Company specific training courses, even developed and held in-house are more and more coming under pressure. So as to question their additional expense.
Company specific vs. standardized Trainings - a current controversy
A current controversy
At the moment it is very much in doubt that such company specific, tailor made trainings offer real added value. In contrast to standard offers, which are, at least at first glance, cheaper. From a cost point of view the arguments start with constant new expense to develop further. In addition, seminar rooms, hotels, travel to and from the airport as well as trainer fees are quoted in particular. COVID-19 conditions highlight this pressure even more, as expected.
At the same time, hopes for a different kind of learning grow. Firstly, a design in modules based on different digital media would allow more autonomy of the learners. In addition, a detachment from rigid presence and processes would be fostered. (For instance, Crossknowledge, as an example for this, offers varied learning paths and a wealth of elements.)
Company specific Trainings - an obvious victim
In addition, any transfer of knowledge could be standardized in this way. Even better, it could thus be detached from any shaky trainer competence. Still, protests are easy! Firstly, company specific culture and specifics easily fall victim when going to standard offers.
Yet, company culture is most difficult to copy and, in the best case, one major competitive advantage. In the light of this, a first question that arises is whether the drastic reduction in company specific events can really be helpful. For instance, company cultures can erode or set too much. So far so, that tuning to changing conditions no longer take place. Otherwise, both stabilization and ‘unfreeze‘ can be done! But this is something much different and more valuable than teaching mere knowledge.
Level 1: Artefacts
Visible behaviors: products, rituals, myths, etc.
Products such as the company logo or detailled design principles represent, more or less, explicit wisdom. Such knowledge would have to be tought in standard training courses. This would thus lead to the specific tuning effort to trainings that one had actually wanted to avoid. Cross company target behaviors, meanwhile, can of course be tought in a standard way, and practiced.
Level 2: Internal Values, Management
Feeling for what is right, common informal norms
Yet, because such values are rather implicit – strongly worded company values and mission statements notwithstanding – they are only suitable to a limited extent for teaching in standard events.
Level 3: Deeply Rooted Cultural Convictions
Basic assumptions: relationship with nature and other people, time and space orientation
Underlying nature of business is extremely solid and enduring. Even less explicit than values, but convictions can clearly be very powerful. Executives and managers have to stabilize it and, if possible, develop it cautiously. But not only those: every employee can contribute. This can of course also occur in standard training courses, for example on a fireplace chat in the evening. However, it is also desirable that the entire event should be permeated with the “spirit of the house”, as can be ensured in a company specific event.
Picture by the author, with loose reference to Edgar H. Schein and Chad Renando