Creating Consistency and Scalability in Your Learning and Development Programs

With the growing cost of distribution and budgets being scrutinized, financial organizations will have to begin identifying more cost-effective methods to deliver training and development that is salable. In addition, the trend from the last decade where each firm is “entrepreneurial” and allowed to do it “their way” locally is, quite frankly, a failing model. This approach creates inconsistencies across the organization and limits cultural best practices from being identified.

Benefits of Scaling Subject Matter Expertise
Distribution leaders and heads of learning & development will need to focus on developing training programs where the primary delivery of subject matter expertise is via online streaming video. This removes an extensive amount of work and “heavy lifting” off the shoulders of home office trainers and field managers. This allows the facilitator’s primary role to simply be to facilitate the program by leading discussions, conducting debrief activities, and providing their own practical insights on certain topics. Ultimately, this ensures the quality and consistency of program delivery across the enterprise. As we like to say at HPN, “the streaming video never has a bad day”! It also creates scale by significantly reducing costs to deliver training at the local level.

The Flip Side – Inconsistent Learning Experiences
Let’s look at the flip side. Most sales effectiveness programs are not designed to ensure consistency and scalability. Typically, the person leading the training, which many times is a manager in the field, must become the subject matter expert and the bulk of the program delivery relies on the quality of that facilitator. Therefore, the training experience varies from location to location depending on the knowledge and skills of the manager. And because of the amount of preparation required to deliver the program effectively, managers slip back into ditching the material and conducting off-the-cuff training by telling “war stories” which is not learning & development!

The Scaling Perils of a Third-Party Trainer
As an alternative approach, companies have the option to license training from a third-party, proprietary facilitator who runs the program locally. However, this becomes cost prohibitive due to the travel expenses and daily facilitation fees incurred to hire the expert to deliver the program. Plus, many of these training companies are built around a franchise model where there is a different franchisee trainer in each city. This results in not only varied results, but also your training experience is only as good as your local facilitator.

Conclusion
We all know the definition of insanity. Moving forward, financial services companies will have two choices: Either create scale and consistency by building learning and development programs internally or leverage the expertise of an outside strategic partner that has a successful track record of executing this strategy. Leveraging a strategic partner to develop certain training has been proven to be a much more cost-effective, time-efficient approach.