Procurement processes damage ROI on training

Procurement processes damage ROI on training


Pressure on corporate procurement functions to cut the costs of outsourced services is damaging return on training investment, according to The Training Foundation.  Deputy Chief Executive Adrian Snook believes that up to 80% of learning experiences are compromised by sub-standard training delivery.

“Squeezing the profit margins of training providers may reduce costs, but in doing so procurement professionals are overlooking the criticality of training delivery skills in optimising learning outcomes for the organisation,” he comments.

“The assumption that procurement techniques used for purchasing intangibles like legal services, consultancy and software will work for learning and development services is misguided.” According to Snook standard procurement processes tend to focus on easily quantifiable quality assurance service elements and the hard economies such as daily rates and expenses policies.  There is seldom a clear-cut policy for using trainers with externally certified training skills– the key determinant of learner achievement.

“Client pressure to cut costs is rippling down into training providers, who have been forced to cut the number of employed trainers and rely on an ever-increasing pool of relatively inexperienced freelancers, who are also under pressure to cut their daily rates,” continues Snook.

“We estimate that fewer than 20 per cent of training course leaders are certified to the required standard.  Since procurement departments seldom have a clear cut policy for using qualified trainers, there is actually little incentive for freelancers to invest in certifying their skills.”

Recognition of the impact of learning facilitation skills on the quality of the learning experience – the driver of organisational performance improvement - is long overdue according to Snook.

“The delivery skills of the course leader are critical to the quality and consistency of training standards,” he says.  “Commonality of training standards is vital across public and private sectors at a time when the UK skills base is trailing well behind many of our overseas competitors.”  

The problem is that too many organisations have yet to take this message on board.

“The fact that 80% of trainers are not delivering to the required consistency and standard represents a travesty in terms of return on training investment and an indictment of procurement processes in this area.”