Training and development consulting firms provide a valuable resource for businesses that either do not have an in-house training department, or need additional resources from time to time. These firms deliver training either onsite or online, and can offer both general skill development as well as industry-specific training. Typically these consulting firms work with the human resources department of the business, or with general management. Usually their overall objectives are to improve employee knowledge, increase productivity through skill development, or comply with legally mandated training requirements (e.g., sexual harassment training).
Why Use a Consultant?
Training and development consultants can offer temporary expertise, rather than hiring staff that may or may not be needed full-time. Choosing to use an experienced consultant accelerates the timeline of any training initiative. Also, the company hiring a consultant only pays for the services needed, when they are needed. Finally, when the need for the consultant’s services is satisfied, the relationship can easily be terminated or put on hold.
Access to Specialized Skills
One of the most common reasons for a company to hire a training and development consultant is that they wish to gain access to a specialized skill that they may not possess in-house. Companies may not have enough work to keep an internal employee busy, but consultants can provide that skill set on demand. All in all, consultants can fill the gap in a cost effective way.
Choosing a Training Consultant
All potential training consultants must have the relevant education, experience, and breadth and depth of knowledge. In addition, they should have the following qualities:
- Adaptability: Training consultants need to blend in almost immediately with your existing staff. Forward-thinking consultants do advance research, so that they are familiar with the corporate culture, mission, vision, and goals of the organization before they begin their project.
- Organization: Effective training consultants do extensive project planning, and always do their best to meet your time, quality, and cost constraints.
- Expertise: Organizations hire external consultants because they need someone who can hit the ground running. This means someone who has kept current with industry best practices, and can implement the right intervention from a wide range of available learning strategies.
Training and development consultants bring experience from a variety of companies and industries, and stay current on the most recent developments and innovations in their field. They can provide an objective viewpoint that employees within the organization may lack. Outside consultants may not have industry specific knowledge, but this is offset by a more diverse range of ideas that they bring to the table. The flexibility of using an outside consultant is usually a cost-effective option for small, growing businesses.