Business agility requires more information quicker to satisfy the demands of both shortening business cycles as well as increasingly sophisticated and capricious customers. Regardless of your industry, if you don’t provide what your customers want when and how they want it, they will increasingly disappear to a competitor without saying goodbye. With this as a background, it makes very little sense to keep one of your best and most efficient sources of extremely practical and useable information buried deeply within your company.
For much too long, most corporate training departments have languished in a dark and dusty closet somewhere in the bowels of your Human Resources department. Why?
Most often because this is how it has always been done. Do you also still see training as a necessary evil that your company must have that just costs money?
It is time to think again!
What other departments can:
· directly communicate with virtually everyone you do business with?
· quickly contact those directly affected by important changes?
· confirm when a solution works or not from real-time experience?
· ask those affected for their views, fixes and suggestions?
· test different solutions directly with those affected and get instant feedback?
Yet most training departments are still seen as burdens rather than as one of the most efficient marketing tools available! To survive or thrive as an agile business, this outdated view of training must be corrected, and quickly. There are two powerful solutions that can be implemented together or separately to help you make this influential change.
- Move your training department from HR into Marketing
- Outsource your training department to make it more effective and cost efficient.
Moving Training to Marketing
Isn’t marketing’s primary job to communicate with your market?
Now, what is training other than a service to communicate the latest and greatest your organization offers both internally and externally? Yet as powerful as this task is, this is only half of training’s real potential!
What better place to gain feedback, directly from the source, than from those directly using, selling and servicing your products? Tasking your trainers to be organizational scouts looking for information can give new life and meaning to their whole team! At once they not only become teachers, but your firm’s external ambassadors to your customers and internally to all those dealing with them.
One objection to this simple yet radical shift is that sales and service already takes care of this function. Although this is true, customers are usually much more on their guard when sales people begin asking questions while most service people are often more at home with the products than with the customers who use them. It is no secret that many service technicians often choose their profession to avoid having to deal with people preferring the silent company of their tools and products. This is not so with trainers.
Trainers usually feel at home conversing with customers. Implementing this organizational change allows for a drastically different relationship where critical information can now be gathered using professional communicators and without the perceived risk of having to buy something! Trainers usually love interacting with their participants and can easily integrate more market-oriented conversations into what they already do. This information can then be quickly and efficiently delegated to the right parties, processed efficiently and improvements made. This increases their value to the firm and can save large amounts of time, money and frustration in product development as well as with the strategy and tactics of sales and marketing.
Outsourcing your Training Department
If moving Training to Marketing is radical, outsourcing your training department can almost be seen as heretical. Yet moving your trainers from a backwater in your organization all the way into a pure-play training company can transform often neglected second stringers to an effective world-class team. By pure-play we mean a company with training as their core business.
The benefits of such a move can pile up quickly:
· Costs diminish as a pure-play training company will produce more efficient training offerings than those produced by a costly extension of HR.
· No ramp-up period is required as those training are the same people you used to employ and are already pros at what they do.
· The quality usually improves as:
o Your old employees are now members of a dedicated and elite team. Their skills are now improved and utilized more effectively even over other projects, thus adding to their skills and experience.
o Your offering becomes better as other resources and people the pure-play company has can be now be implemented into your offering as well.
o The flow of useable information back to your organization improves as the trainers become more effective in their new marketing-scouting roles.
· Personnel costs sink as you are now hiring a service that you can regulate without the HR and payroll hassles associated with employees.
Finally, your training will never be worse than when you owned it in-house and your costs often sink by 20-25% while the quality and information gathered increases, sometimes drastically. The bottom line is that your organizations entire business agility index climbs rapidly ensuring a more stable and profitable future.