What You Should Look For In An Outsourced Training Partner

Training & Development  |  May 23, 2019

You know that talent development matters. Maybe you’re thinking about developing your own program. However, you also know that you have a lot to learn and so you’ve decided to invest in employee development by working with an outside firm because you know that it will have the expertise to execute a successful program. That’s great!

There are several questions that you should ask yourself when looking for a company to partner with to make sure that you find the one that’s right for you. Here are 7 of the most important.  

Question #1: Does this firm specialize in corporate learning?

You should be able to get an answer from a visit to their website, of course, and a phone call or email exchange will allow you to get into particulars. All learning environments are not the same. A corporate learning environment is different from a K–12, university, or military environment. Does this firm accurately understand the hallmarks of corporate culture and the challenges that such an environment presents?

According to a study from the Association of Talent Development of 2,500 firms that engaged in employee training, firms in the top quarter of the study group, as measured by average per-employee expenditures on training, enjoyed higher profit margins (by 24%) and higher income per employee (by 218%).

Question #2: Does the firm have a track record of success?

Any firm should be able to share with you reports, case studies, and testimonials that clearly demonstrate that it has developed successful training in the past. A training (talent development) firm may also offer to put you in touch with previous and current clients.

You should also find out whether the firm has success working with your specific type and size of business. Are you a small professional services firm? A large telecommunications company? Or work in a highly-specialized field like aerospace engineering? Has  firm you are considering worked for similar companies in the past?

Question #3: Is this firm able to strategize and plan for the future?

You want to know the firm you choose can implement a plan that addresses your current needs, but also your future ones, too. Can they help you formulate a learning strategy? Have they designed a learning organizational structure that is flexible and scalable?

If you want to partner with them over the long-term, will they be able to design training and development activities that can be adapted in the future? LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report reveals that the top priority for executives is that employees be trained in so-called “soft skills” (active listening, diplomacy, communication, empathy, etc.). Their second priority? That talent developers use trends to identify and prevent future skills gaps that can be addressed now.

Question #4: Does the firm have a proven methodology for creating custom training content?

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” training. A great training and development firm knows this and will have a process in place that enables you to work collaboratively to design training content specifically meets your company needs. A great firm will spend time learning about the employees who will be participating in the training and then design content that complements your organizational culture.

Question #5: Can the firm adapt to your organization’s culture?

You are working with a firm because of their expertise in employee training and development, and so should value their knowledge of how to help your employees develop new competencies. That said, an outside firm should be able to adapt to your organization’s culture and needs.

An outsider perspective is important, and a firm may notice issues and challenges that you have  not considered. Excellent instructional and curriculum designers can help you develop solutions for those challenges. But, you also don’t want to feel that you’re being steamrolled, or that your organization isn’t really understood.

This is especially important because according to LinkedIn’s report, 94% of employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in their training. So, working with a training partner that can adapt to your organization’s culture and therefore contribute to a positive learning environment is crucial.

Question 6: Does a firm have multiple modalities to support different learning styles?

A firm that is on top of current learning and development trends will be able to tell you what is the best way to deliver your specific training. At the same time, different people learn best in different ways, whether visually, kinesthetically, or aurally, and a great firm will also be able to take those varying needs into account. LinkedIn’s report also reveals that 58% of employees preferred to do training at their own pace.

Question #7: Will the firm provide management oversight?

Firms should provide two kinds of management: project management, ensuring the successful implementation of training, and functional management. The latter ensures that the right skills are developed, that productivity is increased, and that employees have grown in their capacities.

If you’re ready to work with a training partner, KnowledgeForce can help. Our innovative, application-oriented solutions make learning fun and improve outcomes. Contact us today.

Read our comprehensive employer guide on talent development.

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