand how other companies are achieving top results. The aim of benchmarking is to learn from the best practices of others, improve your own methods, and thus gain a competitive advantage.

Benchmarking involves evaluating operational processes, quality assurance, cost management, and customer service, among other things. By analyzing how similar tasks are handled elsewhere, you will be able to optimize the processes in your company, implement innovative solutions, and increase their efficiency and effectiveness. In doing so, you also determine the training requirements for your employees by checking whether or not the skills required for the realignment are already available at your company. 


What technologies can help identify training requirements?

Learning and development

Learning management systems

From small to fully comprehensive: Knowledgeworker Share, eFront, Cornerstone SBX, and Cornerstone CSX. Find your perfect match. 

People experience platform

Learning experience platform

Use the state-of-the-art EdCast LXP by Cornerstone to professionalize your training strategy.

Skills graph

Skill management

With the right skill management setup, you can expand your personnel development processes to gain important insights into your employees’ skills.

Performance management

Performance management

Foster and optimize your employees’ performance in line with your company’s goals.

Talent management

Talent management

Easily recognize your employees’ skills, abilities and potential, and make high-potential candidates visible.

Central personnel processes

Central HR platform

Organize your personnel data centrally and combine all your data together on a single platform.


Identifying training requirements—step-by-step guide for companies

Use this guide to identify your training requirements, and then align your training strategy precisely and effectively to them. Ensure your employees develop the skills they need to achieve both their personal goals and those of the company. Stay proactive and keep your training programs up-to-date and relevant.

Step 1

Define the objectives for your training measures. Clarify what you want to achieve with the training courses. Align your goals with the company’s objectives.

Step 2

Analyze your employees’ existing skills. Carry out a detailed skills analysis. Use direct evaluations, performance appraisals, and feedback from superiors and colleagues. If possible, include data from your LMS or LXP. Various software solutions can help you analyze the data in a meaningful way. 

Step 3

Recognize skill gaps. Compare the skills you currently have with the skills you need. Identify the specific areas in which training is required.

Step 4

Prioritize the training measures. Not all gaps are equally critical. Prioritize training requirements based on their urgency and impact on business goals.

Step 5

Select suitable training methods. Decide on the formats and resources that best suit your employees’ learning objectives and ways of working. Consider eLearning, blended learning, and scenario-based learning.

Step 6

Implement the training courses in your training plan. Plan and organize the training sessions. Make sure that all logistical and content-related aspects have been considered. 

Step 7

Evaluate the success of your training courses. Gather feedback and measure performance before and after training. Use this data to evaluate the effectiveness of the training measures and make adjustments if necessary.

Step 8

Continuously adapt your training programs. Your company’s needs and environment are constantly evolving. Respond to this by constantly adapting and improving your training approaches.


The bottom line on identifying training requirements

By identifying training requirements, you ensure that your employees develop the skills they need to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of work. Use this step-by-step guide to design effective training programs and maximize your investment in your employees.

Remember that precise training tailored to your employees’ individual requirements ensures that your company will remain agile and competitive. Use the technologies and methods available to you to fully exploit your employees’ potential and future-proof your company. We can support you in designing your training measures and implementing modern technologies for your personnel development.

Nadine Pedro
[Translate to English:] Nadine Pedro, chemmedia AG
Nadine Pedro
eLearning author

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