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Selecting an Effective Instructional Design Company for Corporate Training Needs

The title of this blog post was “best” instead of “effective,” but that didn’t communicate the importance of effective training. It’s not about the best, fastest, cheapest, or other superlative. It’s always about the most effective instructional design company for the job.

Fast but ineffective is useless. Cheap but ineffective is also meaningless. The best doesn’t mean anything, and there is no such thing as universally the best; it’s about the right fit for the project and your company, the culture, and how you want to work together.

But how do you pin down the right instructional design company to work with to create effective corporate training for your company?

That entirely depends on your specific needs. This post shows you what to look for to find the right instructional design firm for your project. Making the right choice is important because your decision can impact your organization’s learning culture and overall performance.

A lot of reflecting must happen to find the right instructional design company for corporate training.

Choosing the best instructional design firm isn’t something you should take lightly. It’s critical to forge a partnership that matches your company’s unique needs, strengths, and goals. An ideal instructional design company for corporate technical training understands how to make your project effective and successful.

It’s about creating lasting change that improves employees’ job performance, and the right company’s focus will be to accomplish this goal. That’s why it’s not about speed or cost but rather about creating something effective.

This post explores some factors you should consider in an instructional design partner and why these qualities are critical for achieving corporate training excellence.

Understanding Your Training Needs

Before selecting the best instructional design company for your corporate training needs, having a clear understanding of those needs is essential. Take a step back and evaluate the tangible goal of the training needs.

Ask yourself a few questions about why you think there’s a training need. Training isn’t the answer for every corporate issue. It’s quite often not the answer at all. Many problems can make it appear that training is the answer, but something else is the cause.

An effective instructional design company will help you figure out if training is the issue or if there’s something else you can do to solve the problem. It could be as simple as a strategic email or a motivation issue.

A thorough analysis of your organization, the project goals, and workforce will help tell a bigger story. There’s a saying that I’m not sure who to attribute it to, but someone else came up with this:

New employee training should be expected, new training requests should be suspected.

This is completely paraphrased, though. The point is that unless the training is for getting new hires up to speed, then the assumption should be that training isn’t needed. That doesn’t mean it isn’t needed, but it should be suspected that it’s not the answer to the issue unless proven otherwise.

A good instructional design partner will take the time to understand your training needs or if training is necessary. They’ll understand the importance of finding the right solution whether training or not. They’ll also know the focus should be on effectiveness rather than cheapness or speed.

Things You Should Know Before Selecting

The following sections will help you understand what you should know before selecting an instructional design company. Ultimately, it all comes down to finding the right company that focuses on making your training effective.

Know Your Goal

Having a clear goal in mind helps you ask questions and will shine a light on whether training is the answer. What do you want to achieve through your corporate training program? Are you looking to improve employee performance? Enhance leadership skills? Or perhaps foster a culture of innovation within your organization?

By defining your goals upfront, you can find an instructional design partner to deliver outcomes aligned with those objectives. If you need to train employees on company software, working with a corporate technical training specialist is a good idea.

Whether you need technical training or soft skills development, there are companies with expertise in various domains, industries, and even types of training. A good instructional design firm will know its craft and understand where it excels to help you achieve your goal.

Generalist or Specialist

Another factor to consider is whether you require a generalist or a specialist. A generalist company offers various training solutions across different industries and topics. On the other hand, a specialist company focuses on specific areas or industries.

Both options have their advantages but they also can each have disadvantages. It’s about finding the right choice for your company or project.

Both generalis and specialist provide positives as well as negatives for corporate training.

A generalist company may bring a fresh perspective and innovative ideas from working with diverse clients. They can also offer various training programs to meet your organization’s needs.

However, if you have unique requirements (such as technical training) or operate in a niche industry, a specialist instructional design agency may be better equipped to understand your challenges and deliver targeted solutions.

There’s a lot of nuance on whether you should choose a generalist or a specialist. You can learn more about those nuances in our post about deciding between a generalist or a specialist.

Customization and Tailored Solutions

One size does not fit all when it comes to corporate training. Your organization is unique, and so are its training needs. That also goes for the specific project. Your company won’t have the same needs from project to project, let alone the company.

A good instructional design company will take the time to understand your organization’s culture, values, and specific requirements. They’ll collaborate with you to create training that aligns with your brand identity and resonates with employees.

Customization goes beyond just branding; it also involves adapting the content and delivery methods to suit your employee’s preferences and capabilities. If your employees aren’t fans of eLearning, then you likely shouldn’t try to force them into eLearning.

Some training can be generic but some should be completely custom.

If your organization doesn’t have an LMS and can’t use any of our suggested methods of serving digital training without an LMS, then eLearning isn’t the answer. But it might be the perfect solution if they’re geographically distributed, familiar with eLearning, or can’t take time out to sit in training.

It’s all about working with your organization to find the right solution.

An effective instructional design partner will find the right strategies for your project and organization. No training solution should be a one-size-fits-all approach. Work with a company that doesn’t try to force the same solution on everyone.

There are options for off-the-shelf training for generic training topics (such as Microsoft Teams), but custom training is necessary for some projects. A combination of off-the-shelf and custom solutions is good, which means not everything should be custom, but not everything can be off-the-shelf.

Focus on Engaging and Effective

Dull PowerPoint presentations with a monotone voice puts employees to sleep. People’s attention spans aren’t decreasing; we’re just more selective about where we focus. It’s not right to blame attention spans for boring training.

An excellent instructional design firm understands the importance of creating immersive learning experiences that go beyond information dissemination. They know the importance of and when to use scenario-based learning, software simulations, video, or even gamification.

Relevant training is both engaging and effective.

Even within these categories, training can be good or bad. For instance, a good company knows how to write engaging and lively eLearning. It’s about striking the right balance between engagement and effectiveness.

Effectiveness is the most important, which means relevance is king (and queen) of training. While making the training enjoyable is essential, it should also deliver the desired performance (not learning) outcomes.

Look for a company that can demonstrate its focus on designing training programs that achieve engagement and effectiveness.

Alignment with Business Objectives

Your corporate training programs shouldn’t exist in isolation. Closely aligning with your organization’s overall business objectives is critical. When selecting an instructional design company, consider how well they focus on understanding your company’s business goals, industry, market, and strategic goals.

An instructional design partner who understands the business context of your training needs will be able to create training that addresses specific challenges or opportunities. This is where effective training comes from.

Tieing training into business objectives means it will incorporate realistic examples of how employees can use it in their jobs. A good instructional design company will make training relevant and useful.

An instructional design firm that aligns its goals with yours will be invested in your success. They’ll go the extra mile to ensure that training contributes to achieving the project objectives and drives tangible results.

Collaborative Approach to Design

The best instructional design companies will focus on your project’s needs. They should be a partner rather than service providers. Look for a company that values open communication, active collaboration, and feedback throughout the design process.

If you don’t have a direct line of communication with the company, then you’re not working with the right company. Those lines of communication should match your needs, too. A direct phone number or a way to schedule a meeting easily is a must.

All stakeholders from your organization should be included in the design process. They’ll seek input from subject matter experts within your company to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content. This collaborative approach ensures that the final training reflects the project’s and your company’s needs.

Ongoing Support And Flexibility

Corporate training is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing learning and development process. That’s why selecting an instructional design company that’s always available to work with you is crucial even after the initial training is delivered.

They should be available to adapt and update the training content as your organization’s needs evolve. This is especially true regarding technical training because company software is always changing regarding development and best practices. Updating old eLearning is always important to keep it accurate and effective.

Flexibility is another essential aspect to consider. Your organization’s training needs may change, or new challenges may arise. A good instructional design partner can accommodate these changes and switch gears when necessary.

Project Management and Timely Delivery

When partnering with an instructional design company, can they manage all aspects of the project? Look for a company with experience and the ability to deliver projects on time and within budget.

An effective instructional design firm will help you understand where the project is, its challenges, and the overall timeline as it changes. Your concerns should never go unanswered, and any issues should be addressed promptly.

Wrap Up

Selecting the best instructional design company for your corporate training needs is a critical decision that can impact the success or failure of training. It could be the difference between effective training and training that’s done cheaply and quickly.

You want training to be impactful and effective; otherwise, it’s all a waste. Your organization’s learning culture and overall performance should be improved. Each topic in this post will help you identify an instructional design partner that will elevate your corporate training.

With the right selection strategy, you can find an instructional design company well-equipped to create effective training that helps employees excel.

Our expertise is in effective corporate technical training, but we also work on other types of corporate training, but exclusively digital training. Schedule a consultation to discuss how we can help your corporate training succeed.

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