Internal Vs. External Training: Which Is Right For You?

Internal Vs. External Training: Which Is Right For You?
Summary: Which is better: Internal or external training?

Internal Vs. External Training: Processes And Differences

Employee training is essential for developing individuals’ skillsets and growing your business. On average, workers spend between two and fifteen days in training each year; and offering training and progression can also improve employees’ morale and confidence, which is ideal for productivity. There are two types of training that an employer will need to choose from when considering the potential betterment of employees and their organization. The first includes products and services, protocols (such as health and safety), and operations. The second is to gain knowledge or skills which are not specific to your company, for example, data-driven problem solving training by a Six Sigma training provider. All types of training can be offered internally or externally and there are benefits and drawbacks to both methods. Let's take a look at the internal vs. external training dilemma:

Internal Training

The most obvious benefit of internal training is that it is the most cost effective solution. There are no travel expenses or course payments as internal training is typically delivered by your own HR division, and generally having employees train each other means that you don’t need to pay for a professional course or educational materials. If you have a small business and have enough space available to train your staff, then this solution can be ideal.

A notable feature of internal training is that it is often informal as it is delivered by employees who are already known to each other. Depending on the nature of the business, this can be a positive or a negative. It may be an issue that training that is not effectively organised or formally presented might not be taken seriously by those enrolled in the program.

An additional downside to internal training is that it can take up a considerable amount of staff time, as staff members are needed to deliver the training. This means that other daily tasks may be negatively impacted and productivity levels may be reduced temporarily.

Internal training can be influenced by the familiarity of the business, giving a narrowed perspective of what is capable within the business. This may reduce the potential for more ambitious training to be implemented.

External Training

An outside perspective is one of the main benefits of external training; an impartial professional may offer a new way of approaching your business that you have not previously considered. Another key benefit is that the specialist knowledge that can be gained by participating in external courses can set you apart from other companies. For example, the previously mentioned Six Sigma training is one that can benefit entire departments if implemented properly and they only require one or two individuals to enroll – those being the project managers. Six Sigma is a methodology that can transform the management style of your departments; reducing errors, utilizing resources more effectively, and improving the collaborative capabilities of the team with other departments.

In addition, external courses are delivered by professionals that are skilled at not only at the subject of the training, but also at teaching and have likely learned effective techniques to ensure that the training is properly received. Internal trainers may be good at their job, but they do not necessarily have the skills to train others. Professionals will have a wealth of experience in a range of businesses, giving them in-depth knowledge in the specific subject area which you have chosen to train your staff and this breadth of experience can be invaluable.

External trainers can be expensive, so this is not always the most cost effective solution for employers. On average costs for short training sessions, such as one day courses, start at £500. There may also be travel expenses in addition to the course cost.

The loss of control over the training when it is passed over to external companies can be a problem for some employers. While others may consider it a risk, as they must trust the company to deliver a high standard of training.

Final Word

To decide which training option to choose, the employer must consider their business. Do they have the financial resources available to attend an external training session? Do they have the space and staff expertise to deliver successful internal training? The size of the company and number of staff members requiring training is also an important factor. Some argue that on the job training makes for a more natural learning process. Wherever possible, it is advisable to provide high quality external training which can provide your staff recognizable qualifications.