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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Three Unexpected Benefits of Hiring External Training Consultants

your assumptions about what oustiders can do for you may be wrong

If you run a training function for a company, you may occasionally bring in an outside consultant to handle a particular topic or task. Some departments rely heavily on external help, others rarely use outsiders.

But whichever camp you fall into, you may be surprised at where some of the benefits of outside help arise. If you think the only time an external consultant is useful is when that person is the only one with a certain area of expertise, you may be doing your own company a disservice.

1. Saving Money: Many businesses have reaped the benefits of work for hire, temporary staff, and outsourcing. They all get jobs done while lowering some of the overhead, or "burden," associated with full time employees.

In training, there may topics that only need to be handled, say, annually. Or you may have an occasional peak in demand for training services, or extra projects that need additional resources for development, but then can be absorbed into your department's routine offerings.

Even at consulting rates, hiring an outsider for a short period of time, with a defined budget, can be much less expensive than paying salary, benefits, and support for an employee who is underutilized outside of crunch times.

2. They do not know your business as well as insiders: Sometimes training is better developed, or delivered, by someone who is not embedded in your culture. To start with, a good consultant will question a lot of assumptions that may have been interfering with developing and communicating effective messages.

For another, if the training topic runs along a 'fault line" between warring factions in your company, you may need someone who is new to everyone to handle the discussion, someone with no "baggage," no obvious alliances.

Finally, sad but true: sometimes employees attribute more credibility to an "outside expert" than to an internal staff person, even if the two of them say exactly the same things.

3. Dedication to achieving results for your company: if you assume that outsiders don't have the same desire to produce training that generates true, verifiable benefits to the organization, you have it backwards.

To put it simply, outside consultants have strong incentives to perform well for you, as they are hoping that producing results will win them more business. They can clearly see that the only chance they have of offering a particular workshop a second time is if you, their client, believe the first workshop has benefited the company.

It is easy to assume that sticking with internal resources is the better path if you assume that will conserve funds, leverage inside knowledge of the company, and insure real devotion to getting results.

But those are just assumptions, and they are often wrong. Take a close look at your situation, and you may find that for particular needs, outsiders produce unexpected benefits to your department, and your company.

© 2008 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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