Choosing a quality training provider can be difficult, confusing, and challenging. Especially if you have a number of providers to choose from.
Here are three key things we recommend you consider during your decision making process.
Work - can the provider do what you need them to do?
This may seem obvious, but you need to be careful when reviewing any tenders or proposals. For example, does the provider have the right mix of experience, creativity and innovation for your organisation? An impressive or flashy proposal may make the provider seem like the one to choose, but you need to review the content that backs it up carefully.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when reviewing a training proposal:
- What are your specifications? What are your required outputs? Can you use the output criteria to compare providers?
- If someone recommended the provider, who recommended them? What project did they complete and how did it go?
- Do you need someone to just implement solutions to a problem you've already identified, or do you need someone who can help you identify and correct the problems or issues?
- When discussing your project or needs with each provider, do they give you time to explain what you need and listen before giving advice, or do they jump to conclusions?
- Is the solution the provider offers designed specifically for you (customised) or does it feel like a "one size fits all" plan?
- Do they state and explain anything they can't do (as well as those they can)? Can you rely on their integrity and reliability?
- Does their initial response meet your quality standards? Do they explain their solution or plan in enough detail so you can make a decision, but not so much that it's confusing?
- Did the proposal, plan or solution come in within your time expectations?
- Does the provider have the appropriate expertise and experience in the area/s you need?
- Is there anything unique about the provider that makes them stand out?
People - does the provider fit with the people who are already part of your organisation?
Even if the provider can do the work you need them to, if they can't work efficiently, effectively and harmoniously with the people they will be training your project results might be impacted. This is particularly important to consider if you want to take advantage of value added service.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Will the provider be able to gain and develop respect and trust with your key stakeholders?
- Can you trust them?
- What processes will they use? How will they work with your organisation? How will they be seen?
- Who specifically will be working on your project (from business development consultants to the trainers themselves), and what are their roles? Do you know or have you met the people who will actually be delivering the training and are they suitable?
- What does a "good working relationship" mean to you and the provider? Will your partnership work?
Learnings - can you learn from the provider during your project?
Usually the main reason you hire a training provider is because you or your business does not have the expertise, experience, time or resources to successfully complete a training project. During all training partnerships you should also aim to increase your own experience.
- Why did you choose to employ a training provider? What gaps did you have internally that you couldn't fill and how does the provider compare?
- What can you or will you be likely to learn from your provider?
- Can you increase both your process and content management knowledge and skills?
- Will the training provider support you and strengthen your organisation?
Still can't choose a provider?
If you're still unsure about who to choose, go back over each proposal and make sure you review each one carefully. If you can't separate them, why not ask for a sample of their past work or set a small task or challenge and see how they each respond. You could ask each provider to complete a small or minor project (for pay) that would form part of the larger project. This should give you a great idea of each provider's capabilities and is a great chance to see them in action.
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