Our friends at Hemsley Fraser, a leading provider of custom learning programmes and training courses, recently conducted a study into managed learning. It reveals 15 reasons and driving factors that underpin the decision to use a Managed Learning Service. Our own research and experience supports their findings. Essentially, organisations are looking to:
- Enhance the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of their training. L&D teams recognise that the success of their organisation depends on people having the right skills and capabilities to meet the business goals. They therefore want the best training to develop their staff, make the most of their talent and ‘give something back’ to employees. Managed learning is seen as an effective way to improve the quality of training in an organisation and the learner experience. It is also regarded as an efficient option, as it uses shared resources and specialised technology. Operational efficiency programmes or a move towards a shared services model are often drivers for managed learning.
- Cope with the volume. Some L&D teams couldn’t cope with the volume of training requests they were receiving. Their procurement process made it difficult to get people onto courses quickly, because it involved raising contracts and purchase orders. As a result, staff with short-notice requirements were not getting the training they needed.
- Reduce costs, make better use of the training budget and gain better value. Achieving cost savings and getting the best return from the training budget are key drivers. With managed learning, L&D teams can reduce their training spend, provide the most appropriate learning to the right people in the right areas and achieve greater value by securing volume discounts (as prices can be negotiated on a package basis). L&D teams are often not able to secure the best deals and achieve these savings on their own.
- ‘Free up’ time. Sourcing the best courses, negotiating with potential training providers, managing relationships with them and booking and administering training are all essential but highly time-consuming activities. L&D teams want to remove this “headache” and free up their highly capable people, either to provide support in other areas (such as event management) or to enable them to undertake more rewarding or “higher value” roles (such as working more closely with the business units and aligning learning with the business needs).
- Rationalise the supply chain. A number of L&D teams knew they were being overcharged by training suppliers and they recognised that there was an overlap in their supply, as they had many different providers offering similar training. They acknowledged that it made “better business sense” to have one provider coordinating and managing this activity on their behalf.
- Stop uncontrolled and ‘under the radar’ spend. Several L&D teams had a decentralised learning model where people could book any training they wanted directly with a supplier. Different parts of the business would purchase similar courses from different providers, which meant that the organisation lost any potential economies of scale and any value from bringing people from across the business together for training. This also made it difficult to keep track of all training activity. The desire to gain greater visibility of the training spend is certainly a key driver.
- Gain flexibility. The peaks and troughs in the demand for training – and a very tight cost structure – made it difficult for practitioners to recruit more trainers. It was seen as ‘easier’ to have the operational expenditure of managed learning to accommodate fluctuating workloads, rather than the fixed cost and responsibilities associated with recruiting and managing additional full-time training staff or administering associated systems.
- Create more consistent and standardised processes. Some L&D teams wanted to improve the routine and labour intensive administration aspects of booking training – such as sending confirmations, joining instructions and reminders – and managing the authorisation, purchasing and postevent evaluation processes. Others had evolved complex L&D functions where learning was managed by different teams in different parts of the organisation, using different processes and often the learning activity was recorded on different systems.
- Simplify the process and improve their offering. Many practitioners just wanted to make the whole process of choosing and booking training easier for their employees. Others wanted to create a more stable learning platform and offer a broader range of training services.
- Transform the L&D service. Some L&D teams wanted to change the way learning was run in the organisation, either to consolidate it across different regions, to move it up the value chain or to increase capacity to support the business goals. In other cases, L&D teams were being forced to reduce their headcount, so managed learning was seen as an option that would enable this whilst still allowing the team to offer high quality training.
- Match the right need to the right intervention. The default organisational response to a learning need is often to send people on a formal development course. However, a few practitioners wanted to adhere to the 70:20:10 model, whose premise is that people gain 70% of their learning from doing the job, 20% from colleagues and 10% from formal, classroom teaching. These organisations wanted to work with a managed learning provider that could help them to find the right learning intervention – formal or informal – that would meet the needs of individual employees.
- Evaluate the impact and measure the true cost of training. Large organisations that were previously contracting with hundreds of external training providers were finding it difficult to analyse their training spend across their business, and harder still to evaluate the real impact of training. They wanted to gain consolidated data on their volumes and spend, in order to measure more accurately the quality and true cost of their learning provision, so they could pinpoint where learning adds value and benefits the business.
- Streamline the procurement. The physical process of paying hundreds of training suppliers was proving too onerous for a number of organisations. The prospect of working with a managed learning provider that submits a single monthly invoice was highly attractive.
- Stay up-to-date. L&D teams with wide-ranging needs for external training need to keep up with who the key suppliers are, in every area. Managed learning providers are close to all of the main players in the training market and have a better feel for what represents good value.
- Find a better provider. Established users of managed learning will regularly review their service. Some will decide to change their provider, usually because either they’re not satisfied with the service they’ve received or the quality of the training that was delivered – or because they want a different partner who offers a more comprehensive or a better-suited service.
If you would like more information on the benefits of using our Managed Learning Services, please contact us here or call 01920 460 211.