Can external providers help L&D departments improve performance?

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Do external providers still have a role in helping L&D improve performance?

The recent Deloitte-Bersin report “UK Corporate Learning Factbook 2016: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the UK Training Market” makes interesting reading and resonates well with our view of the future of the corporate training landscape.

The report highlights that whilst UK organisations spent 11% more year-on-year in 2014-15 on L&D, the focus is very much on bringing training and coaching expertise back in house and on increasing the role of online and informal training.

So, do external providers still have a role to play in this new environment? And if so, how can they really add value? Strategic advice, on-off project support and specialist expertise are, for example, areas in which outsourced providers can make a difference.

#1 Strategic partner
Good strategic advice is one area where the fresh perspective of an external provider can add real value. Any external training organisation that provides a customised solution will need to take time to understand the long-term goals of their client and the environment in which it is operating. An objective viewpoint can make a real difference. It allows L&D to explore new ideas and to consider a range of solutions to best deliver the desired strategy.

#2 Develop in-house expertise
Naturally, it makes good business sense for the required impact of any training or coaching initiative to last long after the external provider has left. For example, developing in-house coaching skills throughout the business ensures that there is a pervading culture of development, both for the team and the individual.

External providers can help kick start this type of programme – for example, at Prosell, we offer train-the-trainer programmes for our successful Procoach programme as well as delivering the coaching programme itself to frontline sales and customer services managers. By embedding good coaching capabilities in frontline managers, new recruits are quickly exposed to this style of personal development, which can be used as they progress through the organisation.

#3 Additional resource
Some ambitious one-off initiatives might just not be able to be resourced in-house. At this point, calling in the expertise of an external provider to help roll out a large programme can help keep the project on track and within budget.

#4 Online learning initiatives
There is a desire for learning and development to be integrated into daily routines, rather than learning being an isolated event. Prosell’s research has shown that many firms feel that they lack the in-house capability to rollout an online learning initiative, as demonstrated by the increasing interest shown in our customised mobile Apps. Our Onboarding App and our Procoach App support our face-to-face training programmes and provides learning in bite-sized chunks that can be accessed as required.

So, in conclusion, there is no doubt that changes in the economic environment have led to organisations being confident to commit to building strong internal L&D resources rather than rely on the more flexible outsourced options. However, outsourced providers can still play an important role in a range of services, such as providing a valuable independent strategic input, supporting organisations in rolling out large training initiatives that might be difficult to resource in-house and helping develop new internal skills.

Prosell provides customised training and coaching programmes to improve the performance of frontline sales and customer service teams in large organisations around the world. If you would like to find out more, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Further reading
Corporate mobile learning. Where is it heading?

Global Human Capital Trends 2015
Deloitte University Press

UK Corporate Learning Factbook 2016: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the UK Training Market

This post was written by

Hilary Wells

Sales & Marketing Manager