Are you contemplating outsourcing your training function?If you are, here are some high-level considerations:? Which training services andtechnology should you outsource and which should you keep in-house?? What are your outsourcingrequirements?? How will you identify andevaluate training outsourcing consultants and companies?The reasons for outsourcing training haven’t changed muchin over a decade. Cost cutting. Focusing on core business. Mitigating risk.Accessing needed skills.Advances in technology have provided even more reasons toprompt companies to rethink their training games.
In recent years, cloud-basedlearning solution providers reshaped the market. Nowadays, many high-growthcompanies are just as likely — perhaps more likely — to use a corporatelearning portal hosted by Grovo for Organizations, Udemy for Business, or Skillshare for Organizations as they are to implementtheir own in-house learning management system (LMS).Outsourceable Trainingand Development TasksBroadly, outsourcers can support your company byproviding virtual-lead training, online self-paced learning, andclassroom-based instruction. Keep in mind though, these companies cancontribute much more than just training.
They can provide everything fromadministrative tasks to strategic planning. Here are some examples of tasksthat can be outsourced.? Assessing skills gaps? Developing trainingstrategies? Designing curriculums andcourseware? Designing certificationprograms and assessment criteria? Providing applications thatsupport and encourage learning? Implementing andadministering LMSs? Managing training content? Event management andlogistics (for classroom-based instruction)? Setting benchmarks to measuretraining effectiveness? Providing help desk services(single point of contact for learner requests)? Providing learning analytics? Training related togovernment regulations (e.
g. safety or environmental regulations)? Training related toemployment laws (e.g. equal employment opportunity laws)Front vs. Back OfficeA distinction to help you consider which tasks tooutsource is to think about training in terms of the traditional “back office”and “front office” split.
This divide, which usually applies to staff whosupport processes compared to those who deal directly with customers, can beapplied to learners.In short, back back office training functions includetasks related to supporting learners, such as regulatory filings and managinglearning systems/portals. Front office training functions include face-to-faceactivities, such as conducting training and working with business teams todevelop and deliver training. One approach is to favor outsourcing back officetasks, thus freeing up staff to carry out the more fulfilling and productivework of skilling up staff and developing internal talent.Evaluating TrainingOutsourcing CompaniesTop U.S. TrainingOutsourcing CompaniesSince 2008, Training Industry, a trade magazine andtraining portal, has released an annual global top 20 list of the best trainingoutsourcing companies. The following U.
S. companies appeared on the 2015 list: Company Headquarters TrainingIndustry.com Profile and Company Website Aptara Falls Church, VA Profile, aptaracorp.com Cognizant Technology Solutions Teaneck, NJ Profile, cognizant.com Expertus Santa Clara, CA Profile, expertus.
com GP Strategies Columbia, MD Profile, gpstrategies.com IBM Armonk, NY Profile, ibm.com/training InfoPro Learning Plainsboro, NJ Profile, infoprolearning.com Lionbridge Waltham, MA Profile, lionbridge.com MicroTek Downers Grove, IL Profile, mclabs.com NIIT Enterprise Learning Solutions Atlanta, GA Profile, niit.
com Pearson Boston, MA Profile, pearsoned.com/professional Performance Development Group Malvern, PA Profile, performdev.com Raytheon Professional Services Garland, TX Profile, raytheon.com Skillsoft Nashua, NH Profile, skillsoft.com The Training Associates Westboro, MA Profile, thetrainingassociates.com Xerox Learning Services Irving, TX Profile, xerox.
com/learning-services Checklist for TrainingOutsourcing CompaniesThough comprehensive and from a reputable source, thislist is just one way to evaluate the pros and cons of a potential relationshipwith a training outsourcing company. Also consider investigating the following:Costs? Are their costs fixed orvariable?? When other clients have goneover budget, how did they respond?? Are there any hidden oradditional costs?Deliverables and deadlines? Are their deliverables anddeadlines realistic?? Is each deliverable linked toa deadline?? What happens when adeliverable or deadline isn’t met?Reliability and references? What industry affiliations dothey have?? Are they members ofprofessional training organizations?? Are they an audited/certifiedISO company?? Does the client list on theirwebsite have more details than just links to their clients?? What credible clientreferences can they provide?Project experience andcompany fit? Have they worked on projectslike yours?? Do they have other clients inyour industry?? Are there videos online oftheir trainers that you can watch?Risks? What is their problemresolution process?? What kind of insurance dothey have?? Do they backup your learningmaterial?Is Outsourcing RightFor You? Before OutsourcingPeople, Consider Insourcing While this article focuses on outsourcing, it’s importantto evaluate other options. Before relying on consultants to manage and deliveryour corporate training, consider insourcing it. In-house trainers bring manybenefits to your organization.? Extensive business knowledge — full-time internaltrainers are often more knowledgeable about the current, real-life problemsyour company faces? Keep talent internal — maintaining dedicatedlearning and development staff on the payroll prevents your company relying primarilyon external experts? Control — insourcing means maintaining full command of yourtraining function? Avoid the “outsider” problem — some staff might notappreciate consultants informing them how to learn new skills and be better attheir jobsBefore OutsourcingTechnology, Consider Keeping It In-HouseThere are dozens of do-it-yourself training anddevelopment platforms based on open-source software that can be installed forfree. For instance, GetApp lists 11 open-source LMSs and 14that have a freemium pricingmodel.
Also, Capterra lists what it considers to be thebest open source and free LMSs.There are some tradeoffs with free, open-source LMSs.Some cons include less functionality, less customer support, and the need forinternal IT expertise to implement and manage the system.Free, open-source LMSs are not the only way to keeplearning technology in-house. There are hundreds of corporatelearning content management systems and LMSs.
Some are off-the-rack andsuitable for various industries. Others are customizable and made for specificindustries. We recommend reading the reviews and using the filters on thefollowing aggregators to find the right learning solution: Capterra (300+ LMSs), GetApp (50+ LMSs), and SoftwareInsider(300+ LMSs).ResourcesThe author used the following resources to research andwrite this article.
? ADP TotalSource, “TotalSource and Co-Employment,” archive? Bersin, “Training Outsourcing: What Works — The Economics ofTraining Outsourcing Training Technology and Operations,” archive? Capterra, J.P. Medved, “The Top 8 Free/Open Source LMSs,” archive? Detroit Free Press, Nathan Bomey, “5 reasons Why GM Believes ‘Insourcing’ More Effectivethan Outsourcing,”archive? Elearning Industry, Aditya Pullagurla, “Outsourcing eLearning: How to check and evaluateeLearning companies,”archive? Entrepreneur, Jason Kulpa, “Forget Outsourcing, Startups Should Hire the BestIn-House Employees,” archive? Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, “Training & Development,” archive? Expertus, “Services,”archive? GetApp, learning management systems that are open source, archive? GetApp, learning management systems with a freemium pricing model, archive? GP Strategies, “Learning Management Systems Help Desk Services,” archive? GP Strategies, “Learning Solutions Overview,” archive? GP Strategies, “Learning and Training Outsourcing,” archive? Judith Hale, “Outsourcing Training and Development: Factors for Success,” archive? Staff Source, “Professional Employment HR Services,” archive? Training Industry, Doug Harward, “10 Reasons Companies are Outsourcing Training in Today’sMarket,” archive? Training Industry, “2015 Top 20 Training Outsourcing Companies,” archive? Training Industry, “2015 Training Outsourcing Watch List,” archive? Training Industry, Doug Harward, “The Market for Training Outsourcing is Changing,” archive? Trimeritus eLearning Solutions, Don McIntosh, “Vendors of Learning Management and E-learning Products,”archive? University of Geneva, EduTech Wiki, “Learning Management System,” archive