A third of employers acknowledge they didn’t invest in staff development for the past years. The reasons behind this figure are numerous and can include a lack of involvement of C-Level stakeholders, a lack of internal resources, a lack of budget and more. L&D is crucial to company achieving business goals in the long term and yet most HR department find it difficult to plan, get approved, execute and prioritize L&D actions.
A quick way to get things off the ground is to look outside your organization and ask for support from external partners that will help you deliver impact quickly and kickstart a L&D culture in your organization.
Speed: beware of the “lost year syndrome”
Many business disregard the paramount importance of rolling out development plans in a timely manner, and we’ve seen countless examples of companies which were approaching the end of the year with only a fraction of their training plan rolled out. Consider this example of a late learning program:
Q3 year n / Training need identification.
Q4 year n / Budgeting and approval.
Q4 year n / End of year interview. Promise of training.
Q1 year n+1 / Scheduled roll out.
Q3 year n+1 / Actual late roll out
As learning programs are usually budgeted and based on needs identified at the end of the calendar year, being late on execution means that your organization will be restricted to the same skillset for at least 12 months! That’s an eternity in a competitive environment. Outsourcing is a way to rely on external resources and communicated timelines. Consider the option of setting bonuses or objectives to suppliers to finish their projects on time.
Think also that outsourcing will reduce the pressure on your internal HR development teams, giving them more space and time do business partnering, listening to internal stakeholders and strategize.
Retention, retention, retention
One of the motivating factors for employees leaving a workplace is that they can no longer see growth for themselves or their career in their current position. In fact, companies could boost their retention effectiveness if their managers suggested appropriate courses or material (2018 Linkedin Survey).
Businesses who do not employ a good training and development programme will quite likely find themselves with a high staff turnover, and will struggle to grow their business and will struggle to retain skills of their experienced personnel.
Refocus internal training programs and slash costs
As a company grows, the volume of employees to train can be overwhelming for the number of in-house qualified trainers. Some companies opt for recruiting additional new trainers in order to add muscles to their development programmes. This is a challenge as keeping a large “fleet” of trainers up-to-date is expensive. Language and localization often come as an added challenge, and companies end up with multiple “train the trainer” programs flying employees across the globe, which is both expensive and may end up being risky, as those employees concentrate knowledge may leave the organization at some point.
A well-managed outsource learning programme is a way to cut costs and keep your training teams lean. According to Deloitte, 59% of businesses interviewed in their Global Outsourcing Survey used outsourcing as a cost-cutting tool. Outsource trainings done well will allow to build programs that are both scalable and can last years. Internal trainers can be promoted to new positions and manage vendors, improving employee retention.
Surround yourself of digital experts
Digitalization of learning is difficult as it requires setting up new platforms and technologies, pushing adoption with end users, and migrating part of your content and classes to new digital formats (interactive, video, etc), which is time consuming and can easily look amateurish if not done correctly. If you are serious about digitalizing your company, then don’t go on solo mission and surround yourself with companies that have done it before.
Outsourcing your learning actions is a way to both learn from your suppliers and speed up this difficult transition towards more digital learning. Challenge suppliers on adoption especially. How did they succeed in onboarding end users similar missions? What are their tricks to keep learners more engaged on the long run? Which formats are more suitable with which content?
Creativity and energy
It may sound trivial, but internal training means using over and over your internal resources to grow your company skillset from the inside, not exactly a way to innovate in this disruptive and collaborative era.
Worse, strong internal training cultures also often correlates with the idea that training impacts are hard to measure… Companies then are captive of an infinite loop of repeating the same actions, which aren’t measured appropriately.
If this sounds familiar it may be time to bring in an outsider perspective! Using outsourced suppliers allow to import good ideas from other industries or other countries. Challenge your internal ways of thinking by bringing new approaches in term of marketing, distribution channels, technology or pretty much any topic!
Do ask companies to provide out-of-the-box ideas and suggest new training formats. Finally, do not forget to request ROI measurement as part of the overall project. Then you will be able to benchmark training actions, track their success and iterate only successful programs.