Survey reveals a growing inclination to contract out training administration

HR practitioners are warming to the idea of freeing-up their time and resources by using external providers to undertake training administration tasks, according to a new survey.

KnowledgePool, the learning services company, asked 95 HR directors, departmental heads and training managers of UK organisations about this issue.

In a previous survey, undertaken in 2002 by IT Skills Research*, only 17 per cent of practitioners were considering or using such services. In a significant shift, 38 per cent of HR practitioners now say they are in favour of contracting out time-consuming training tasks which have traditionally been performed in-house. This includes administrative tasks such as booking training events, inviting delegates, managing cancellations, gathering feedback and generating reports – as well as third party supplier procurement and management.

The survey warns that there is a potential conflict of interest in contracting out training administration and support tasks to an external provider that runs its own schedule of training courses. HR practitioners appear to be taking this on board as 60 per cent now believe that these administrative tasks should only be undertaken by independent, ‘vendor neutral’ service providers.

“If you make an external provider responsible for your training supplier selection, can they really give you an independent recommendation when they run their own schedule of training courses as well?” said Rod Edwards. “Organisations should think twice before giving this kind of contract to their incumbent training provider.”

The survey also shows that HR practitioners in the private sector appear to be slightly more inclined to contract out training administration tasks than their counterparts in the public sector.

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“The concept of using external providers for training administration tasks is gaining ground in the UK because HR practitioners would rather spend their time and resources on pressing HR concerns, such as setting the learning strategy and managing the broader human resources activities. There’s also a growing recognition that external providers can offer economies of scale.”

Rod Edwards, Chief Executive of KnowledgePool