Employee Training Options: Internal vs. External
Employee training is essential to both a company's growth and an individual's success. There are two distinct types of training. One is product/services, policies and operations training, most of which is handled by HR or another internal department. And then there is knowledge and skill-based training that is not company-specific and focuses on productivity, managerial, performance or some other specialized technical skill.
Deciding where to hold training can sometimes be difficult. You may assume that training that involves the “workplace” specifically means that it should be hosted internally, at work. This is not always the case. You need to consider a number of factors that contribute to the learning experience, such as the physical environment of your training space, distractions, technology needs and instructors who will be delivering the training.
Let’s look at internal vs. external training and whether or not to use in-house vs. outsourced instructors.
Internal Training vs. External Training
In-house training typically involves using a company’s HR department, leadership or resident subject matter experts to both develop and deliver the training that is specific to your business. This training tends to be a bit more informal, as you are utilizing staff to deliver information on a product and/or service or teaching a particular skill. Even though the learning is business-specific, you need to consider whether your workplace environment has the technology, space and appropriate environment to deliver an effective training program.
At first glance, conducting this type of training in-house may seem the most advantageous and economical approach since you are using internal resources to deliver the training—and these individuals understand your company culture and are familiar with your business operations. However, ask yourself if an external venue might aid in knowledge transfer, offer a different perspective, or better environment for the transformation of skills and behaviors. For example, a sales training program that focuses on product knowledge and customer qualifying might be better suited to be held off-site with an internally sourced subject matter expert (SME) and outsourced sales skills coach to broaden the benefit of the training. The offsite environment provides the sales team with a distraction-free space and dedicated time to hone skills, role play and absorb product knowledge. This same training conducted in-house, might not be as effective, as they may be pulled to answer emails and be distracted by co-workers.
Sending employees out of the office to learn a new technical skill or improve their management ability or performance can help them develop innovative ideas by thinking outside the box. This can help a stagnant manager get outside of his/her comfort zone by offering new approaches to solve problems or complete projects. Outsourcing training provides companies the freedom to concentrate on their core competencies, since logistical details and technology requirements are handled by a third party. This can save businesses money annually, since they don’t have to have dedicated training resources; however, be aware of the other costs involved such as travel, time spent away from the office and enrollment fees. Working with an outsourced training delivery company that provides virtual solutions is key to helping minimize some of these costs.
In-House or Outsourced Instructors
Before deciding who should conduct your training, ask yourself if company leaders and SMEs can meet the instructional requirement and effectively teach employees. Using internal resources to train can be a drain on productivity and slow down time to market. Sourcing external trainers is a great way to augment your training program, provide a new perspective to the material and speed time to efficiency of learning. As noted by BLR, there are many reasons to outsource professional trainers for employee training:
- Your business is small or just starting, and you do not have qualified employees to handle training.
- You want to refresh all of your employees with across-the-board training, including those normally involved with training procedures.
- Your industry requires extensive and stringent government regulations, which you must comply with via training (i.e. OHSA training).
When commissioning professional trainers, you also benefit from their ability to keep up with the latest training methods, while gearing toward a variety of learning styles. Hiring external instructors who are training your workforce in off-site training facilities frees up your business to handle the daily grind. Meanwhile your employees remain well versed in the latest industry changes and corporate policies. Using experts to help you with employee training also removes any bias within your teams of workers, which can sour training programs you provide in-house. Consider this innovative method of providing employee training for your next corporate program.