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Guidelines To Choosing A Corporate Training Provider - Articles Surfing

Finding the right training provider can be a daunting task, one that takes time and energy, one that shouldn*t be taken lightly. Of course there are some easy options, such as *just go with the one you know*, or pick someone whose ad you saw recently, but in this day and age when you may actually have to account for your training dollars and prove your ROI, it's probably worth your time making sure you get the best for the job.

So how do you start? Well, let's say you know that the guys at the sales department need to freshen up on their skills, the numbers are not as pretty as last year, and the sales manager wants something done quick. So is your next step typing in *sales training* on Google? Hardly.

To the surprise of many, your next step isn*t even looking at which outfit your friends and business partners have used. If you*re thinking about getting a new car, is your first step going to be visiting all the showrooms in your neighborhood? Hopefully not. Your first step really should be identifying what it is that you really need, compare that with what you want, get clear about why you want that, and at last perhaps come to a compromise between the two. Of course this is not what advertisers are telling us that we should do, but nonetheless most of us probably could use a little more awareness in our choices about what we end up buying. The difference between that and choosing who's going to run your next training program is that must lean much more on the *what I need* part.

Becoming aware of what you need.

Becoming really aware of what your organization's needs are is probably the most important step in the whole process. Besides doing your Training Needs Analysis (TNA) the answers to the following questions also need to be decided before you go and look for suppliers.

1.Customized or Custom-made? Do you need to have a customized program (one where certain modifications were made from an existing programs to make sure attendees can feel it to be more for them), or is the subject are such that the program needs to be brand new, designed specifically for your company. The latter is justified if your training need is, for a specific skill or knowledge area that's unique to the organization. In such cases you may also get the right to keep ownership of all the materials, as the cost of this is also likely to be much higher.

2.What can you afford? Whether you have a T&D budget, or just an idea of how much you think your boss is willing to spend on this, you need to keep in mind outcomes: what is it that you expect to have by completion of this program. (increase in sales, better teamwork, saving time, etc.), what are the chances that those outcomes can be achieved, and what would that be worth to you.

3.What media should be used to achieve your desired outcomes? Should this be classroom type of training, or can you get across what you need to through CBT, a web-based training, an audio or video program, or a mixture, such as Blended Learning? If you need to brush up on what each of these options can do for you, then do so. In any case, choosing the right media will have a huge impact on costs, length of time of your program, and the return on your investment.

Some other considerations before going out shopping are timelines (by when do you expect implementation to begin), receivables (what will you receive at the end - training materials, slides, CD*s, software, consulting services, an evaluation strategy, etc. It always helps to know what it is that you want before you start negotiating.

Making the Choice

Now we come to the shopping part. How will you make your choice among the 1000's of vendors and suppliers? Clearly the answer is not by contacting all of them, but neither is it contacting only one. The following list of questions will help you narrow it down a bit, but at the end, you will most likely still end up with a fair number of individuals and organizations to choose from. At that point it will be a question of your judgment and the time you can afford to search alternatives.

1. How well respected is the provider. (this you can only find out if you know others who have used them or are willing to provide references. Checking references, by the way is something you should get in the habit of doing.)

2. Are they local. Do they need to be?

3. Do they have relevant experience in your market sector? (which doesn*t always have to be a consideration, but it often helps.)

4. Do they have any external quality ratings, i.e. Investors In People award, or registered at government bodies?

5. Do the trainers have a background which will give them credibility with the course participants?

6. Are they prepared to do an objective evaluation process that reviews not only short term but longer term benefits?

7. Are they willing to work with you on an ongoing basis, making sure the training had a lasting impact, or will they just do the job and get out?

In most cases, there are numerous sources to help you find training providers: industry publications, directories, commercial websites, trade show publications, etc. Using these come up with a list of providers based on your requirements, and simply contact them. Each of these providers should then receive from you the same requirements, from which they can come up with a proposal. On your end what you must make sure is that you have communicated your problem in as much detail as possible, saving everyone a lot of time and anguish by preventing misunderstandings.

Submitted by:

Thomas Vinkler

Thomas Vinkler is founder and president of http://www.trainingspotting.com, a searchable directory of training companies, trainers, e-learning providers and other T&D related products and services. He also provides sales coaching and HR consulting services to organizations across Europe.



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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