Choosing a training provider seems like it should be a relatively simple task. Find the right content and all you need then is someone to deliver it. After all, training is training. Find the provider, schedule the classes and then you can figuratively “check the box” and it’s done. Right? In a word, “No.” Far from it.
Unfortunately, organizations deploying their training with this mindset don’t realize the cost and missed opportunities for both their employees and their bottom line. In this post, we’ll explore the five best practices to follow when selecting a training provider.
1. Align your training to a larger strategy; make it matter.
Most organizations recognize the need for training, but few tie it to business strategy. Selecting a program with a limited focus rather than addressing the overall needs of the organization is a critical misstep. To ensure that your training program is fully supported financially and logistically, it needs to be tied to performance or alleviate identified pain points. In brief, your training program should not be perceived as an isolated HR or compliance objective. Collaborate with other departments to determine the support they need to meet their objectives and design a more robust program that supports multiple purposes. The result will benefit the company, the training program, and the employees.
2. Set clear objectives and measurements
Lack of clarity around training objectives, and how to measure results is a common mistake. Without setting clear expectations of what the training’s “big win” should be, there are no means of measuring its success. Identifying key metrics is required to measure success and identifying them in advance of the training helps to ensure that training experiences are aligned to the overall objective. Analysis will allow you to make adjustments and improvements, as well as respond to feedback which is the best path to a positive outcome.
3. Know your budget
Establishing and communicating a budget will allow your training provider to build the best and most effective program possible for your employees. When your training provider has up-front clarity about the budget, they can focus on the areas you want to include and recommend additional ways to maximize the investment. It’s important to remember that the provider should be a steward of the financial investment, as well as the investment of your time and energy.
4. Keep an open mind
Keep an open mind when you’re introduced to new methods and different approaches, even if you’re satisfied with your current program. Many times the trainer can introduce ideas that you may not have considered. If you have a trusted training partner, involving them in tailoring a solution can be especially helpful. They can offer insight and provide expert advice about training needs, blended approaches, strategies, and long-term goals.
5. Be conscious of your culture
Be sure you choose a training professional that aligns with, or can adapt to, your organizational culture. The partner you choose should be willing to spend the time learning what they need to be more readily received by your employees. Take an active role in helping to equip the training company with the necessary information and guidance to ensure their success; how to dress, introductions to key leaders and departments, and discussions around the organization’s training goals. These steps will enable your trainer to more easily relate to your employees, complement your culture, and be considered an extension of the company rather than simply a vendor.