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6 Tips To Build And Maintain A Successful Learning Vendor Relationship

Outsourcing learning and development (L&D) efforts are common for organizations in need of the experts and tools required to develop professional training. When outsourcing training, there are strategies organizations can adopt to maintain a positive relationship with their vendor. 

Check out 6 tips for outsourcing L&D content and maintaining a successful learning vendor relationship:

  1. Prepare Your Team By Reviewing The Scope Of Work
  2. Thoroughly Research Your Vendor
  3. Maintain Clear, Consistent Communication And Feedback
  4. Set Expectations Early On
  5. Plan For Bumps In The Road
  6. Supply Your Vendor With Key Resources

In 2020, 44% of organizations in the training industry partially or completely outsourced their custom content development. For organizations that must turn to a vendor for their training and development needs, it can be tricky to learn how to navigate this new relationship with their partner. 

As an experienced outsourced learning provider, we know what it takes to maintain a successful relationship with our clients. By working with our partners from the beginning stages of their project to the end of its lifespan, we’ve discovered 6 tips to ensure this process runs smoothly. 

This article will provide 6 tips for a successful learning vendor relationship and explore what a typical partnership with Roundtable looks like. 

Tip #1: Prepare Your Team By Reviewing The Scope Of Work

One of the first steps your organization should take when outsourcing training content is to clearly review the scope of work. Oftentimes, more team members start to get involved with a project as time goes on (e.g. engaging in weekly calls or check-ins). When new personnel get involved, they may not be aware of what was agreed upon in the Statement of Work (SOW), which can cause communication issues and unexpected requests.

Organizations can bring new members into their project, but they should ensure these new personnel understand the scope of work. Increases in the scope of work are to be expected if more team members get involved and make new suggestions as the project develops. 

Tip #2: Thoroughly Research Your Vendor

There are a multitude of vendors that organizations can pick from for their outsourced training. Organizations should research potential vendors by taking the following steps:

  • Examine their portfolio on their website
  • Research case studies
  • Explore their social media channels
  • Find reviews and ratings
  • Research pricing information

By essentially performing a background check on potential vendors, organizations can ensure they find a partner that’s legitimate, responsive, and the best fit for them. 

Tip #3: Maintain Clear, Consistent Communication And Feedback

Throughout your project’s entire lifespan, you should maintain clear, consistent communication and feedback with your vendor. This can be done in the form of:

  • Regular video call check-ins
  • Weekly or monthly emails or voice calls
  • Scheduled status updates, planning, and storyboarding meetings

Regardless of what stage your project is in, your organization and its vendor should be in constant communication to ensure the project is on track. With clear, consistent communication and feedback, your organization can make sure your investment is paying off through deliverables that meet your needs

Tip #4: Set Expectations Early On 

By setting expectations early on, organizations can ensure that their project is on track to succeed. Expectations should be set for the following project elements:

When expectations are set early on, organizations will feel more in control of their project and receptive to potential changes. With agile project management and clearly defined expectations, both the organization themself and their vendor will set the foundation for a successful partnership. 

Tip #5: Plan For Bumps In The Road

Hurdles that may set a project back include deadlines, miscommunication, and budgeting. Organizations can plan for bumps in the road by addressing the following questions before the project begins: 

  • If an issue arises, who on our team will handle it and what is their plan of action?
  • What is our best communication method with our vendor?
  • What tool will we use to report on issues?
  • How will we monitor the progress of resolving issues? 

By preparing for potential hurdles, organizations will be better equipped with the personnel, tools, and actions needed to resolve these issues as soon as possible. 

Tip #6: Supply Your Vendor With Key Resources

During the beginning phases of your project’s lifespan, your organization needs to supply your partner with key resources they need to build your program. These resources could include:

  • PowerPoints
  • Current Training Documents
  • Key Training Data
  • Contact Sheets
  • Branding Guidelines

It’s important that your organization supplies your vendor with these resources as soon as possible. The earlier your organization provides your vendor with these key resources, the better off your project will be. 

What Does A Partnership With Roundtable Look Like?

Each organization develops training programs differently. Specifically at Roundtable, we take several steps to ensure a collaborative partnership that delivers measurable results. A partnership with Roundtable follows these steps:

  • Introduction — This initial step helps your organization centralize its L&D needs and learn about our services. During the introduction, organizations can expect to cover multiple modalities of interest, your budget range, and project timeline. 
  • Initiating — Once you get to know our team, Roundtable will schedule a discovery call where we learn about your team, performance gaps, learning objectives, and training needs. 
  • Planning  — After the scope of your project is defined, we get started building your custom training content. We set clear expectations and maintain constant communication regarding the program’s workflow, timeline, and management.
  • Executing — Once the framework is laid, our team gets to work developing your learning material. Clients can expect regularly scheduled meetings for updates on the project’s status and key milestones. 
  • Completion — The completion stage is when our team hands over all final assets to your organization. Both organizations check the quality of the content and potentially launch a pilot program. 
  • Continued Support — Once the program is rolled out, Roundtable will help ensure that the program is following its intended goals. This support makes sure that the course is instructionally sound, functional, and benefiting your workforce.

Maintain A Successful Partnership From Start To Finish!

We’ve covered 6 tips for your organization when it comes to outsourcing training. We hope that this article has given you the tips and tools you need to feel more confident moving forward with your vendor. 
Need help planning or developing your next training program? Our team of experts are here to help you find the right training for your organization. Reach out to our team today or explore more of our resources on all things L&D.

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