We are often asked what are the benefits of using external trainers rather than using internal trainers, or asking a member of staff to run some training.
While the obvious benefit of using internal staff for training is the cost, this has to be carefully weighed against what type of training is needed and what you are looking to achieve for both the attendees and the organisation from any training.
As a general rule, we would say that using an internal trainer for things like your own product training can work, as clearly the Product or Sales Manager will know their products or systems better than an external trainer. However, you have to factor in the time it takes for your internal trainer to prepare the training and deliver it. Also what do you do if some important meeting comes up, or crisis within the organisation which means the trainer is unable to deliver the planned course? All the time spent getting staff together on a specific date is lost.
When you get into the area of behavioural or specialised training, we feel the balance certainly tips in favour external trainers. This is because external trainers are specialists and have to keep up to date with:
- new methods
- new industry standards
- new methods and processes of delivery
- what is happening across many sectors
- what is new in their specific area of expertise
The delegates see external trainers as experts, which is less likely to be the case when using your own staff. Delegates can often be more open in sharing problems with an external trainer, either in open forum or informally. If the ‘boss’ or Manager of staff is giving the training, that may well inhibit open communication.
The saying ‘No man is a prophet in his own land’ comes to mind, which means (taken out of its biblical context) that your own people see you they way they always saw you, regardless of what you have to say. A less kind explanation is that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Whilst internal trainers may ‘know their stuff’, it sometimes comes better from an expert external source. We often find that people require someone from outside to reinforce what their HR professional has been telling them for years, that they have either never quite understood or believed.
The external trainer can get delegates to think ‘outside the box’ and challenge ‘we’ve always done it that way’ responses. A trainer from within the organisation may well be limited by their own knowledge of the organisation and end up colluding with delegates views, rather than trying to push boundaries.
Finally, we are hearing more and more about a growing skills shortage and organisations will need to focus on developing and retaining staff. Employing an external expert trainer to deliver training and development to your staff shows you are prepared to invest in their future with you, in a way that using internal staff may not.
So while there are some cost savings to be made using internal trainers, it may be a false economy when you consider the many benefits employing an external trainer brings.
- Specialist training expertise
- Experts in their area of training
- Wide and varied industry experience bought to training
- Increased credibility with delegates
- More open communication
- More likely to encourage thinking ‘outside the box’
- Shows your staff you are taking them seriously by investing in their future with your organisation.