Internal V's External Training?

I think a measuring factor in a person/company is honesty. It’s this transparency that can build trust and strengthen a relationship. We speak to a lot of people and hear from all different types of companies in all sorts of situations every week – there are a wide variety of different situations, for example; some don’t want to know about or consider anything to do with developing their management (yes, really!!), some already have training providers, some have run out of budgets, some are tendering a requirement and some already have internal training resource set up within the organisation and want to explore outsourcing some training.

I’ve had many conversations with HR and L+D professionals about the pro’s and con’s of using external training providers as opposed to using their internal resource for a project and whenever this question is asked, I always like to give an honest answer, if what we provide doesn’t fit with what you are trying to achieve, we will say! It is far more important for us to gain long-term trust and be there to fulfill a need that we have expert knowledge in rather than to try and provide you something you don’t need and us all having an unpleasant experience.

We thought that an article that gives an unbiased account that summerises each side would be beneficial for those who are fortunate to have that internal training resource available...

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Two Types of Training

Whether the guys at the top believe it or not, employee training is essential to both a company’s and individual's effectiveness, which ultimately leads to long term success! As you probably know, there are two different types of training, there is training which revolves around products/services, operations and policies type of training, the other type focuses on knowledge and skills based training. This last type aims to hone in on productivity, performance or effectiveness.

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What Internal Training is Amazing for...

Internal training is really great for products/services, operations and policies type of training. These trainers know the company and they know the product. This can lead to very effective training sessions since the trainers will have polished the programme themselves over time. Being taught by someone who has been there, done that and got the tshirt of the topic that you’re learning about validates the knowledge and provides a nice feeling of cogency.

With this, they also know the most efficient way to do things and this can, in essence, become invaluable information which could save the company a lot of money should the delegate have to learn all the pitfalls themselves through mistakes or inexperience.

The training delivered here is almost always quite informal as it usually is about utilizing the employee and bringing them in line with everyone else’s prerequisite knowledge which is unique to each company so business specific training is (almost) always delivered better internally. At first glance, in-house training may also be the most economical approach.

Tne thing we would say, is that if you are delivering training in-house, have you considered changing the environment that people train in? Often a change of scenery can aid in knowledge transfer, if you think about it, there are no distractions, no emails, no interference from anyone/anything and it frames the training as a dedicated time to gain valuable knowledge. If the surroundings aren’t familiar, it can encourage managers to think outside of the box and develop innovative ideas that maybe they wouldn’t have been able to think of if they were on site in their comfort zone.

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What External Providers Are Amazing for...

Looking at the benefits of outsourcing training (for productivity, performance or effectiveness type training) usually starts with pointing out that a third party company select the trainers they trust and they select the trainers based on their expertise in the subject field. Just sharing this information with delegates will often have greater impact to the training session and provide a more in-depth experience overall as the delegate will realise the benefit of talking to someone who is an expert in that field.

Trainers that deal with this type of training are usually very much geared to working with a variety of learning styles and dealing with lots of different types of personality whilst keeping up-to-date with the latest training methods and theories as they purely concentrate on their specialist subject.

When orgainising training, you want to maximise the effectiveness of the workshop on every delegate and sourcing this externally, using trainers who don’t work within your business or employees, removes any (known or unknown) bias within your teams of workers as bias can sometimes this can have a negative impact on the programme.

Trainers can often be presented with underlying complaints or issues which can be dealt with in the classroom in an objective way by an external trainer rather than an internal trainer who may not be trained themselves to be able to handle it as well.

They won’t have any pre-conceived ideas of what is possible and what’s not within the confines of the organisation, so can drive change quickly and won't fall into the trap of “doing things the way they’ve always been done”. This pushing of the boundaries drives major “out of the box” thinking and training.

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What to Look for in an External Training Company...

The problem that a lot of people usually talk about is putting that trust in a company to deliver exactly what you want. You want to look for a company that understands your needs and which works together with you to develop a programme that fulfills your aims and objectives. Having transparency like this can be the difference between a successful project and a project that doesn’t quite hit the spot.

When you are looking to use external providers for a project, we would recommend selecting a company that can do the things you can’t do as it’s usually what they do best.

Use a company that has a good sized bank of trainers. These companies will select and match the right type of trainer to the requirement of the task. For a varied programme, there will often be multiple trainers with a different specialisms. These trainers are selected with the confidence that they will deliver the workshop/programme to a high standard.

Ask for references. You need to know that the leadership programme that you are responsible for commissioning is going to be effective. Good companies should give you a feeling of confidence and demonstrate their knowledge before you sign on the dotted line, if you don’t feel this, you should look into who else out there could provide you with the service you want.

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So, Internal V External...Which Should You Chose?

Just before deciding between external or internal providers, ask yourself if company leaders and the internal trainers can meet the instructional requirement and effectively train employees.

Using internal resources to train can sometimes be a drain on productivity and slow down time to market especially if they are to train on something that they do not specialise in as getting resources together and designing a programme from scratch can take time, time that some companies don’t have.

Sourcing external trainers is a great way to enhance your training program and provide a new perspective to the material. It also provides companies the freedom to concentrate on their core competencies, since logistical details and further requirements are handled by a third party.

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What next...?

If you are looking at putting together a project in the next 12 months and wanted to speak to us to see how we could help you or want to explore the idea of outsourcing a project, let us know when you are available to talk and call our office on 01332 527905.

Our mission is to actively seek out organisations that value their people and support them to develop a skilled, engaged and confident workforce. We make sure that the benefits promised are delivered and are delivered through our exceptional service. We have UK coverage and provide training to a very high standard so give us a call and one of our friendly team will be able to assist you with your enquiry and discuss what we can do for you.