Most businesses today recognize the fundamental importance of Learning and Development in both maximizing the potential of staff and maintaining a competitive edge in the marketplace. With work tasks becoming more specialized and requiring advanced technical acumen, skills development and expansion take on an ever more critical role. Companies in every industry are striving to upgrade their worker learning programs and make knowledge transfer more interactive, more ubiquitous, and less expensive. By making learning and skills development more relevant, interactive, and user-friendly for workers of all classifications, companies invest in future profitability, develop tomorrow’s leaders, and position themselves as worker-friendly organizations. Training can pay immediate benefits, as well, by retaining institutional knowledge, improving morale, and improving productivity.
This renewed emphasis on worker learning and development, however, has spotlighted significant instances of inefficiencies, outdated and irrelevant curricula, and wasted money among companies that try to administer their own in-house training programs. Learning and development managers cannot afford to miss the mark on talent growth: that’s why many are taking advantage of outside expertise. Your company also may be considering outsourcing your employee learning and development function to a managed service provider (MSP).
Arguments for Outsourcing Learning and Development
Few companies include “administer a comprehensive training program” among their list of core competencies. Solid firms are best served by devoting management attention, technology, operating capital, and other resources to their primary lines of business. Areas in which they are less proficient often can be outsourced at less expense and less hassle. MSPs bring a wealth of industry knowledge and skill-development acumen to customize training programs specifically for each company’s workers and their roles within the enterprise.
The benefits of partnering with an MSP for learning and development are many, but fall into three primary categories:
- Improved Training – Companies seek to improve the quality of their worker education in a variety of ways. Rapid growth may spur them to find ways to scale training quickly; development of a new project or service line may require rapid learning in order to bring their talent up to speed. Whatever your reason for considering trusting your worker-skill development to an outside expert, an MSP can research, recommend, and implement the learning program that best suits your workers and your strategy.
MSPs have developed contacts and resources within the training profession which they can call upon to build training courses and select the proper delivery that will optimize productivity. Your company may benefit by sending employees to formal, off-site professional development courses; alternatively, you may want to take advantage of video-on-demand, self-curated and self-paced programs that allow workers to brush up weaknesses or incomplete skills they or their supervisors have identified.
Whichever training intervention works best for you, the MSP is positioned to determine optimal service levels, grade instructional performance and relevance, and otherwise advocate for you.
- Lower Cost – An MSP can save you money in your worker learning and development tasks in several ways. It starts by thoroughly vetting training partners to identify those that closely match your training goals. After weeding out the non-performers, the MSP builds a stable of training vendors whose curricula and business practices will ensure coverage, completeness, economy, diversity, expertise, and longevity within your training plan. Using the buying power it has derived from representing several clients, your MSP partner can negotiate volume discounts at much better rates than you could manage on your own. Additionally, MSP technicians understand training value; they can bundle services and help you choose products à la carte, so you pay for exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.
MSPs centralize your training regimen and act as a clearinghouse for scheduling and payments. This eliminates the rogue spend you may experience with a decentralized, internally managed program. No longer will department heads be able to schedule trainings for their teams on an ad hoc basis. These off-contract learning sessions bypass any controls you may have and forfeit any discounts or economies your firm could earn by combining training courses, enrolling other departments, or exploring other methods for conveying the same information.
- More Efficient Resource Allocation – Scheduling training courses, notifying employees, finding suitable class locations, and integrating online, on-demand, live, and other types of training all take time. Organizing training regimens can take up significant slices of management, strategic, and administrative resources that could best be focused elsewhere. In addition, rapidly advancing technology is increasing the need for large-scale, specialized training that some organizations find difficult to accommodate because their programs cannot scale to keep up with demand.
A professional learning and development MSP allows companies to “stick to the knitting.” Outsourcing learning and development tasks that do not involve their core competencies allows companies to dedicate strategic and financial resources to activities the firm understands well and can use as a source of competitive advantage. Collaborating with your MSP, you can ensure your organization’s mission is the target of all future training. At the same time, you can rely on the MSP to consolidate payments, recruit instructors, and handle other logistical headaches. MSPs also use their expertise to evaluate training sessions, conduct post-training worker testing, and distribute support materials to keep training lessons top of mind among workers.
MSP Learning and Development Services
Managed learning and development companies help companies manage the curricula, delivery, vendors, payments, and other aspects of a complete worker training program. To ensure your MSP partner delivers the right solution for your company, stay involved in the program planning and execution through all the various steps:
- Take Stock – Assess the current state of your training, onboarding, and continuing education program. Take the perspective of what you want from your program, which are urgent needs, and which will be needed later. Make sure you can attach specific business objectives to each goal. From this standpoint, you can determine which workers need improvement in which skills.
- Involve Stakeholders – While you will tap the MSP’s experience and buying power, you still need an internal team to provide direction and establish priorities. Your team should include the company’s major learning and development stakeholders – HR and Procurement, of course, but also Finance, Marketing, IT, and others. Creating a cross-departmental team will ensure everyone’s interests are considered when building a training schedule. It also will remove any doubt about which departments are responsible for specific tasks, what the performance expectations are, and how success will be measured.
- Develop the Curriculum – Work with your MSP to outline not only the broad strokes of your worker development program, but also the key messages each module will contain. These points should include measurements of worker proficiencies, learning goals for each worker role, etc. They also should address vendor selection, grading, service levels, and bill rates.
- Start Slowly, Revise, and Grow – Roll out the program with a few test trainings or a pilot program featuring one module. Make sure everything works correctly: scheduling, worker notification, service delivery, communications, participation, etc. Determine which areas need improvement, and work with your MSP to make the adjustments. Then you can expand the program, monitor improvements, and constantly institute new and better ways to train workers.
Are you ready to reap the cost-savings, resource allocation, and improved training advantages a top MSP can bring to your learning and development process? Contact Metasys to request a demonstration of our integrated approach to identifying and implementing training and vendor management services.