Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises?


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According to Training Magazine’s
2006 Industry Report, 27% of small
and 71% of large companies
outsource some or all of their
custom content development. To
establish and maintain successful
partnerships, you should select the
right outsourcing partner,
continually assess established
partners, identify measures up-front
in the contract, and make a
commitment for mutual success.

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Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises?

  1. 1. Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises? February 19, 2007 O/E Learning, Inc. (800) 833-8204 • Years in Business • Qualified Staff • Industry Recognition • Customer Service • Creativity • Innovation Next, develop a definition for each of the criteria that provides everyone with the same understanding. For example, you According to Training Magazine’s might define the first three criteria 2006 Industry Report, 27% of small as follows: and 71% of large companies outsource some or all of their Criteria Definition custom content development. To Quality Vendor produces establish and maintain successful deliverables without errors. partnerships, you should select the Value Vendor delivers a right outsourcing partner, superior service at a continually assess established fair price. partners, identify measures up-front Efficiency Vendor has well- in the contract, and make a established processes commitment for mutual success. and procedures in place which meet our schedule requirements. Selecting the Right With agreement on the selection Outsourcing Partner criteria, you can weight them— In order to select the right assigning a higher weight to those outsourcing partner, clearly define According to Training items that carry a higher level of the selection criteria and a process importance. Magazine’s 2006 Industry for evaluating vendors. Decision makers should determine and Next, define your process for pre- Report, 27% of small and agree on the criteria that every qualifying vendors, identifying the vendor must meet. Selection best project fit, and conducting 71% of large companies criteria for a training partner would project closure evaluations. This include some of these big hitters: article covers the process for the outsource some or all of following three stages: • Quality their custom content • Value • Stage 1: Pre-Qualification • Efficiency • Stage 2: Project Fit development. • Process • Stage 3: Project Closure • Expertise • Technology
  2. 2. Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises? 2 Stage 1: Pre-Qualification • Relevant Project History The pre-qualification stage is often • Training Evaluations led by or requires the involvement • Pricing Models of your purchasing department. • Samples Pre-qualification allows all decision makers to assess various vendors Capability Presentations before project needs arise and For capability presentations, limit helps you expand or narrow your the topics. The goal is to make vendor options. You may include the topic areas consistent across the following steps or activities in all vendors—smoothing and this stage. balancing the decision making process. Request for Information (RFI) A well thought out RFI, customized Giving vendors the topics in to the type of service you are advance and having them seeking, must be consistently used prepare a customized for all vendors being assessed for presentation—based on your like services. For example, the requests and needs—helps them information that you would request to understand you and your from a custom content business. If a vendor uses a development vendor is different canned capability presentation, it from a Learning Management sends a clear message about System (LMS) or an authoring tool their responsiveness, vendor. Some vendors have commitment, and flexibility. multiple capabilities; you may want When scheduling the capability to have them respond to more than presentations, give vendors a set one RFI if you are seeking multiple amount of time for their services. presentation. Allow time in Provide vendors with a clear and between each presentation for Pre-qualification allows easy to use template which helps the decision makers to evaluate you to receive information in a way the vendors immediately after all decision makers to that makes it easier to compare each presentation. vendors—while also limiting the assess various vendors Using a standard evaluation to volume of information you receive. rate the vendors, the decision Consider including these sections: before project needs makers provide ratings on the • Company History and Financials arise and helps you following types of statements: • Summary and Breakdown of • The vendor came prepared Staff expand or narrow your and did their research. • Business Process • The vendor’s presentation • Description of Operations vendor options. • Project Management included all requested topics.
  3. 3. Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises? 3 Stage 2: Project Fit • The vendor asked thought- provoking questions. Now that you have a list of • The vendor involved the right qualified vendors, you can select people from his/her one of them for your next project. organization in the You may follow several steps presentation. before deciding on which vendor • The vendor was to use. knowledgeable. Check Current Capacity Based on the requirements of the Selection of Top Vendors project, you may have a vendor Using the data collected in the RFI in mind. Some buyers contact and through the capabilities their qualified vendors to check presentations, you can now on their current capacity and narrow your selection to the top ability to handle the project at vendors. A matrix which includes hand. Now the value of the pre- all the vendors and the weighted qualification stage is realized. selection criteria helps decision Projects are more successful makers to narrow their selection. when the vendor fits the project Projects are more As a team, work through the list of requirements—taking into vendors and assign a rating for account both capabilities and successful when the each of the selection criteria. available capacity. vendor fits the project During this final selection, the Request for Proposal decision making team may need requirements—taking into The proposal should be clear and to give more thought and have concise. Again, the benefits of more discussion on one or two account both capabilities the pre-qualification stage are vendors before making any final also evident in the RFP process. decisions. The team may recall and available capacity. The RFP and the vendor responses certain vendors or request are typically shorter in length and additional information. much more straightforward. Once you have the final Vendor Presentations (if needed) selections, notify each vendor and By holding capability explain why they were or were not presentations in the first stage, it is selected. Give the selected unlikely that additional vendor vendors an explanation of the presentations will be necessary. If process moving forward and if you the intricacies and success of the foresee any projects on the project dictate further horizon. To streamline the process presentations, include them. down the road, it may also be helpful to initiate general service Selection contracts with the selected By involving the decision makers vendors. in the first stage, the selection of a
  4. 4. Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises? 4 and report on the satisfaction of vendor for a specific project is often project teams; however, some expedited. In most cases, the companies take on this vendor’s current capacity and responsibility and share the data capability or “fit” for the project with their vendors. Document and requirements narrows the choice. share success stories—success Contract Negotiation stories feed enthusiasm and build Again, your work in the pre- stronger partnerships. qualification stage allows for more Measures expeditious negotiations. With If the vendor is responsible for general pricing agreements in other project success measures, place, you can quickly move to these should be formally negotiations—keeping the project Project closure steps documented and reported at this start in focus and at the forefront. time. Some measures may need should occur within a Stage 3: Project Closure to be assessed and tracked over week after the vendor a few months or longer. Specific Project closure steps should occur measures may include: within a week after the vendor provides the final provides the final deliverable(s) • Increases in productivity because involved team members deliverable(s) ... • Improved product quality are tuned in to the activities and • Positive course evaluations • Course assessment results more likely to remember the finer details of the project. Complete the Continually Assess steps below in a timely manner for the most benefit. Established Partners You invested time and effort in Lessons Learned choosing the right outsourcing Lessons Learned can be captured partners. Now that they have in many ways. Typically, a meeting worked on several projects, it is that encourages feedback from equally important to take the everyone is held with all project You invested time and time to continually reassess them. team members. Sending out a Outsourcing partners that are Lessons Learned form in advance effort in choosing the living up to their promises could solicits specific input and right outsourcing be described as: encourages preparedness. The Lessons Learned should be partners. Now that they • Dedicated documented and shared with all • Responsive project team members. When have worked on several • Engaged appropriate, you and/or the vendor • Flexible projects, it is equally • Efficient can take specific actions to • Expeditious improve processes and procedures important to take the for future projects. The table on the next page describes these characteristics. time to continually Project Team Satisfaction Commonly, vendors gather data reassess them.
  5. 5. Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises? 5 Characteristic Description Dedicated You should feel a sense of enthusiasm from the vendors and their staff. They should show a willingness to go “above and beyond” to meet or exceed your expectations. Vendors may devote the same staff to your projects in order to become more efficient and develop a better understanding of your needs, requirements, and expectations. Engaged vendors are Responsive When you ask for help or if you have an issue that needs to be resolved, this vendor delivers quickly. You zeroed in on you, your should expect to receive regular and sufficient contact from your vendors. Mistakes/mishaps should be industry, and your needs. minimal; when they do happen, this vendor takes them seriously and resolves them quickly and to your They are consultative satisfaction. Engaged Vendors that are zeroed in on you, your industry, and with regards to new your needs. They are consultative with regards to new technology, innovations, trends, and improvements. technology, innovations, Their quality and service consistently meets or exceeds your expectations. trends, and Flexible While vendors should have their own business process, they also need to maintain a level of flexibility. They improvements. should be willing to adopt elements of your business philosophies and processes. Efficient Your vendors should be well-organized and proficient. Unnecessary steps in the process add both time and costs. As vendors become familiar with your needs and expectations, their operations should streamline and efficiencies should become evident over time. Expeditious While maintaining a focus on quality, vendors should respond with urgency because the speed at which they deliver is important to you and your business results. • Response Time Identify Measures • Project Team Satisfaction Up-Front in the Contract • Learner (End User) Satisfaction • Timely Project Completion While some characteristics are • Business Results (Employee Satisfaction/Retention, difficult to measure, others are easy Sales/Revenue, Customer to quantify. Both vendor and Satisfaction/Loyalty) Whatever you determine project-based measures should be identified up-front during pre- Remember, many factors affect to measure, keep it fair qualification or when you negotiate the success of a training initiative. the contract for a project. When you build what your and within the control of Whatever you determine to customers want and need, they the vendor. measure, keep it fair and within the are more likely to embrace it. control of the vendor. Some Marketing campaigns and examples include: institutionalization of your training
  6. 6. Are Your Training Partners Living Up to Their Promises? 6 establishes buy-in of key players. programs also influence success. Ensure the development of a Measures and other indicators of partnership with the vendor by success help identify shortcomings To get the most out of providing the following: to address and resolve. your investment, develop • Committed Team Members Make a Commitment for • Dedicated Project Leader a commitment for • Subject Matter Expertise Mutual Success • Mutual Trust mutual success at all • Open Communication To get the most out of your • Mutual Accountability investment, develop a commitment levels. • Partnership Vision for mutual success at all levels. Involving the right decision makers The table below provides further in the pre-qualification stage descriptions. Committed Your internal team members need to be committed Team Members to the project and the selected vendor. Depending on the nature of the project and each team member’s involvement, normal workloads may need to be alleviated—ensuring project success and avoiding undue stress and burnout of team members. Dedicated A project leader keeps the internal team on track Project Leader and serves as a liaison. Subject Matter Successful projects have access to the right subject Expertise matter experts who are instrumental in providing accurate, thorough, and suitable content. Mutual Trust Vendors and internal team members must have confidence in each others’ skills, talents, and contributions. Consistently meeting expectations and following through on commitments nurtures and Successful projects have builds mutual trust. Open By openly sharing expectations and communicating access to the right Communication “dissatisfiers” early on, vendors can adjust and work more effectively on your projects. Immediate and subject matter experts constant feedback throughout the life of a project saves time and money. who are instrumental in Mutual Internal team members must be accountable for their Accountability project responsibilities and timely completion of tasks. providing accurate, Partnership Ultimately, ensuring a long-term engagement with Vision your outsourcing partners allows them to truly thorough, and suitable contribute to your company’s success. content. • Selecting the right outsourcing Establishing and maintaining partner. partnerships with your vendors is • Continually assessing worth the investment and includes established partners. the following key strategies to • Identifying measures up-front ensure success: in the contract. • Making a commitment for mutual success.
  7. 7. About Our Company MI. Leverage Life instructor-led, virtual O/E Learning, Inc. (formerly O/E classroom, CD/DVD, 2125 Butterfield Drive FamilyCare LLC), a and mobile devices. Suite 300N wholly owned Troy, MI 48084 O/E’s diverse services subsidiary, is Established in 1984, O/E range from Phone headquartered in organizational Learning designs and (800) 833-8204 Pleasanton, CA and development initiatives develops new training focuses on providing to professional and performance Fax corporate Concierge certifications in safety, improvement (800) 643-7875 and Work/Life quality, and employee programs, as well as programs. Learn more involvement. The converts existing E-mail about O/E Learning at: privately held programs to different company is forms of delivery headquartered in Troy, including Web-based, enhancement to your and performance Leverage Life current loyalty, 6800 Koll Center Parkway improvement company Suite 180 recruitment, retention, that can assist you with Pleasanton, CA 94566 Leverage Life and productivity a communication and provides a full range programs. Leverage training plan for your Phone of Concierge and Life takes pride in their new Concierge or (800) 777-3319 Work/Life services technological Work/Life services through various expertise, exemplary program. Learn more Fax delivery options customer service, and about Leverage Life at: (925) 249-6611 including telephonic, customization online, and on-site. capabilities. Leverage E-mail The services— Life’s parent nationwide and company, O/E available 24/7—are Learning, is a well- an ideal established training