No matter how large or small your business is, learning and development (L&D) is essential for it to grow. Once considered an “added” expense, corporate training has now become an invaluable asset for companies that want to attract and retain the most talented people and create more inclusive and productive workspaces.
However, with so many avenues and resources available to help you improve your organization’s L&D efforts — from optimized educational video content to in-person workshops and everything in between — it can be challenging to figure out the best option for your organization, especially in terms of deciding whether to create and deliver everything in-house, outsource all of your efforts, or something in between.
To help with that choice and bring you closer to the results your company needs, we’ll contrast both in house and outsourced training, and will provide insight into what each option brings to the table.
Outsourcing Training: The Three Basics (Cost, Time, Quality)
When it comes to outsourcing your company’s L&D, there are three key considerations you need to keep in mind:
- Cost: The most important thing to consider in terms of cost is whether outsourcing would be more cost-effective for your company. For example, if financial constraints prevent you from creating an in-house eLearning program, outsourcing may be the wisest approach.
Conversely, if your business needs consistent training efforts, investing in developing an internal learning program might be the best way to go, as it might represent an investment that will deliver returns for years to come.
- Time: Ensure you have a clear timeline for meeting your training needs and that the provider you’re considering working with can commit to meeting those deadlines. It takes time to set up and get a fully functioning training pipeline going, and you need to manage your workforce training needs as well as your production and working schedules — all of which require flexibility and adaptability
Most providers offer different options when it comes to delivery timetables and have a lot of leeway to adapt to your particular situation, so look for one that offers timely solutions that fit your organization’s needs.
- Quality: While cost and time may be important, you should never sacrifice quality for either of these factors. If shortcuts are taken, or corners are cut, it’s best to look elsewhere for a provider who will deliver top-notch service and courses.
Look for providers who offer tailored materials to meet your organization’s and employees’ unique needs. Additionally, seek out those who use innovative learning methods such as simulations, virtual reality (VR), and gamification to ensure that your company’s training is engaging and effective.
Finding the Best Option To Outsource Your Organization’s Training
Outsourcing L&D effectively means having the right people, strategy and tools in place to ensure that your team is taught correctly and equipped with the skills they need to do their job, even if this process doesn’t happen in-house. But how you go about achieving this will depend on a variety of factors, like the size of your organization, the type of industry you’re in, the resources you have available, and more.
That said, there are a few key steps you’ll want to take to ensure adequate L&D outsourcing.
1. Outline Your Needs
First, it’s imperative to identify what kind of knowledge and skills you want your employees to develop. Do some research ahead of time — look into the highest-performing companies in your industry and see what they’re doing to stay ahead of the curve. Then, determine which skills are most critical for your organization to thrive.
2. Find a Few Suitable Options
Once you have a clear picture of your company’s L&D needs, it’s time to look for potential service providers to meet them. There are plenty of organizations out there that specialize in corporate training and employee development, so do some due diligence.
Request referrals from other businesses or individuals who have used their services before. Read online reviews and compare pricing structures — all these things will help you make the best decision for your organization.
3. Remain Flexible and Don’t Rush Into a Decision
Flexibility is another key factor in finding the best options to handle your workforce’s training. Look for a company that can provide customized solutions specific to your needs, whether that means on-site instruction, online courses, or another delivery method.
4. Establish Contact and Gauge Response
Effective communication is also essential to effective L&D outsourcing. Establish a clear line of communication with your potential provider(s) to get more detailed information on what they can do for your organization, and consider how communication flows at this stage — it’s often a good indication of how things will perform later on and should help you make a good decision.
5. Evaluate the Results and Iterate
Don’t forget to evaluate any training initiatives after they’ve been completed. Ask for employee feedback and review how the training improved their performance. Did new skill sets increase efficiency, lead to better customer service, or help close sales faster?
All of these are necessary measurements that can be used to determine the effectiveness of your outsourcing efforts and help you determine if it’s delivering on your expectations.
In-house Training Vs. Outsourcing: Which One Is Right for You?
Once you understand the basics of what’s involved in outsourcing your company’s L&D, it’s time to decide: Should you keep all training initiatives in-house or outsource them as needed?
Ultimately, this is a business call that must be made based on your company’s specific situation and budget. In some cases, keeping everything in-house may be more cost-effective; however, if your organization doesn’t have a robust training department or individuals with the right skill set to execute these initiatives properly, outsourcing may save money in the long run.
In-house training allows your team to work directly with instructors in a familiar environment, while outsourcing gives you access to a wide range of experts without straining resources.
For example, corporate training video companies can take the brunt of the production headaches that come attached to producing video content and eliminate the need of having to set up a dedicated team to take care of it yourself.
Furthermore, outsourcing training enables you to have access to specialized experts for each one of your projects, making it an efficient and time-saving solution.
Outsourcing Isn’t a One-size-fits-all Solution!
It also helps to remember that not every type of training needs to be outsourced.
For instance, certain skill sets, such as information technology (IT) support or software development, might be better suited for in-house training since they often require instruction that’s tailored to their specific organization. Conversely, leadership and management training is better left to experienced professionals.
Similarly, if you need to provide employees with additional knowledge and certifications such as CPR or first aid training, outsourcing will often be the most cost-effective option, as those types of certifications require materials and training spaces you aren’t likely to have access to.
One of the limitations of outsourcing training is that it doesn’t always allow for the same depth of instruction as an in-house program. Though faster and less expensive, outsourcing also carries some risks as far as quality assurance is concerned.
In-house Training Presents Its Own Unique Challenges
Consider that in-house training can be more expensive due to facility costs, materials, and staff time, even if it also means greater control over the entire process.
In-house training can also demand more from you than just keeping track of your resources and allocating budget, as time and physical or digital spaces will also have to be designated to handle the process.
All in all, it’s important to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both options (e.g., outsourced vs. in-house training) before making a decision, as no option is entirely superior to the other, and what the “right” choice is will vary from situation to situation.
The Key Benefits of Outsourcing L&D
It’s clear that outsourcing your company’s L&D can bring a lot to the table under the right circumstances. And while outsourcing is not the right solution for every business, let’s quickly go over some of the key benefits it can provide before you go:
- Reduced Costs: by outsourcing L&D, businesses can reduce expenses, as they don’t have to hire additional staff or invest in equipment and spaces to handle training
- Increased Efficiency: outsourcing allows your business to access experienced professionals specializing in a particular field of training, helping you quickly and effectively reach your company’s learning objectives.
- Access to Experts: by outsourcing these services, you can quickly tap into a diverse pool of professionals that can help your organization reach its goals without investing the time it would take to achieve the same level in-house.
- Focusing on Core Strengths: when you outsource your training, your organization can devote more attention and energy to running the business and managing employees.
- High-quality Learning Experiences: by working with experienced trainers and established corporate training companies, businesses can ensure that they are benefitting from the most up-to-date teaching methods and techniques to deliver their content.
Overall, outsourcing L&D initiatives can benefit businesses in terms of cost savings and access to experienced professionals. That much is a given.
However, it is essential to carefully evaluate both options before deciding to ensure the best possible outcome. Additionally, it’s important to set clear objectives and deadlines as well as monitor progress throughout the project.
Luckily, with proper planning and evaluation, you can leverage the advantages of outsourcing training without sacrificing quality or results. So, it’s time to start evaluating which option is right for your company!