We all know that hiring the wrong training development firm wastes time and money. Yet making the right choice isn’t always easy. Even a firm with a good reputation and an impressive client list might not be just right for your needs.
How can you increase the likelihood that you will retain the right firm on your first try? Here are some questions to ask.
Question One: “Can you tell us more than we already know about the people we are training?”
You know who they are – perhaps recent college graduates or empty-nesting parents who are returning to the workforce. Or maybe they are young sales trainees you just hired fresh out of college – eager, technologically savvy, but green. Your training company should be able to provide deeper insights about who they are and how to train them, preferably based on prior training successes.
Question Two: “What strategies and systems do you recommend to reach our goals?”
This is a basic question, but the answers you get can tell you a lot. One of the benefits of working with an experienced company is that it has learned from many past activities — both good and bad — and knows what works and what doesn’t. If the company points back to training that it developed four or more years ago for another client, be sure to ask why it is talking about training that old. It could be that the methods the company used then are still the best today – or it could be that the company is not up to speed with newer techniques and technologies.
Question Three: “Who will be handling our account?”
Your potential training partner should be able to explain why the people you will work with are ready to go – both well-versed in the training program they will used and also experienced in your industry. Ask to meet with these people before signing on.
Question Four: “How big are the companies you’ve worked for in the past?”
If the firm has designed and delivered training for companies that are larger than yours, that could be an indicator that it has the resources and expertise to meet your needs. If the firm has worked with companies that are your size, that can show that they understand companies in your sector or field. If the company has only worked with organizations that are smaller than yours, will it have the knowledge and resources to deliver what you need? They might – in fact, there are benefits to being a training company’s biggest “plum” client – but you need to ask some in-depth questions to be sure the firm can support your training success.
Question Five: “Will you stay with us for the long term?”
If the business processes you’re trying to improve require more than quick fixes, then you should work with a long-term partner. You want a partner who knows how to measure your training success and who will help you fine-tune training and make it better. Also be sure to discuss fees. What services are included in the fee(s) specified on your initial agreement?
Question Six: “Who are your own strategic partners?”
Who handles the company’s technology, for example? Who handles the design of its training materials, if it is an outside firm? When a training company raves about its vendors, that is a positive sign.
Further Resources . . .
To learn more, Tortal Training’s free guide, 10 Critical Considerations to Ensure Training Initiative Success.