As an observer and participant in the learning and development (L&D) industry, one of the most significant challenges consumers faces is finding high-quality training providers that can meet their organisation's unique needs.
It’s a tough challenge as there are so many options in all learning areas, ranging from functional to non-functional learning. Add to that vast differences and at times similarities in quality. As we move into the soft-skill range of options, that problem is further compounded as learning objectives and outlines are often very similar.
In Malaysia alone, we have over 7,000 L&D providers creating a sea of options for consumers. With the latest mandate from HRD Corp, any organisation larger than 10 employees is mandated to contribute a levy on a monthly basis, thereby mandating organisations to offer some form of L&D service for their employees.
While the entire exercise and motive behind the levy is commendable as it pushes the culture of learning and development onto Malaysian organisations, the execution of the process can be very difficult. With a large and ever-expanding group of L&D suppliers, how does an organisation sift through the vast choice to arrive at a preferred vendor that meets their organisation’s L&D needs?
It can be a daunting task to sift through countless options and evaluate each one to ensure it aligns with our objectives.
Digital marketplaces have emerged as a solution to this problem, offering a one-stop-shop for finding and selecting training providers. In the B2C world, we are very accustomed to having marketplaces to easily source compare and decide on a range of product options ranging from shoes, hotel rooms or travel experiences.
In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of digital marketplaces and how they can help solve the challenges of finding and selecting training providers. Essentially, these marketplaces move the functionality and ease of B2C platforms into the B2B service space.
The Challenges of Finding and Selecting Training Providers
The learning and development industry is rapidly evolving, and the demand for customised training programmes is increasing. However, one of the significant challenges faced by Learning and Development (L&D) professionals is finding the right training providers for their organisation's unique needs. In fact, according to a survey by Training Industry, Inc., 70% of training professionals find it challenging to identify high-quality training providers.
This challenge is not surprising, given the vast number of providers in the market, each claiming to offer the best services. Additionally, companies are under pressure to ensure that their training programmes align with their business objectives and are cost-effective. This requirement puts extra pressure on L&D professionals to find the right provider that can meet their organisation's specific needs.
Moreover, selecting the right provider is critical for the success of any training programme. A report by Bersin & Associates found that 40% of companies reported that they struggle with selecting the right training providers. This report highlights the importance of choosing the right provider to ensure that the programme delivers the desired outcomes.
Another significant challenge is measuring the effectiveness of training programmes. A study by McKinsey & Company found that only 25% of companies believe their training programmes are effective at improving performance. This is mainly due to the lack of alignment between the training programme and business objectives, as well as the lack of effective measurement tools.
These challenges pose significant obstacles to L&D professionals, making it difficult for them to select the right provider, create effective training programmes, and measure their effectiveness. Fortunately, digital marketplaces offer a solution to these challenges.
The Benefits of Digital Marketplaces for Learning and Development
Digital marketplaces offer a one-stop-shop for finding and selecting training providers. They provide a platform for subject matter experts to showcase their training programmes, making it easier for learning and development professionals to find the right provider for their organisation's needs. The benefits of digital marketplaces for learning and development include:
- Access to a vast network of training providers: Digital marketplaces provide access to a broad network of training providers, making it easier to find the right provider for your organisation's needs.
- A wide range of training programmes: Digital marketplaces offer a plethora of training programmes, from traditional classroom-based training to online and mobile learning programmes.
- Local and international learning providers: Digital marketplaces provide access to both, giving organisations a more comprehensive range of options.
Additionally, by using the basic functionality of digital marketplaces, customers are able to make their decision making a lot more efficient by utilising basic filtering options that allows them to narrow down the options based on key levers.
These levers could be the industry fit, audience level, skill level or key skillsets addressed. Over time, with social proof integrated into marketplaces, consumers also have the option to filter out suppliers with lower quality and focus on higher quality providers. Most consumers are very comfortable with this approach with e-commerce B2C platforms and the same will be possible for B2B solutions as well.
The Power of Digital Marketplaces
Digital marketplaces have become a game-changer in the learning and development industry. They offer a one-stop-shop for finding and selecting training providers, which saves time and resources. According to a report by the eLearning Industry, organisations that use digital marketplaces and e-learning tools save at least 50% more training costs compared to traditional classroom-based training.
This is often the case when suppliers aggregate in a common platform. Due to the variety of options available to consumers, L&D suppliers need to be able to articulate their value vs. pricing. Given that service driven solutions are less price elastic, suppliers have the ability to add more value or compete on price. As a result, consumers win. Suppliers still have the ability to communicate how they could add value and justify their pricing if required but consumers have the ability too to say no and move on.
This could be a very positive view for both sides of the marketplace. For suppliers, it allows them to qualify their leads and hopefully they narrow down on a customer segment that meets their requirements. On the customer side, they have the ability to sift through the options to really nail down the supplier that works to their learning requirements and budgets.
In conclusion, the challenges of finding and selecting training providers can be daunting, but digital marketplaces have emerged as a solution to this problem. They offer a one-stop-shop for learning and development professionals to find the right provider for their organisation's needs.
Digital marketplaces provide access to a broad network of training providers, a wide range of training programmes, multimedia resources, and self-paced learning. Learning and development professionals should explore the benefits of digital marketplaces, and TalentStore - Learn, Grow, Succeed! is an excellent option for accessing local and international learning providers.