10 tips for initial supplier selection
- Do some market research to identify potential suppliers Don’t just assume that the trainers who work with your more junior – or specialist – staff will be suitable for management training. Look for potential suppliers experienced in training senior people.
- Know your budgets Your budget will determine the format of the training, the quality of the trainers, and the timeframe. Luckily, with management training, you are in a good position to lobby for extra funding if necessary.
- Check the track records of suppliers Look at references, case studies, accreditation status (whether or not they are accredited by a reputable third party), how long they’ve been established, and their trainers’credentials. Look too at their clients – are they your peers or competitors? Word-of-mouth recommendation from senior staff or counterparts at similar organisations may help.
- Decide if training is to be on- or off-site or through public courses Managers will have heavy workloads and may think they are too busy for off-site training – but this may be exactly the kind of training from which they would benefit most. It’s worth getting senior management’s buy-in at an early stage, in case candidates resist the idea of off-site training. Public courses will work for certain topics, and you may find that managers will benefit from meeting their peers.
- Draw up a short list and invite suppliers to tender for the work This way you will get a better idea of what the market has to offer.
- Send the same brief to all Keep the selection process fair and measureable.
- Hold a ‘beauty parade’ of prospective suppliers and ensure senior management is present Senior management will want to know how their money is being spent. They may also be able to pinpoint the type of trainer from which they have benefited in the past. They will also know the managers better than you do, and should be able to provide insight into what topics and formats would work best.
- Give potential suppliers the same time and equipment in which and with which to present There’s no point inviting several companies to pitch if conditions are different. This will help you make an educated decision, and will mean that any records you keep will make sense at a later date – you won’t have to rely on any judgments you made on the day.
- Look for unanimity in selection The L&D team is not the only stakeholder in deciding who trains the company’s managers – and everyone must agree with the choice of trainer.
- Rather than just meeting sales representatives from the training companies, ask to meet the trainers too. Make sure they understand your organisation’s culture and objectives. Will they work well with your staff? And make sure they have experience in training managers.
Suppliers – the next steps
There are the fundamentals on which to decide: dates, numbers, fees and locations. That’s the easy bit. Subject and content development will be far more demanding.
Do NOT leave this to the supplier unless you are sending delegates on a public course. Even then you should provide a list of key topics you’d like covered. Ensure you are involved at every stage and insist you have right of sign-off or even reject content.
If delegates are to be given written material to take away with them, agree in advance who owns copyright. When entering into the contract with the chosen supplier, make sure that deliverables, contents and standards are agreed beforehand. Insist on get-out clauses or fee reductions in the event of underperformance by the supplier.mktoMunchkin(“589-ITG-580”);