Savvy learning and development leaders know boosting business success often involves a strategy for training your company's external partners as well as employees. With an external training management system in place, not only can you give external learners access to needed learning resources, you can analyze data to validate their skills and understand their learning goals and preferences.
Organizations increasingly collaborate with subcontractors, outsource partners, customers, vendors, contract sellers and community members. These professionals are modern learners with limited time, whose attention may be split between your learning offerings and learning goals generated through other partnerships. While they may understand the importance of learning, it needs to be as efficient as possible.
Here's how you can meet their needs:
Focus on the knowledge & skills that drive their success
Center your partners' content access on those resources that will boost their success in the work they do for your organization. Policies and procedures, product knowledge, sales skills, and customer service skills are likely the kinds of learning topics they'll appreciate. And being able to learn their way around new tools and procedures at the same time as their internal contacts helps smooth interactions and transitions.
Serve up short, targeted learning experiences
Help your partners use their time wisely by designing their training and information to be accessible via mobile devices in quick chunks at any time. Include high-value learning interactions like skill practice to solidify learning that has been acquired over time.
Vary content delivery mode
Videos, tutorials, demos, online discussions, articles, timely communications, infographics, job aids, simulations, webinars—all kinds of content delivery options have their place, so let your extended enterprise partners learn with the same variety you offer your full-time employees. By varying content delivery, you're empowering external learners to access information in a way that makes sense to them.
Create valuable learning paths
Minimize the time people search for learning by structuring their knowledge building and upskilling. Allow them to take course modules at their own pace, but enable them to see the path to the end goal. This is especially important when external partners need to achieve certification in your products or processes.
Treat them like the valued partners they are
Reach out to discover what your external learners need and how they like to learn. Connect them with a learning community, internal experts or other partners if that's appropriate. Provide recognition for achieving skill milestones.
This advice applies to all modern learners, both internal and extended enterprise, and having an external training management system extension enables you to leverage your learning assets to serve all needs. In addition to ensuring your partners learn efficiently, this more extensive technology saves the organization time and money by avoiding duplication efforts. An organization's capabilities are multiplied when all of its human capital has access to relevant, engaging learning resources.