If the objective of training is for people to apply learning in the workplace and make an observable difference to an organization’s results, then almost all corporate training fails to achieve its objective.
In a 2000 study, the Association for Talent Development reported 95% of training reached a level where the participants liked the training, but only 37% of training reached a level where participants learned the material, only 13% of training reached a level where participants applied the learning in the workplace, and a dismal 3% of training reached a level where there is an impact on the organization.
Corporate Training involves planning and delivering customized training for business with high return of investment.
Risks Involved in Selecting Trainers
When it comes to Corporate Training programmes you need two things
- The right training provider
- The right programme
But it’s impossible to know everything there is to know about a trainer before you employ them. Spending too much time on trying to get perfect information on the trainer and their product before you make your decision is an expensive process – and it doesn’t guarantee results. No matter how much excellent feedback you have on someone, you still won’t know, for example, how they will perform in your specific corporate environment.
Some of the risks that you need to consider include
- The programme might not have the desired impact
- Managers may not support the anticipated changes that result from the course
- If the programme doesn’t achieve its aims you can’t replace the lost time and resources
- Trainer may not be a good fit for the organization
Some Questions to Ask About Your Vendor Selection Process to Help
Manage the Risks
- Does your company have a sound process in place to evaluate alternatives and make decisions during procurement of goods or services?
- Is this process followed when you are selecting training vendors?
- Do your staff have tight time limits when they are making decisions about corporate training courses?
- When you are searching for training vendors what kind of approach do you use
- Highly structured, rigid, and complying strictly with company procurement policies and procedures?
- Not so structured, but there is some need to comply with corporate procurement policies and procedures?
- Mainly unstructured, with little need to follow corporate procurement policies and procedures?
- Completely unstructured – each section/division is responsible for their own search and procurement of training services?
- How confident are you that you fully understand the market and the range and quality of trainers available?
- Do you develop selection criteria for trainers and does your process allow you to find enough trainers in the market who meet your criteria?
- Do you keep a record of your relationship with trainers, including your interactions with them and performance feedback, over time?
- When you are negotiating with a trainer (either new or existing), do you have all the information you need to be able to negotiate with confidence?
- Are you confident that the trainer has the necessary subject knowledge and skills? How do you check this (e.g. references, testimonials)?
- What do they consider to be their speciality?
- What are their strengths? Their weaknesses?
- Do they have experience working with groups in similar situations to yours?
- Will they customize the programme to meet your needs or will they deliver an ‘off-the-shelf’ programme?
Questions a Trainer or Training Provider is Likely to Ask You
Usually a trainer will want to speak with more than one person at your organization to gain a complete understanding of the issue you wish to address with the training. They may also want to see copies of your organization’s vision statement, and any policies, etc., relevant to the current issue. They will ask a number of questions, probably including
- What are the root causes of the issue you want the training programme to address
- What are you hoping to accomplish?
- What have you already tried, if anything?
- What is your goal for this intervention – what would success look like?
- What do you want to learn?
To make sure your training interventions are effective you need clear objectives. It’s quite amazing how many people seem to miss this step. Companies come to training companies with vague statements like, ‘We need a communications skills course’, or ‘We need leadership skills’, without defining adequately what these mean. If you don’t know what it is that you want, or if you haven’t defined the issue that you are looking to improve, it makes it difficult
- To communicate it to the trainer, and
- To work out how successful it was when it’s over
A good training organisation will listen carefully to your needs, produce a structure for the content of the training, and let you know what results you can expect. You need to be able to review the training and see if it met its objective. If not, you
- Check that objective – was it stated correctly, did it define what you really needed?
- Check the attitude of the staff who attended the training, and their managers – are they resisting any changes?
- Review the results with the trainer
In particular, there are five key questions we recommend anyone selecting a training provider must answer, before deciding who to work with.
Do they understand our industry and “day-to-day reality?”
When hiring a training provider, make sure they display a deep understanding of your industry, business model, challenges, strategy and the day-to-day reality in which participants operate.
Do they customize their content?
When selecting, insist that any training provider you select customizes core elements of their training program like case studies, role plays, examples and terminology.
Do they provide a learning journey?
To be effective, any training must have a solid pre- and post-training component. Pre-work requires participants to reflect on their own behavior and prepare for the classroom session. Post-training reinforcement helps participants to “lock down” the learning, ask follow-up questions and overcome the inevitable challenges that come with implementation.
Do they offer multi-channel, hybrid learning options?
Classroom sessions, “live” webinars, post-training reinforcement coaching, online learning modules, Q&A sessions, podcasts/audio and e-mail reinforcement need to be combined into a powerful learning journey.
Do they measure progress?
What’s the point of training if not to get better? Would a professional athlete or musician even dream of embarking on a training program without putting in place some kind of measurement process?
Top-ranked training providers don’t simply suggest you measure progress over time, they insist on it. They understand that the true value they deliver isn’t in how great their training is, it’s in how great the results are.
Next time you’re selecting a training provider, feel free to use this short list as a checklist.