5 things to ask your training provider before paying a penny

Lead image for the news story '5 things to ask your training provider before paying a penny'

Investing in training and development is good for your business. It means you’re better able to serve your customers’ needs, keeps you at the forefront of industry trends and helps to retain talented staff. However, training can be expensive and it’s important to ensure that your investment will be worthwhile.

Most savvy business shoppers know they should check references and testimonials, assess the company’s track history, compare prices, review the trainers’ CVs – it’s all standard fare. While these are all useful measures for an industry as fast moving as digital they don’t always tell the whole story.

We’ve put together a few of the less obvious criteria that you might want to consider to ensure you’re confident in your selection.

  • What are you hoping to achieve? Specific skills, consolidation, exploration, peer to peer insight? Be clear in your objectives and realistic about the part training can play. And then….
  • Know who you’re buying from. A good training provider should be looking to build a supportive partnership with you. It’s relatively easy to suss out the expertise of trainers, but it’s the people on the end of the phone who will be responsible for finding a product or service to meet your needs. They should understand the industry, trends, skills gaps and course content. And if they can’t provide what you need they should know someone who can.
  • Know who you will be in the room. Sharing knowledge and insight with your peers is one of the most valuable aspects of investing in training. Different types of training provider attract different types of client. Figure out who you would like to learn from, and choose your provider appropriately.
  • How do they measure success? Quantifying the value of training is always a challenge but a training provider should be able to provide some insight into how their services benefit clients. What is their follow up process? What ongoing support do they provide? What would they like their client’s to achieve as a result of training?
  • How do they select their trainers? Implementation experts or prolific authors may well have the knowledge but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a fantastic training experience. What qualities does your training provider look for in its course leaders, and how do they assess this?

More than anything a good training provider should be engaged. They should understand you and your business, where they can help and where they should stand aside (or even better, recommend a better fit). In the end their role is to respond to the needs of industry, so if they’re not investing in their knowledge of you, it’s unlikely that they’re someone you want to trust with your skills development.