Management training: In-house or external?

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By Christine MacDonald

Training is a necessity for all job roles. For managers, training is essential to learn the new skills required for the position, yet a staggering 98% of managers feel they need more training.  An effective training course can empower a manager and turn them into a true leader.

Choosing the best management training for your team can be a challenge. Bad managers are one of the top reasons people leave their job and adequate training is part of making sure this doesn’t happen. With this in mind, which management training is best: in-house or external? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option.

In-House training

Pros: In-house training can be made personal and tailored specifically for a manager and department, giving you the chance to make it extremely relevant and useful. Internal training can use real-life company examples and can promote the core values of the business.

No travel expenses mean the cost of in-house training is almost always cheaper. If the training is provided by another member of staff, you also won’t need to pay for an external trainer. The trainer could be another manager or more senior member of staff. They must know everything about the company, regulations and role the manager needs to perform in order to succeed. In-house training can also easily fit around the schedule of the manager or group of managers being trained.

Cons: While an internal trainer will have knowledge of the company, you want somebody who will motivate and instil creativity and ideas. Another manager may have been in the role for a number of years and, although they can pass on their knowledge, you might be looking for something fresh.

Using the same space and environment that a manager works in every day can also affect the mentality of the training course. If the training is in the room used for weekly meetings, it might be seen as just a box-ticking exercise.

External Management Training

Pros: An external trainer will have a wealth of experience with management and leadership training. They know how to get people motivated, empowered and thinking outside of the box. They can develop fresh ideas and have experience with a wide variety of businesses and managers. Meeting managers from other businesses can be very refreshing. Sharing ideas, grievances and challenges can help managers learn from the successes and failures of others.

Taking staff out of the office for the day means there are no distractions. A training course in a new environment means they can push aside any office issues for the day and fully concentrate and engage in the training programme.

Cons: Some manager courses will bring people from all departments and all business sizes. Small and medium-sized business managers will require different skills to that of a global organisation. An idea which might work for one business won’t work for another, so the training could be too generic and irrelevant to your requirements.

The cost of external management training is also significantly more than it would be in-house. If you have a number of managers to send on management courses, this can set you back a hefty amount. If you do decide to pay up and send managers to an external training course, be sure it’s one which comes highly recommended with practical, actionable results.

How to Decide Which Management Training is Best

Deciding what’s best for the managers in your company comes down to a number of aspects. Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide:

  1. How much money do we have to spend on training?
  2. What is the aim of the training?
  3. How many managers require training?
  4. Do we have anybody who is a sufficient trainer in-house?

Many management training companies offer the option of organising in-house training, which is personalised for each company. If you are training a few managers, this can be much more cost-effective.

Investing in training which will allow your managers to feel empowered is important. How you decide to train them is up to you, but the most important thing is that you develop the best possible leaders for your company.

Christine MacDonald is the director of The Hub Events.