1. Fill the courses, and don’t let your budget system prevent this If each department has a budget, and they’ve run out, then you could end up running a course only half full, which people want and need to come on, and places would have been effectively free if you sent more people on it – what a criminal waste!
2. If you are a small or medium sized company, you might be able to share a training course with other small non-competing companies near you, to get more numbers on the course and therefore a better day rate – possibly even free if you sell places rather than just dividing the cost.
3. 360: measure performance before and after, by surveying bosses, colleagues and subordinates, to find out if there has been a change, and also to prove to the attendees that they do need to change in some areas.
4. Involve line managers in implementing the learning afterwards – all they have to do is ask “What did you learn?” and “How can I help you to apply it?”
5. Consider having an internal speaker from the company doing a 30 minute guest spot, to anchor the course in reality. For example, a real project manager could talk about real problems they have encountered and how the theory helped them. External trainers can’t know everything about the company, and getting them to customise the course could add to the cost unnecessarily.
6. When selecting training providers, judge them by getting the actual trainers (not a smooth sales person) to do an actual 5 min demo of part of the course, rather than using a massive procurement paperwork process where you don’t even meet the trainers, let alone see them in action.
7. Don’t always buy the cheapest trainers – for another £30/head you might get the difference between OK and inspiring.
8. Consider the extra cost of getting a course accredited, because if there is a qualification at the end then the attendees will be motivated to do the work-based assignments, and these will ensure learning and application of ideas to the workplace.
9. Blended learning – use a mixture of taught and on-line learning. This makes the training cheaper, and probably more effective too. On-line on its own will be even cheaper, but not as effective.
10. Consider splitting the course into two parts with homework in-between, so that the delegates have to apply it and then report back on how they got on.