Mixed Reviews for Outsourced Training

February 12, 2004
Boeing and Bristol-Myers Squibb offerred two different views of outsourced training at a February 9 conference on training in Anaheim, California.
Lisa Swenson is a procurement manager in the shared services group at Boeing.  She said at the ASTD conference that she's seen a triple-payoff from having outside firms like Intrepid Learning Solutions handle her company's training programs.
The first benefit has been a decrease in the rate at which expenses are growing. Second, Swenson says, some of the training is of higher quality, since it's done by firms whose sole expertise is training. The most interesting result, she says, is that it's helped some employees focus on what they enjoy. When employees worked as Boeing trainers, they often found themselves handling project management duties and other work that wasn't to their liking. Some employees have left Boeing to work at training outsourcers, but are still teaching new skills to Boeing employees. They're happy spending all their time on what they love and less on what they don't.
Steve Teal, director of global learning at Bristol-Myers, says he's purposely moving very slowly when it comes to having anyone but his own employees do the training. "There are certain things I will not outsource," he says. Teal's more likely to have outside vendors do technical work that requires less creative knowledge and less of an understanding of his company's culture.