Inhouse VS External Training: Which One Is Best For You?
By Simon Ranja
Companies and technology advance very fast. This is the reason why employee training is important to both a company’s growth and an individual’s success. Training improves employee’s skills, which in turn increases productivity.
There are two modes than an employer will need to chose from when deciding how the training will be delivered. There is in house training and external training.
In-house training refers to training that takes place on an organization’s premises. In-house training can be conducted by a training provider, or by one of the employees. External training on the other hand refers to training which takes place outside of your business premises. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Below is a guide that will help you make a knowledgeable choice.
Internal training offers employers and employees advantages that are not found when you send an employee to an external training program or seminar.
One of the main advantages of an In-house training, is that it gives you control over the venue and timing of the training. You can choose a day that suits your team best and you can choose whether to hold the training at your premises or at a separate venue.
When choosing a venue, you need to consider whether it has the technology, space and appropriate environment to deliver an effective training program.
Another obvious benefit of internal training is that it is the most cost-effective solution. There are no travel expenses. If you have a small business and have enough space available to train your staff, then this solution can be ideal.
Everybody wants the best training available but cost is always a consideration. Particularly for new or smaller businesses, it may not be financially feasible to bring in the leading industry expert for a high-priced seminar. Even for larger businesses with plenty of cash to spend, it might just not make sense to hire a world-renowned authority to teach introductory concepts to your staff when they only need the basics.
When dealing with smaller tasks like company policies, an internal trainer like the HR can handle the training. However, for an industry driven training, commissioning professional trainers is usually the best option. These trainers are well versed in the latest industry changes and corporate policies. They also have the ability to keep up with the latest training methods, and can provide a variety of learning styles. Using experts to help you with employee training also removes any bias within your teams of workers, which can sour training programs you provide in-house.
Calculate your costs carefully when bringing in an external trainer. You usually get better value for money with larger groups. For instance, asking a trainer to run a session with 20 employees will likely cost less than paying for 20 employees to attend an external training.
As for the cons, one of the major disadvantages is that it may be harder to persuade staff to make time for in-house training. They may be more prone to distractions such as emails. Internal training presents a higher opportunity for employees to be distracted. They may become distracted by colleagues or feel compelled to answer emails.
External training also has its pros and cons. One of its major advantages is networking. Such sessions usually give employees an opportunity to interact with people in similar roles. They may be able to trade experiences with others, gaining an external perspective and perhaps returning with new ideas and enthusiasm.
Sending employees out of the office to learn a new technical skill or improve their management ability or performance can help them develop innovative ideas by thinking outside the box. Removed from their normal working environment, employees may be more able to immerse themselves in the course content, learning more effectively.
In this way, external training can spark future in-house training. If one or two employees attend an external training event, they can pass the knowledge on to other staff; perhaps via a formal session or on-the-job training.
External training can also save businesses money annually, since they don’t have to have dedicated training resources; however, be aware of the other costs involved such as travel, time spent away from the office and enrollment fees. Working with an outsourced training delivery company that provides virtual solutions is key to helping minimize some of these costs.
Hiring external instructors who are training your workforce in off-site training facilities also frees up your business to handle the daily grind.
At first glance, conducting this type of training in-house may seem the most advantageous and economical approach since you are using internal resources to deliver the training. However, the offsite environment provides a distraction-free space and dedicated time to hone skills, role play and absorb product knowledge. This same training conducted in-house, might not be as effective, as they may be pulled to answer emails and be distracted by co-workers.
A potential worry with this type of training is that you’re putting a lot of trust in the person carrying it out. If they really are a star in their field, then you shouldn’t have too much to worry about, but do bear in mind that their ideas won’t necessarily fit in with your established corporate culture. Whilst the best trainers will adapt their material to fit different situations, others will not. Bear in mind though, that this could easily turn out to be a positive factor if your company’s practices aren’t currently the best.
To get the most out of training, those participating in the program should come back and share what they’ve learned. Management should also assess if outside training can solve a company-wide problem, such as internal communication or time management. Often these large-scale problems will take an outside source to correct.
The main disadvantage of an external training is cost. There is usually travel and accommodation expenses in addition to the course cost. Carefully consider how you allocate and budget for external training, to ensure your staff are treated consistently and fairly.
The loss of control over the training when it is passed over to external companies can also be a problem for some employers because it is a risk, as they must trust the company to deliver a high standard of training.
To make the decision, one must consider whether they have the financial resources to attend an external training session. One must also consider whether they have enough space for the number of staff members requiring. Whether you choose internal or external trainings, you should provide your staff with high quality trainings whenever possible, in order to improve their skill capacity and their value to your company.
A combination of in-house and external IT training suits many businesses well. While external training can bring genuinely new knowledge into your business, in-house IT training is a cost-effective way to disseminate knowledge.
A mix of both can be applied to keep your staff up-to-date and ahead of your game. It is important that the employers must consider their business and choose the route which fits their requirements well. They must also consider the business size, office space, and expertise of their staff.
However, the most important thing is to first evaluate what sort of training is necessary. Performing a simple training needs analysis helps you understand what knowledge gaps exist in your business. Then you can determine the most appropriate type of training to fill them.