Consider Outsourced Training

By Nidhi Srivastava

Dec. 23, 2014

Designing and conducting in-house training can impose significant costs. Training often requires specialized knowledge that must be regularly updated.
In addition, the limited number of in-house trainers may not reach all necessary personnel in a timely manner.

For these reasons, outsourcing training is a popular option for employers looking to reduce operating costs while increasing workplace expertise. When deciding whether outsourcing is the best option, consider the following:

1. Analyze the organization and its industry. Employers who require specialization — for example, pharmaceuticals and technological manufacturing entities —
are prime candidates. For businesses requiring employees to stay up-to-date
with regulatory compliance issues, new technologies, equipment and techniques, outsourced training can provide new information on a consistent and efficient basis while allowing the company to focus on competitive services and products. Employers operating globally or in numerous locations may also find outsourcing viable because training can be online or through comprehensive seminars in a cost-effective, timely fashion.

2. Find a specialized training partner that “fits” the organization. A training partner should mirror the organization’s culture and goals. Employers should also partner with training firms with an established specialization. This maximizes efficiency and leverages what could be a significant cost. 

3. Consider how the training should be delivered. External training can be computer-based online training, in-person or on-the-job training, all of which can vary significantly in length. Employers should balance a variety of factors to determine which meets their needs: the type of jobs employees are engaged in; time constraints of the audience; the location and number of employees to be trained; accessibility to technology; and the sensitivity of the training material.

4. Execute a thoughtful contract. After choosing the right trainer, enter into a written agreement that may include ownership of written materials and standards for conducting training. If the training firm has access to sensitive company information, address confidentiality. In addition, the parties should be clear on who is responsible for the accuracy and content of the training. If the trainer is guaranteeing “up-to-date” information or compliance with governing laws, the company should document that warranty, and request indemnification by the trainer for claims relating to negligent training.

5. Consider the positive effect of outsourced training, beyond saving money. It might appear that outsourcing training will cause the employer’s in-house trainers to lose their job, but training is often peripheral to the core business. Trainers may be shifted into other positions within the company, pivoting their talents to train customers or outside sales people. Outsourced training allows greater flexibility by offering training precisely when and where it’s needed and providing technological or product updates. In addition, trainers are experts in a particular field, and may open the doors to additional resources and business opportunities. 

Employers should coordinate with management to ensure outsourcing is the best avenue to meet their training needs, and with counsel on contractual issues.

Nidhi Srivastava is an associate in the litigation department of Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Chicago. Comment below or email Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.

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