From small-scale start-ups to fully-fledged enterprises, all companies have training needs. Providing the right learning tools is crucial to enabling company growth, which explains why an increasing number of businesses are turning to training outsourcing companies.
Lack of proper training doesn’t just negatively affect skills – it has been shown to severely impact productivity, engagement, and retention.
People expect more extensive training that relates specifically to their role and provides the required know-how to be successful, whether that’s on a personal or organisational level.
Contracting non-core business essentials has become common practice, and training is no exception. While internal teams to manage training programs have their benefits, outsourcing offers a cost-effective alternative to an ever-expanding demand.
As with most areas of work, training has had to keep pace with the rapid acceleration of technology. Software and bits of jargon that were once advanced are now considered commonplace, and companies are having to adapt.
In this blog, we explore training outsourcing, the benefits it can bring and what to look out for to make the right choice for your business.
What is Training Outsourcing?
Training outsourcing is a business strategy that incorporates external support in various forms to leverage experience and resources in a way that streamlines and accelerates development. Also known as managed learning, it involves partnering with an external company to deliver your training program.
What Types of Training Outsourcing Companies Are There?
The kind of training outsourcing company you should opt for depends on the needs of your organisation. There are three main types of outsourcing:
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO): The outsourced company offers managed learning services, which typically cover the management of the entire training program as well as the education aspects, meaning there is very little internal resource required. This process likely covers all bases, including administration, content, delivery, and technology.
Contracting: Companies hire an external supplier, specifically delineating set tasks and prices with contractual terms involving the rates of labour on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
Licensing: Possibly the fastest way to outsource, this simply involves a company buying the right to access another company’s intellectual property.
With so many different resources on the market, why exactly should your company be looking to outsource your training?
Why Use a Training Outsourcing Company?
Lack of internal resource
While a lot of companies are home to technology experts who possess in-depth knowledge and experience within their field, these people simply may not be trainers.
Being able to outsource to experts who understand both technology and proper methods of training allows companies to elevate their learning experience to another level.
Maybe your company is small and just doesn’t have the means yet, or you’re growing at a faster rate than you expected and your internal staff are struggling to keep up, or maybe you’re starting to incorporate training external audiences which requires a specific type of training.
Whatever the reason, extending your access to proper talent with specialised sets of skills available will help you deliver the training you require.
Having access to a range of experts is also beneficial for extending the talent pool your team can dip into. Rather than burdening existing learning and development staff to tackle alien information, which is a long and arduous process, an outsourced company can instantly supply a variety of people dedicated to providing the required training. This can be achieved regardless of factors such as location, extending your geographic reach within your team and to your customers.
It’s also far less disruptive to have access to this knowledge for one-off training initiatives and events than it would be to pull your existing staff away from focusing on completing their regular everyday tasks. Normal commitments can continue, while experts remain ready and available to support the training program on your behalf.
Lack of people management time
Managing a business takes time. Staying on top of developing training methods can be tricky, especially across multiple sectors and facets of a company.
Outsourcing gives companies the opportunity to offer the most up-to-date and expert training at a much faster rate than they might have the resources to on an internal level.
Without stretching existing employees too thin across multiple departments of the organisation, external resources can meet a range of training needs with a deeper level of understanding and capacity that may not be otherwise available.
Boosting speed to market
If you’re operating under any time constraints, outsourcing is a terrific avenue to get the job done quickly and efficiently. External training companies are already fully equipped with the tools to get programs started right from the word go.
The quicker you complete your training, the quicker you can establish your business, whether that be through a service or a product. Not only does this mean your reach extends to your clients or customers faster, but it also has a positive impact on the scalability of your business.
It might sound counterintuitive, but outsourcing is the more cost-effective route to training your team. The costs incurred through establishing an internal team and finding qualified trainers to hire are often far greater than seeking external support.
While the contract might be fixed term, this might be as small as a rolling month, so allows for greater flexibility rather than a fixed term. It allows access to a wide range of services and skills, without the commitment of another set of salaries to fill.
Services Offered As Part of Training Outsourcing
Ideation, development and iteration of learning materials that meet the required learning objectives. Material can be produced in a range of formats including eLearning courses, videos and webinars. This stage includes identifying and coordinating with subject matter experts who may or may not be from the company.
Involves overseeing the deployment of a program, which includes making sure learners stay engaged and complete courses within the allotted time frame, conducting tests and assessments, and collecting feedback from learners.
Ensuring learning platforms remain intuitive for users, course catalogues remain up-to-date with fresh content, and user data remains safe with regular security updates and reviews.
Analytics and reporting
Collecting and tracking key metrics such as test scores or completion percentage rates to assess the progress of learners and the quality of programs. Can also include tracking revenue and job performance, which gives companies a clear link between training efforts and business goals.
Includes supporting learners with any issues from simple password reminders and assistance choosing the correct courses to working on user technical issues to minimise downtime, providing a smooth journey and reducing the need for internal resources.
Enabling organisations to sell courses and generate revenue without the need for any internal resources to handle payment processing, invoicing and reporting.
Ways Training Outsourcing Can Help Your Business Grow
Bespoke programs at scale
The training needs of a business is as diverse as its learners. Your sales department will need customer relationship management and negotiation training. IT departments need to be kept up to date with the latest security protocols and practices. External channel partners such as resellers, installers and distributors need regular technical training on product knowledge.
Add tracking and monitoring the progress of all these learners, and you’ve got a veritable web of responsibilities any business can struggle to manage. Outsourcing your training allows you to provide custom training for all your learners without sacrificing speed or quality. This, in turn, supports growth and improvement across the entire organisation.
It’s not uncommon to hear about companies who set out with a budget, yet overshoot it because of poor visibility and coordination. Caught between the many moving parts of a training program, it can also be easy to fixate on the wrong thing. Companies waste a staggering £66 billion on inefficient training.
A competent training outsourcing partner not only helps you improve performance and profitability by equipping your learners with skills they actually need. They can also identify how best to stretch your budget according to your needs and cut the fat from your training programs. These cost savings can be redirected to other core functions of your business, such as product and service innovation.
Frees up resources
A highly interactive 17-minute training course can take as long as a month to develop. And that’s just one course. Depending on the sector, companies cumulatively spend 4.6 to 8 days on training per year.
That’s a lot of manpower hours dedicated to just one function. By outsourcing development and implementation, businesses can free up professionals to work on other critical business needs, such as addressing the current global labour shortage. In the UK, job vacancies soared to an all-time high of one million earlier this year. While your outsourced partner covers learning and development, you can focus on filling those gaps and strengthening your workforce.
Puts you on top of trends
Training has always been a fast-changing landscape. New skill requirements, tools, and ways of working require businesses to stay flexible and innovative to stay relevant. Old simulations that used to run perfectly on legacy systems now need to be migrated onto newer, more sophisticated platforms.
In the wake of large-scale work-from-home arrangements, the speed has picked up even further. Rapid reskilling is one of the top trends for businesses coming into next year.
Training programs plotted out years in advance will prove useless in the face of this pace. Outsourcing training delivery help businesses keep their training programs up-to-date.
Keeps you agile
In the office, it’s getting harder to do business as usual. The skills needed to do a single job is increasing by 10 per cent year-over-year and L&D departments are struggling to get ahead of the tide.
Outsourcing course creation ensures your material is consistently updated. Companies can also pivot and change focus with relative ease, with much of the work already offloaded.
That’s why creating programs around predictions made months in advance will no longer be enough. Staying competitive means adopting a more reactive approach to skill gaps as they surface. Training outsourcing companies, with their experience in creating bespoke programs, can help your business pivot skills training when needed.
Learning and development is high on the priority list of many organisations, according to research by Deloitte. Yet only half of companies feel equipped for the constant reinvention and iteration needed to keep their learners well-equipped for the demands of the future. The majority of companies lack the headcount to develop programs at a competitive pace.
Outsourcing training management brings a wealth of insight to the table, gathered through working with different companies in different verticals. This unique vantage point allows service providers to propose innovative strategies and opportunities for improvement that would otherwise go unnoticed.
How to Make the Right Choice for Your Business
If you think outsourcing training sounds like it could benefit your business, where’s a good place to start?
Taking the time to consider your exact requirements is key. Choose a company that covers everything you and your business needs, in one place. Set yourself selection criteria that breaks down exactly what you want. This could include factors such as:
- Cost efficiency and financial stability
- Quality and technology capability
- Time scale and turnaround
- Capacity and scalability
- Cultural fit with your company
- Contractual terms and conditions
It’s crucial to establish your key wants and needs before you go looking. The top training outsourcing companies are judged on their capability of delivery, their industry visibility and innovation, the strength of their reach, and their company growth potential.
Whichever route you go for, outsourcing training is a direct route to success for maintaining and enhancing not only your team’s learning and development but the growth and output of your company.
Ready to take your training to the next level? Check out ‘Everything You Need to Know About Our Managed Learning Services‘ and discover how we can help you deliver effective training that drives results.