In the words of words of Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” Think about your past, present and future training providers. Regardless of what your organization’s needs are, it’s imperative to understand the power of a well-thought-out and well-executed training program that is founded on a common purpose and aligned with your organization’s goals. To ensure your training outsourcing provider can achieve this goal, consider these four things before you sign on the dotted line.

1. The Learning Methodology

At the core of every training initiative is the need to provide employees with new information that tells them how or why to do something. Though the content may be similar, the way in which training outsourcing providers teach this information to your employees will vary – and those teaching methods can make or break the success of your investment.

Because the transfer of new knowledge is an intellectual activity, it will not always resonate with everyone in attendance. When considering training providers, consider the way they train employees just as seriously as what they train. Ultimately, you want to seek out a provider whose training methodology your learners and will engage them with the training content in a way that effectively changes their attitudes, skills and behaviors long-term. Most employees learn best and retain the most information when it involves learning by doing, so a provider that incorporates interactive, experience-based learning may be a good option for your training and development needs.

2. Customization Abilities

In order to maximize your investment in outsourced training, it must be customized to the needs of your organization and its employees. Seek out a provider with the ability to customize the program to meet your needs and make it your own by using your organization’s terminology, look and feel. Ultimately, the work put into customizing and personalizing training will ensure that it seamlessly aligns with the rest of your corporate initiatives and builds the relevance necessary to engage your audience and inspire them to change their behaviors.

A truly customized training program will effectively integrate business relevance, corporate uniqueness and pragmatic content. To achieve this goal, look for a provider that can:

  • Help with content selection and creation or even adapt your existing or past materials
  • A selection of training approaches and methodologies (e.g., experiential learning, case studies, videos)
  • Provide design support to create a unique look, feel and theme for all training materials

3. The Importance of Partnership

In many cases, your training provider will help your organization solve some of its most pressing challenges, fill skills gaps and solidify future talent – activities that not only directly impact the bottom line but also involve delicate internal matters. Therefore, it is crucial that your training provider is your partner. The ideal partnership is based on trust that allows you to collaborate on even the toughest challenges, easily adapt to change and provide two-way insight on areas for improvement so that both parties succeed.

The ideal training partner will also be willing to adjust its approach based on your organization’s unique structure, internal dynamics and cultural values. Having the ability to introduce unique content that addresses your specific needs can mean the difference between mediocre training and a program that creates lasting behavior change and delivers ROI.

4. Reinforcement and Measurement Support

You and your training provider can design and implement good training, but if your employees don’t see how it’s relevant to their jobs, success may elude you. Moreover, it is one thing to know how to do something or behave a certain way, but it is another to use those new skills in the “heat of battle.” There are many things working against the application of training content back on the job, including old habits, time pressure, peer pressure, lack of support from a supervisor, lack of personal confidence and just plain forgetting what was learned. This is where post-training support shows its value.

Having a partner that can build a training reinforcement and measurement strategy will ensure that you are maximizing the impact of training and minimizing learning decay. Ongoing post-course reinforcement keeps the learning top of mind and ensures that employees remember and use the principles they’ve been taught once they’re back on the job. In addition, it’s important to track and measure progress to ensure that the learning – and the investment – is sustained. Remember that measurable ROI is what separates a decent training program from a highly effective one, and your training provider should support you every step of the way.

It is possible to create a thoughtful, effective and transformative training program. The key is to select the right training provider that can become an integral partner with your organization. To find this coveted partnership, carefully evaluate your provider’s learning methodology, customization capabilities, partnership mindset, and reinforcement and measurement options.