Many organizations face the decision of whether or not to outsource their training needs or develop their own in-house training capabilities.
While considering whether or not to bring your employee training in-house, keep the following four considerations in mind.
1. Actual Costs
In-house training often has the benefit of being led by someone who knows how to do the trainees’ jobs inside out. Using a trainer from inside your organization can be an opportunity to cut costs because you don’t have to hire an outside trainer — but be sure to budget in other necessary, though often overlooked, in-house training needs as well.
Hard costs include:
- Training materials
- Communication and marketing materials to keep staff members updated about training opportunities
More intangible costs that must be taken into account include:
- Time to develop the training
- Operation costs of disrupting workflow for on-site training
- The cost of the assigned trainer not focusing on their other accountabilities.
2. ROI & Measurement Methods
If planned and executed properly, in-house company training programs can provide a significant return on investment. To help determine ROI for your program, it’s a smart idea to have someone associated with the program in charge of understanding and overseeing development.
This person should consider developing:
- Goals for each program
- A set of metrics to benchmark
- Progress reports on how behaviors are changing
- Periodic reinforcement activities
If you’re used to working with an external vendor on training, you’ve benefited from the measurement best practices, tools, and unique insights that a vendor has developed from working with a variety of organizations and meeting their different training goals. To ensure your in-house training program’s measurement capabilities meet a similarly high standard, be sure to develop a plan for measuring and tracking behavior change. There a few different options available:
- Purchase access to established measurement and tracking tools (though these tools may be costly)
- Develop your own organizational training measurement tools—such as surveys and tests—to monitor change over time and ensure that staff members have adapted appropriately on-the-job based on the training
- Invest in comprehensive programs that exist to train your staff members, measure competencies following training, and reinforce capabilities
3. Fun Factor
Studies have repeatedly shown activities like icebreakers, small-group activities, and pertinent games engage participants and increase their learning and knowledge retention. Beyond listening, trainees learn by doing. They learn best when classes are highly engaging, and materials are specifically and personally relevant to them.
Encourage and insist that your in-house trainers develop program materials that are engaging and hands-on — droning on from behind the lectern, PowerPoint clicker in hand, shouldn’t be a part of the protocol! Exploring training methods that incorporate experiential learning, which focuses more on practice and less on theory, should help with the “fun factor” and retain the learning longer. It engages and challenges all levels of participants. Keep in mind, though, that it does take a certain personality and willingness to get your hands dirty to lead experiential learning activities successfully; when looking for your in-house trainer seek out “people person” types who have a natural gift for putting others at ease and amping up the excitement.
4. Fine-Tuned Focus
You’ll likely need to offer varied training modules and programs across the organization in order to meet different training goals. For example, one team will work on team building skills, while another group may be trained on building customer centricity skills. Developing training programs that speak to specific skills or departments takes a substantial amount of time — and in this technological age, job functions change rapidly, meaning specialized training may become outdated quickly. Be sure to build in plenty of time for the initial design of your training programs, plus time to finesse them over the years to meet changing needs.
Will developing an in-house program be more costly and more time-consuming than you thought? Or will specialized training be so beneficial that developing an in-house training program is worth your organization’s while? The decision is yours, but these four considerations will start you off in the right direction.