How Leveraging External Trainers Can Advance Your Companies Growth and Talent Optimization Discover how your organization can use external trainers to build capabilities, lower training cost and create a sustainable workforce for the future, while still delivering high-quality training and lasting results.

By Dr. Carol Parker Walsh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The ongoing training and development of today's workforce will play a crucial role in organizational growth, innovation and sustainability. LinkedIn Learning's 2023 Workplace Learning report, Building an Agile Future, found that the C-suite's top priority is motivating and engaging employees. Since it's anticipated by the 2021 World Economic Forum Report that all employees around the world will need to be reskilled by 2025 and by 2030, more than 85 million jobs are anticipated to go unfilled because there aren't enough skilled people to take them, organizations have to make talent development a key priority agenda. Investments made today by business leaders in their workforce will save millions in the future.

In addition to turning staff into organizational superstars, today, learning and development (L&D) teams, must find ways to enhance employee engagement in flexible work environments, create learning experiences that can serve as a recruitment tool, and move beyond knowledge transfer to truly expanding capabilities and shifting organizational culture. That's a tall (and expensive) order for any well-staffed L&D department, and even more of a challenge when there's a knowledge gap in your current L&D team or when you don't have one at all.

To meet the current and growing demands to create learning programs that drive results, organizations must spend considerable revenue creating and ensuring their L&D departments are appropriately staffed. However, external trainers can save money by negating the cost of hiring and training new staff and utilizing external trainers can drive considerable behavioral changes necessary to see a lasting impact on learning outcomes. Here are three reasons why.

1. Expertise and experience

External trainers bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the table, which organizations can instantly access. According to a Training Industry, Inc. report, 87% of organizations using external trainers say they do so to access specialized expertise and knowledge. "External trainers can provide a fresh perspective and expertise that might not be available internally. They can help organizations stay current and competitive." External trainers and consultants have worked with various organizations and have experience with what works and what doesn't. Because of their real-world experience, they can offer valuable insights and advice on the most effective training methods and strategies in the volatile, complex, and ambiguous environment organizations are currently navigating. Their experience rolling out leadership development initiatives, as both a trainer and experienced leaders themselves, makes it easy to identify areas for improvement that they may have overlooked. By leveraging the expertise and experience of external trainers, organizations can save money, as much as 30%, and by avoiding costly mistakes and implementing best practices. A Society for Human Resource Management study found that 72% of organizations say that using external trainers and consultants helps them stay competitive.

Related: How Business Leaders Can Keep Employees Engaged

2. Customized training programs

There are five must-have elements in creating a leadership development program that drives results: customizable, measurable, integrated, applicable and experiential. Customized training helps the company's workforce perform more effectively and efficiently, which leads to better results. To advance innovation, research by McKinsey urges L&D to stop creating one-off training that checks the box but doesn't effect long-term change, but rather "invest in leadership-development experiences that are emotional, sensory, and create aha moments." Learning experiences that are immersive and engaging are remembered more clearly and for a longer time. Human behaviors aren't easily shifted overnight, and tailored training programs, customized to fit the organization's unique requirements and goals, make employees more likely to retain and apply the information they learn in their work, resulting in better performance and increased productivity. Utilizing external trainers in this regard can also help break up groupthink and stagnation, dramatically affecting company culture and innovation. Personalized learning is no longer just a buzzword in L&D. It's essential to how adults learn, engage today's workforce and drive business outcomes.

3. Accountability and follow-up

External trainers provide accountability and follow-up to ensure practical training drives behavioral change. In Brandon Hall Group's Transforming Learning for the Future of Work study, the number three challenge facing L&D teams is that "they don't know how to measure learning well enough to ensure the future skills development needed will be achieved." To create these on-demand learning experiences in response to the changing landscape in the workplace, L&D departments can find themselves cramming too much information into a single training session. There needs to be more time to engage in effective follow-up to reinforce the learning and ensure it is applied consistently, which can be problematic if there's a lack of staff or expertise within L&D teams. Accountability and follow-up ensure any training initiatives are not just one-time events but an ongoing learning and developmental process that leads to real behavioral change. Training strategies must be built around opportunities with time to practice newly learned skills and less time introducing new concepts. External trainers are equipped to build accountability mechanisms necessary to reinforce the learning content, making it a part of leaders' day-to-day work, as well as track their ongoing progress because they're not being pulled in multiple directions or by numerous priorities. By providing sustainable accountability and follow-up, external trainers can again help organizations save money by ensuring that the training is practical and retained leading to desired outcomes and results. According to research by Deloitte," organizations with strong learning cultures are better equipped to handle change, stay competitive, and drive innovation."

Related: 12 Ways You Can Immediately Start To Motivate Your Employees

Cost of delay

The Ken Blanchard Companies surveyed over 700 leadership, learning, and talent development professionals to discover how they deal with changes in the work environment and what they are doing from an HR and L&D perspective. They found that 79% of respondents think it will be harder to retain their best people in 2023 due to limited budgets and a lack of resources to develop good content. Bringing on external trainers will help avoid missed opportunities and lost revenue.

A delay in implementing key training initiatives can increase manager and employee frustration, and decrease retention and productivity which can significantly impact an organization's bottom line. You also run the risk of employees continually reinforcing bad habits or incorrect techniques that will cost more time, effort, and money to undo. Not to mention what organizations stand to lose in potential business or market share due to a lack of skilled essential employees. According to Korn Ferry, the cost of delay, if left unchecked, could cost about $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenue.

Learning cultures are essential for the modern organization. In fact, since 2022, 72% of organizations have made learning and development a strategic and critical function. Investing in L&D empowers employees, improves retention, changes culture, unlocks innovation and significantly impacts the bottom line. By leveraging the expertise of external trainers, their ability to customize programming, provide accountability and follow-up, and drive real behavioral change, L&D can meet their current and future employee skill development needs in real-time by making an investment that will not only save them time and money but will ensure a viable workforce for the future.


What areas of expertise are you lacking internally on your learning and development teams, and how can external trainers help fill these gaps? What potential costs and missed opportunities have your organization already experienced by delaying training and development initiatives? How can you better prioritize your training and development budget to ensure you invest in the support needed to deliver on any mandated initiatives? Are you prepared for the massive upskilling and reskilling needs within your organization? These are just a few questions that may indicate it's time to invest in external trainers.

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh

Strategic Advisor, Executive Coach, Leadership Development

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh is the founder and owner of Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, a boutique strategic advisory, coaching, training and development firm specializing in helping organizations and leaders unlock their innovation potential.

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