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When companies face challenges related to staff, leaders may consider new corporate training programs. These challenges might include:

  • Quality issues (costly mistakes),
  • Capacity issues (serving more clients/customers without adding more staff)
  • Burnout issues (negative attitudes, absenteeism, or turnover)
  • Excess communication (the more time team members spend in inboxes, the less time they have to spend getting work done)
  • Too many meetings.

But, of course, there is a cost to the company to provide these programs. There’s a better way: invest in your company instead by leveraging the right expertise. This will allow you to reap the biggest return on your training dollars.

How Corporate Employee Training Can Pay Dividends

corporate trainer stands at the head of a conference table with employees seated around it

If you use employee development wisely, it can pay dividends to the company now and into the future. Not only can professional development solve problems, but research shows it’s also a good way to attract skilled workers. 

To use training strategically, you’ll need to have someone with expertise in learning and development as part of the discussion at the leadership level.

This could mean involving an existing contract or salaried learning and development expert in executive leadership discussions, or partnering with an experienced trainer to ensure that you vet and execute your training program properly.

If you’re a leader at your organization, perhaps you haven’t thought about corporate training as an investment in your company—something that gives you an edge in employee performance.

Training done right will not just benefit the individual worker, but more importantly, it will serve as a problem-solving strategy that benefits your entire organization. In this way, it can add dollars to your company’s bottom line, both directly and indirectly.


Training To Address Business Problems

A learning and development professional stands at a flip chart and provides training to a team in a corporate conference room

I partnered with Brynne Kelly, who holds a Ph.D in organizational behavior, on a training project for a client, and found that she has a similar view of corporate training initiatives. In her experience, she has too often seen training programs viewed as a “one-off” event with a smaller goal—to “just” develop staff. 

When done with that goal in mind, it makes sense to write the training off as a cost, and hope the company gets some indirect benefits in the long run. But the job of a Learning and Development professional is to forecast and understand challenges faced by the particular business, and how employee performance relates to that.


Training as a Quick-Fix vs as a Business Solution

A business leader holds up a report to show people at a meeting

Dr. Kelly and I discussed several issues related to how training is often used as a quick fix to a perceived problem, instead of checking to see if the problem is a symptom of a bigger issue—and addressing that instead.

We talked about how having a corporate training expert included as part of the leadership discussions changes the company’s perspective on how to solve issues in the business through employee training.

Here are some of the examples we discussed.

1. Problem: The staff is young and lacks a lot of leadership experience.


Solution using the cost approach:

You search for leadership training and put your managers through the program.

Using the investment approach:

You partner with a corporate training expert to assess the larger issue. Any leadership development initiative can then become part of a strategic succession planning effort.


2. Problem: You’re introducing a new software program, such as an ERP, CRM, or project management tool, but adoption is slow.


Solution using the cost approach:

You bring in training on the technical aspects of the software.

Using the investment approach:

Instead of assuming that low adoption is due to lack of understanding, a training professional develops and executes employee surveys to find where the roadblocks are. They can then properly diagnose the problem and prescribe the solution that will offer the highest odds of long-term success.


3. Problem: Your employees feel there’s always more work than there is time to do it.

Solution using the cost approach:

You look for someone to give a time management workshop to a handful of employees. You check to see if they like it before you expand the training.

Solution using the investment approach:

Your corporate training partner is more likely to assess whether there are other factors contributing to the employees’ perceived stress, and how this stress is affecting the organization. They can then prescribe a holistic solution that addresses the root of the problem.


How to Find and Hire Appropriate Corporate Training Providers for Your Business

A corporate trainer talks to a team of 15 who are seated in a semi-circle in a conference room

Learning and Development professionals—freelance, salaried, or in the form of a training partner—approach issues in a different way than other leaders. They look at company issues from an organizational and behavioral standpoint. 

By being involved in executive-level discussions about company goals and challenges, they are in a position to offer unique ideas for solutions, expanding the problem-solving ability of the organization.


Why working with a corporate training expert is a win-win 

First and foremost, the company recognizes a return on its investment in professional development when it’s used as a tool to solve expensive problems. The beneficial side-effect of solving these problems with training is that the employees also get new skills.


The problem with using managers, admins, and HR generalists to source training 

Lacking specialized training in organizational development, managers and human resource generalists are ill-equipped to vet appropriate training providers. 

Without having the right skill set, and not being involved in discussions at the leadership level, they can’t see the big picture and may be unable to diagnose problems and prescribe solutions strategically.

If your company doesn’t have a learning and development expert on staff, there are some options to consider.


Engaging a fractional or contract learning and development professional 

You could hire a part-time person for the position, or you could use a contractor. Either should be present at leadership meetings so they can acquaint themselves with the company’s goals, and be aware of the obstacles the company may face in pursuit of those goals.


Using an experienced corporate trainer 

Another option to consider is that some experienced corporate trainers are also Learning and Development professionals, so if you choose the right provider, you can still leverage the training as an investment rather than a cost. 

They should ask detailed questions of you and not take your stated needs and outcomes at face value, but help you to probe deeper, and also address not just how to deliver the learning, but how to make it stick for the long term.

You can vet providers more effectively by considering the following questions when interviewing them:

  • Are they asking questions about what brought you to speak with them, or are they taking your stated needs at face-value?
  • Did their questions give you pause and make you think during your initial interview? 
  • Are the training programs they offer custom, or off-the-shelf and one-size-fits-all?
  • Did you request a specific solution (such as “one day of training for a specific department”) that they accepted, or did they make a recommendation for a solution based on questions they asked you?


Turn Your Training Into An Investment

a virtual corporate training session

There’s an opportunity cost when the training fails to help the organization achieve its most significant results.

Having the perspective of a corporate training expert will help you make corporate expenditures that will pay long-term dividends. And this, in turn, will make your professional development initiatives an investment into the long-term success of the business, rather than a short-term cost.