AHMAD FUAD

Corporate sector has always been keen in developing its employees. It works on their professional skills so that the employees could be more productive than their existing level. Corporate sector has a structured system of evaluating employees’ performance, appraise them according to their overall productivity and provide them with the training on the areas they struggle. In recent past, organizations have been focusing on edutainment which was more of an entertainment than the education. Purpose of the training was more on entertaining employees than developing them as productive resources. And there are organizations that use entertainment budget for trainings and training budgets for employees’ entertainment. And there is a long list of operational managers who strongly believe that sparing employees for a one day training workshop is a wastage of time and that they should use their employees to perform day-to-day tasks to achieve their objectives instead of wasting a day that neither adds value to the employees’ career nor helps achieve their departmental objectives.

Corporate trainers must take the responsibility of operational managers’ approach towards trainings. Edutainment has to be edutainment. It should be education that uses entertainment as a method of training people instead of entertainment that somehow connects with the education. Line management needs results. Although, soft skills training does not bring change overnight however it should relate to the existing needs and should complement desired results, if not overnight then at least over a period of a quarter.

Generic programmes that contain ‘fits-to-all’ material has pushed the employees and the management out of the training room. Management looks for training programs that are customized, structured and aligned with their departmental and organizational objectives.

This mindfulness and demand of the management has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the corporate trainers and it helped them in revisiting their philosophy of conducting edutainment. However, in-house trainers are in a better position to respond to these needs as they are the part of the very system and they understand business dynamics and internal culture of the organization.

Why organizations prefer in-house trainers over external trainers? The reason is simple; they know day-to-day operations and almost every detail of the organizational changes. They are skilled employees with hands-on experience of working in a few domains of the organization. They are the employees who have been either been performing exceptionally well in their departments and have privilege to work closely with the teams they are to train as trustworthy colleagues. They can empathize with the colleagues as they are equal ‘beneficiaries and victims’ of the very system. They understand internal politics, loopholes, favoritism, culture, line managers’ attitudes, organizational needs and changes, opportunities that each of the changes carries, reasons of employees’ dissatisfaction and what exactly motivates them. Their thorough internal exposure and experience gives them an edge over external trainers.

Most of the in-house trainers are elevated from their domains on their best performance, positive attitude and their convincing skills so they become an inspiration within no time for rest of the employees and become ideals of their colleagues, especially juniors who see the trainers as their own future.

What makes in-house trainers more responsible is their availability in the office premises. Employees can approach them when they want. They can take advice as they need it. They can have one-on-one sessions with them. They can hold them answerable for the suggestions they gave during or after the training session.

In-house corporate trainers are always under observation. They have to be very careful and choosy in their selection of words, attitude and the content they deliver. They get direct and spontaneous feedback from the participants who are their colleagues as well. Their impression is long lasting as trainees experience them on a daily basis and they earn respect every day. Moreover, they remain extremely conscious and careful too as their years-long impression can be ruined with one wrong move.

To connect with the employees, they have to learn different models of the business, a holistic picture of their organization’s business and where exactly the business and their organization stands amongst its competitors and other industries. They always have to learn basics of almost every domain, remain interested and interesting all the time. They have to have good relations with the professionals from same and other industries at the same time so that they could provide comparative analysis of the industry to provide satisfactory answers to their participants.

In-house trainers have to walk the talk and if they don’t, the participant would either refuse to be part of their trainings or they will drag their sessions. They can be held answerable if they don’t deliver what they commit before the training. They cannot afford to have a lot of complaints as their performance is based on their content, the satisfaction and the performance of their trainees as well. And even if their performance is not part of their KPIs, they have a psychological pressure for being mindful about the productivity of their sessions.

Above all, trainees are comfortable in sharing their problems with them because they know that the trainers understand the situation and has exposure to other departments as well. Employees believe that the trainers can give them insight of the business, different departments and as to where the organization is heading towards. They know that raising their concerns to the trainers will not only be easy for them to discuss but will also be heard by the management as well because management keeps taking advice from the trainers on employees’ behaviors and attitudes. In-house trainers keep talking to the people and the management to ensure that people exercise things at their workplace what they learnt in training room. Their loyal and angry, both the customers are extremely vocal about which can boost or break their careers.

In-house trainers are not only cost effective for the organizations but they are also the right people to conduct training need analysis, design largely accepted training modules, deliver engaging and productive sessions and be accountable for the post-training performance of the employees.

It is not that external trainers are no more required. It is that they will have to come up with the unique and truly productive content for the organizations. Training with the external trainers really work when it is a complete package of consultancy, offers more than what in-house trainers deliver and ensures better return on investment.

The writer is a corporate training specialist.