Companies, whether new or long existing, desire to grow and progress beyond others within their industry, and they often find a gap between where the management visualizes the place they want to be and the methods or skills needed to succeed. For new businesses, this may resemble a small team that has various skilled individuals all focused on reaching the purpose for their company’s existence which can best be accomplished with added specific insight or skill. For the long-existing businesses, a recognition of a new direction or possible changes that include adding capabilities to a built team may require a decision on internally investing within the company to reach broader aspirations. According to Emad Rizkalla with Huffington Post states, “HR Magazine reports that companies investing $1,500 or more per employee per year on training average 24 percent higher profit margins than companies with lower yearly training investments.” Once a clear direction of empowering the business has been chosen, the question changes from whether to seek external help to the type outside assistance.
With the advancement in digital skills and education, companies today have more external options from contract work to consulting and training. The difficulty is choosing the best assistance that will increase capabilities and further develop services to be offered for long-term business success. It starts with assessing the current organization’s strengths and which additional capabilities could provide further benefit. Norm Smallwood and Dave Ulrich with HBR share their studies on the most common 11 company capabilities and how to capitalize on the value of each. When deciding on the external assistance direction for a company, the most common question to answer includes how might a consultant or trainer benefit a business differently.
Consultants, the Physicians/Surgeons of Company Growth
If the organization could be considered the human body with the view of improving it internally for optimum strength use outwardly, the consultant would be the physician or surgeon to the business. The physician looks at the current state of the human body with the understanding of its expected health and function, and identifies areas for mending or repairing. The knowledge and experienced skill of the doctor and surgeon suggests and arranges the body internally for the possibility of achieving its healthy goals. Similarly, consulting benefits a company by observing the functions of an organization, identifying skills or changes needed and provides innovative methods to accomplish the goals established by the company’s leaders.
For this reason, if you are a manager who has determined to seek external perspective, but unsure on the exact decision or changes needed, a consultant may be the best fit. Consulting offers experienced, problem-solving, unbiased viewpoints to challenges while applying creative thinking and ideas your team may need to begin navigating toward your desired outcome. Consultants look to support businesses in a variety of ways, so they are a safe place for managers and usually have specialized business skills for either short-term or long-term implementation.
Trainers, the Physical Therapists of Company Development
Continuing the analogy of the business as the human body, the trainer would be considered the physical therapist who engages individual parts of the body to improve its strength and ability. After identifying the problem and possibly following an operation, the physical therapist focuses on introducing new concepts and creates a plan for practicing exercises with the hopes of extending its current capabilities. This often includes follow-up visits to evaluate progress and re-establish plans for each individual body part needing improvement. In much of the same way, business training focuses on specific skills needing to either be first taught or developed more thoroughly, and creates both lessons and individual assessments for those within an organization seeking these capabilities.
Richard Spires, blog.learningtree.com
With the goal in mind, you may have determined the specific abilities to develop within your team and which individuals this may include, and now your decision is on the method of training. Since training will require additional work time for each team member, this along with finances and whether it’s a digital skill should guide the type and frequency of training to which the organization is willing to commit. Training can be provided during working hours or not, in a classroom setting or via a web seminar. Richard Spires has seen the use of blended learning in the workplace often strengthen the performance and commitment. Digital skill development allows more options where other types of trainings may require in-person locations.
Whether the best choice for your company is consulting or training, both have the mind of internal development as the building blocks for increasing the digital abilities and processes within a company. A step toward implementing the business’s objectives in the right way allows a business to expand beyond its expected potential while creating a long term, continual advancement.