One of the first questions HR teams must answer is, "How do we build our company's training content?” An option you’ll quickly stumble upon is integrating virtual training infrastructure from a 3rd-party training library. This option can work well in the early days, especially for training that’s not company-specific. After all, how many times do you need to re-invent the wheel with general skills development, technical certifications, or compliance and regulatory training?Yet when your needs get more specific—such as training for your unique product offering, marketing, culture, or other proprietary information—3rd-party libraries no longer work. You must find a way to create (or outsource) training specific to your company.
Outsourcing is typically the next plan of action. “Why not get someone else to knock this out?” you think. Outsourcing makes sense—on paper—yet presents unique problems:
Outsourcing training is expensive. Really expensive. According to Training Magazine’s 2022 Training Industry Report:
Enterprises with more than 10,000 employees spent an average of $760,882
Midsize companies spent an average of $163,333
Small companies spent $31,367.
Just on their annual training expense.
Outsourcing training limits control. The more distant the content creators are from the experts who provide the knowledge for the training, the less control there is over the content, format, and presentation of the materials.
Outsourced training has a shorter shelf-life. Due to limitations in keeping outsourced content completely up-to-date, outsourced training libraries become obsolete much faster than those made in-house.
Outsourced training negatively impacts culture. This problem is lesser-known because a “negative cultural impact” doesn’t present as clearly as other metrics—such as revenues decreasing—yet it’s just as important. Studies have shown outsourced training:
Can make employees feel as if they’re being replaced
Confuse employees due to the new faces and names in training content
Decrease morale ("If they'll outsource training, will they outsource my department?!")
If you value being a good steward of company resources, granular control over training content that doesn’t expire quickly, and positively supporting employee morale, the ideal solution is developing training content in-house.
Developing in-house training doesn’t have to be a chore, either. There are resources available to make the process streamlined and simple, without losing quality. In the rest of this article, we’ll explore:
What in-house training is
The benefits of developing your own training content
Things to know for successful implementation
How to measure effectiveness of training
Let’s get started!
What is in-house training?
In-house training refers to training that’s created from a company’s expertise and resources, as opposed to those of a 3rd-party. In-house training can take many forms such as 1-on-1 meetings, workshops, slide-decks, wikis, or videos, but for the purposes of this article we’re going to focus on virtual training.
Virtual training is typically comprised of links, slides, videos, pictures, code snippets, and other online training content delivered via a corporate eLearning tool. (If you’re new to eLearning, you can find our guide for navigating eLearning platforms here).
Benefits of in-house training
Each problem presented above is answered with in-house training, specifically:
It’s cost-efficient. Relying on those already employed with your company, internal expertise, and resources already available (most commonly found in wikis, to name one) means gathering and preparing training information is much simpler.
It allows for granular control. An eternal truth is “all things change.” Yet this is most relevant in high-growth startups or highly complex corporate structures. An ability to fine-tune information on-the-fly is only possible when developing training in-house.
It lengthens shelf-life. When your training is developed in-house, you can adjust—not just restart—your content. Something changed? Make a small adjustment and publish. The bulk of your content stays relevant, and you don’t have to start from scratch as your company grows.
It positively impacts morale and culture. Employees prefer to see the faces of their teammates when training. Having content impacted (or developed by) other experts within the company supports ideals of internal investment and peer-to-peer learning, in addition to allowing employees to feel seen and heard.
For companies struggling with the idea of “spending resources on something else,” it’s important to recognize—you’re most-likely already developing in-house training! (Even if you don’t know it).
That email where you shared a PDF with all-hands notes
Your memo outlining the Q4 product roadmap
A sales professional’s recorded call with a difficult prospect (and how hard objections were overcome)
Those are all examples of in-house training content—although not formalized as such. The confusion arises when companies consider training as something that’s done vs. something they do. For this reason, training is most often associated with onboarding; yet up-skilling employees shouldn’t stop after 90-days.
Consider the ways you support employees after their onboarding cycle. Are you sharing resources or helpful content in those moments? You’re training—and you didn’t even know it!
Things you need to successfully implement in-house training
The training cycle falls into three buckets:
Creation of training content
Sharing that content with employees
Measuring training’s impact
The process repeats after step 3, when new data exists to make more effective training content.
Put simply, you can’t measure the impact of training that’s not taken, and employees can’t train when there’s no content available. This is why all downstream effects of training begin with robust training content.
We’ve previously shared ideas on how to develop strong training initiatives from first onboarding, but what about ongoing training? Below are some great starting points to develop your ongoing training library:
Your product. All teams should know what’s being sold, to whom, and why. As your product iterates, update your training library to keep everyone on the same page.
Leadership development. “Hiring from within” is always a best-practice. Developing resources that properly equip employees for more responsibility is a great way to achieve that goal.
Sales and customer service. Arguably the most common form of ongoing training, a robust library handling product presentation, objection mastery, contract handling, negotiation, and other sales processes keeps sales teams on top of their game.
Security, regulatory, and compliance. While mentioned above as a potential use for 3rd-party training libraries, teaching on the specific ways in which your company handles security and regulatory requirements should be developed in-house.
If you’re still wondering where to begin, remember this shorthand:
If information has a material impact on the performance of multiple people, it should be added to your training library.
All too often critical information gets lost, when it should be stored in a central location and easy to reference.
Measuring effectiveness of in-house training
A robust training library and actively-training employees are just two pieces to this puzzle. It’s vital you understand know what’s working, what’s not, and why, so your training remains highly relevant and effective.
Unfortunately with current tools, “measuring training effectiveness” is easier said than done. The most common forms of measuring training’s impact are as follows:
1-on-1 meetings: video chat and manager ↔ employee conversations
Quizzes: asking multiple-choice, or short-answer questions to test comprehension
ROI (Return on Investment)/Business Results: comparing costs of training, employee results, and outcome expectations.
Behavioral Changes: watching the interactions of employees to see if the desired outcome is carried out.
At first-glance, these options sound helpful. Who wouldn’t want quiz scores or 1-on-1 meetings as part of their training regimen? Yet when looking deeper…
1-on-1 meetings rely on gut-feelings
Quizzes are misleading (quiz scores alone don’t indicate true, real-world comprehension)
Results and behavioral changes rely on employee success or failure
…to determine training’s effectiveness.
The reality is clear: the current ways of measuring in-house training create blind spots and liabilities for organizations: their most critical insights boil down to employee performance limited scoring data, and gut feelings.
If you don’t want to rely on complicated tools or expensive engineering departments to scaffold data infrastructure around your training content, consider Basewell.
Your real-time, best-in-class store of data
Basewell is the only tool that collects and reports highly-granular, proprietary training data. From our previous post on eLearning tools:
As trainees engage, Basewell’s algorithm automatically collects actionable training data. From course completions to quiz scores, metrics on a macro (company-wide) or micro (employee-specific) level, all information is analyzed and reported in real-time, with context. All you need to do to know how training is interpreted, retained, and applied by your workforce is visit the
Analyticstab in your Basewell workspace. Basewell handles the rest.
For too long companies have bloated their headcount or training tech stacks, only to be left with limited insights on their people and training initiatives. Basewell eliminates that problem, ensuring all information is relevant and actionable.
Now your 1-on-1 meetings, quizzing, and monitoring of ROI/behavioral changes has critical context. Employee performance becomes the last-resort—not the first line of defense—in measuring training’s impact.
There is no “silver bullet” in regards to the creation, distribution, and measurement of your training, but there are ways to make that process easier. Just remember:
In-house training is the sustainable answer
Information that impacts more than one person should be in a training library
You’re already making training content (even if you don’t know it)
Train continuously (not just during onboarding)
Use Basewell—the most efficient way to create, distribute, and measure corporate training