Open or in-house management training: Which is best for your organisation?

With 2017 just around the corner, HR and Training Managers will be reviewing annual training requirements for their organisations and considering the options available to them. But how do you decide between open or in-house management training? What are the differences and is there anything available in between these two options?

As you review open and in-house management training providers and before presenting your proposal to your board or senior management team, we recommend reading our guide that highlights the key attributes of all options:

1. Open training courses

  • Delegates are away from their usual work place, which enables them to distance themselves from daily activities and focus on the training content
  • If you have numerous employees to be trained but you don’t want them to be out of the office at the same time, a few can attend on one date and then more on later courses
  • Delegates benefit from interacting with a mix of delegates from a variety of industries. Initially they may feel they do not have anything in common with the other participants, but soon realise they share everyday challenges – see management training reviews below
  • This mix of delegate and industry input and ideas provides a rich and learning experience with an external perspective
  • Quality training providers will be running courses frequently, so if one of your delegates is unable to attend a course on the same day as their colleagues, they will be able to attend a week or so afterwards
  • Individual employee training needs can be accommodated by attending single courses. There is no need to delay the start of a management training programme because of insufficient numbers to conduct a session
  • Delegates are often more willing to speak up and participate when they are not with colleagues with whom they work on a daily basis
  • Often, as with Impellus, open courses are held at a number of venues around the country offering flexibility for your colleagues that are based in locations other than your head office. The majority of providers will provide management courses in London, for example, but not all will offer regular management training in Norwich, Newcastle and other major towns and cities
  • In addition to the flexibility, this also ensures that your employees have access to the same courses and they should receive consistent course content irrespective of where they are based and when they join your organisation
  • The Impellus’ Learning and Development Consultants who deliver the management and leadership skills training are directly employed by the organisation ensuring that quality and consistency is delivered to its clients
  • Good providers of training will offer a selection of courses, e.g. presentation skills training, commercial skills training and leadership and management training, so the different topics cater for the varying requirements, different responsibilities and seniority of your delegates
  • Open courses run by training providers that are accredited by a professional body or institute can be linked to further study and a qualification, such as the ILM Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management. If your employees join up to professionally develop in this way, the training provider can provide support throughout their studies
  • Some training providers offer funded training courses, which can make access to management training easier and helps to provide an extremely good return on your investment.

“The course was delivered in a way that included all participants whatever their background and organisation focus.” Robin Askew, Mary Hare School

2. In-house training

  • In-house training can be conducted at your premises or at a convenient venue decided by you
  • The format is very suitable if you have a group of employees that need to undergo training at the same time and who can all be away from their desks/workplace together for the duration
  • The content can be tailored specifically to your requirements whilst creating a positive learning experience, i.e. bespoke learning to fulfil organisation specific challenges
  • In-house training can be very effective when you need to communicate with a group of employees about a brand engagement programme or to embed cultural change, for example
  • The format, content and length of the training can be tailored by the training provider
  • If one or more of the delegates is unable to attend the training, it can be expensive to set up another session for them at a later date
  • The input from delegates and the sharing of experiences has an internal focus only
  • It can be very effective in getting teams to work more closely together, for example, and identifying where further training for individuals may be required
  • Managers joining the organisation after the training has taken place may miss out on the programme.

“It was good to partner with someone from outside of my business in the coaching session.” Michelle Netto, Weston Area Health Trust


Another option is a blended approach combining both open and in-house management training. Some organisations carry out in-house training for a team of employees and having identified further training needs for some people, they then book different open training courses for the individuals to attend. Alternatively, an organisation may use open management training courses to train individual members and later hold an in-house training session for a cultural change programme that is specific to their business.

Impellus Recommendations:

If your organisation has very specific workflow processes, a change management programme or organisational developments that you would like to communicate to a group of managers of the same level of seniority, in-house management training is very suitable and effective.

If you have individual managers who need to develop their core leadership skills in an environment where they can take time to stop and reflect on their current behaviours and skills, identify where they are performing well and where improvements would enhance their team, and where their outlook can be enriched up by an exterior perspective, open training courses fit the bill.

Training Reviews

Here’s a small sample of recent feedback on Impellus open management training courses:

“Overall course was very useful and content linked with current situations within my branch.” Matt Goodwin, Frontline Recruitment

“Very suited to the working environment.” Steven Mehta, Parkacre Enterprises Ltd.

“Brought subject matter to life with relevant examples.” Lauren Lister, Beavertown Brewery

More Impellus management training reviews can be viewed here, or get in touch with us for more information on open or in-house management training courses.

Myth: The return on investment in training cannot be measured

Reality: It depends on how you choose to view and measure it …


The challenges around calculating the ultimate benefit of management training – return on investment – are nothing new but are likely to be coming into sharper focus over the next few years as organisations face the challenges of improving productivity and the economic challenges of Brexit.

A recent report¹ suggests that 72% of CEO’s believe the next three years will be more critical for their industry than the last 50 years and that over 50% report significant skills gaps in key business functions.

Yet it’s not uncommon to hear that business leaders find it difficult to know where to start when measuring the returns to be had from management training.

However those who can set clear and simple objectives and evidence measures can generate and measure excellent returns on investment. These can have long term positive financial impact.

So here’s an Impellus guide to calculating the return on investment of your management and leadership training.


How to assess the value of management training

Business leaders and HR directors can assess the financial impact, value and benefits of  management training from qualitative evidence (this can be gathered by simply walking around the workplace) as well as other metrics accessible from quantitative records.


Here’s where to look to discover how the return on your management training investment is manifesting itself:


1.      Managers

Some behaviours which should be more prominently displayed by managers who have undergone leadership skills training:

  • Flexibility and agility when change management strategies are introduced within the organisation
  • Confidence to take the business and their team forward
  • Eagerness to apply new skills in the workplace to achieve targets
  • Strong relationships and empathy with their line reports and the passion for their teams to deliver on KPI’s
  • Readiness to conduct performance appraisals and set individual’s objectives in line with the organisation’s mission, values and goals
  • Enthusiasm for their line reports to undertake personal development training and willingness to introduce succession planning
  • Understanding of conflict situations that may occur within their teams and assertion to quickly resolve any that may arise
  • Readiness when it comes to new organisational/inter-departmental challenges
  • It could be argued that all managers should display these behaviours but few will consistently without formal training.


2.      Teamwork

Team members headed up by a manager who has been trained in leadership skills should be more likely to show a willingness to develop themselves or display improved working initiative.  Observation of these teams often reveals:

  • A harmonious and/or fun working atmosphere
  • High employee satisfaction scores in the annual employee/pulse survey
  • Excellent communication skills between one another and with other colleagues throughout the organisation
  • An increase in efficiency and productivity ratings compared with those prior to training
  • Higher than the organisation’s average customer satisfaction ratings, if they are a client facing team
  • Eagerness to get involved and support in organisational challenges, CSR/charitable fundraising, etc.


3.      HR

In the HR department, the effectiveness of training can be measured in statistical forms, as follows:

  • Absenteeism among engaged, ‘trained’ teams is most likely to be less than among those that are not motivated by their manager
  • Employee retention rates rise where training and personal development is experienced by staff, so this should be visible in the relevant teams
  • Succession planning and internal promotion is an attractive motivator to those who develop their skills and knowledge – the advancement of ‘trained’ employees should be easy to track compared to their colleagues who have not been given the same training opportunities
  • Over time the two metrics above (increased employee retention and internal promotion) will be reflected in a drop in the resource and cost involved in recruitment – a significant saving for the organisation.


There’s a huge opportunity for organisations to unleash the power of their people and deliver the financial benefits that come with that. There will be many signs as to the effectiveness of the investment in training; business leaders just need to look for them behaviourally and qualitatively before understanding the impact on the balance sheet.

¹ Unlocking Potential by, 2016-2017 Learning Benchmark Report – over 600 participants provided detailed information for this study.

J & B Hopkins engineers growth in its management team

Major investment in training programme

J & B Hopkins Ltd., a leading provider of mechanical and electrical engineering services to the construction industry, has announced a major investment in its management team by enrolling on an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) approved training programme, as the company builds upon its recent impressive expansion.

The company’s successful growth strategy has realised a healthy improvement in business performance as well as a controlled and structured increase in staff numbers over the last few years. J & B Hopkins understands that empowering Managers – particularly those who drive quality and customer satisfaction – to develop their teams will help to enhance employee engagement across the whole organisation.

The company’s HR Manager, Tim Samuel reported: ‘We were looking for a structured management training programme that would equip our employees, who all have extensive technical skills and knowledge, to excel in their people management responsibilities.’

‘Selecting the right training provider is so important’, continued Tim.  ‘After reviewing five providers, we trialled an Impellus course and were impressed with the course content and the flexibility of the model which will also allow us to offer the ILM Award to our Managers. The ability to secure funding and purchase a bundle of courses up front, which favourably impacted the price, were additional benefits to signing up with Impellus.’

J & B Hopkins has a track record of over 30 years in Mechnical & Electrical services design and build contracting. It aims to ensure that its Managers facing the challenges of continuing growth will be equipped in the future to focus on developing their own people as well as themselves. Impellus provides open management training courses frequently in Southampton near to J & B Hopkins’ offices, which is very convenient for travelling. The venue also enables the Managers to be away from their desks in a ‘distraction free’ training environment and share challenges with delegates from a variety of industry sectors.

Phil Lambden, Managing Director of J & B Hopkins, added; ‘Our business ethos is based on family values and empowerment of staff where flair, enthusiasm, initiatives and new ideas can flourish. The feedback from the Managers who attended the first course is that their confidence has increased and that has contributed positively to the ongoing success of our business. We are keen to enrol many of our staff to experience the training programmes now set and to encourage individual development towards maintaining great company spirit and positivity to our customers and supply chain as a result, as well as enhancing career development.’

Carrot or stick? Towards or Away? Gain or Avoid? What goes wrong?

No, not a new word puzzle – but a valuable motivational tool in a manager’s armoury

When managing and appraising performance, it’s really helpful to understand what drives each individual member of your team.

You may well be motivated by the carrot. However, it’s unlikely that all your line reports will be the same. The stick will drive others …..

If you thrive on the ‘towards’ principle and use this to engage with a colleague who is motivated by ‘away’, you’ll get frustrated with the lack of action. Likewise your colleague who is driven by ‘avoidance’ rather than ‘gaining benefits’ will get disgruntled at your lack of empathy.

And don’t make the common mistake of thinking that all successful, positive individuals are motivated by the same things.

If we consider two very successful entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson and Lord Alan Sugar – the former is predominantly motivated by ‘towards’ being the first to try many business ventures and taking lots risks personally in global adventures.

Lord Alan Sugar on the other hand, has been driven by the ‘away’ principle – wanting to get away from his poor upbringing and have a better lifestyle initially and then from competitive companies/ products to maintain his edge.

Understanding the different drivers behind the carrot or stick approach will help you to unlock the secret of leveraging performance and enable the desired behaviours to be achieved.

Tony Robbins, life coach and author, gives an insight to this motivational technique in his book entitled ‘Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement, as follows:

“All human behaviour revolves around the urge to gain pleasure or avoid pain.”

What you gain from getting this right

Spending time analysing ‘towards’ and ‘away from’ behaviours gives you and your team:

  • Greater production capabilities
  • More engaged and motivated staff
  • Fewer personnel issues
  • Increased average service length
  • Improved wellbeing and team spirit
  • Less stress!

The ‘carrot or stick’ principle is covered in more detail in NLP Meta-Programs which form the basis of several of the Impellus management training courses.

Who’s coming up behind you to make you succeed or do you need a kick up the backside?

This week two young GB Paralympians will return to school after excelling at Rio 2016. They were both inspired to overcome their disabilities and enter competitive sport by watching their idols during London 2012.

Hannah Cockcroft was unbeaten in her T34 wheelchair field for seven years until she came up against Kare Adenegan in London last September.

Hannah’s shock defeat gave her (in her words) the kick up the backside that she needed ensure she trained harder for Rio 2016.

Going into the September 2015 race, Hannah acknowledges that she took it for granted she would keep winning. In Rio Hannah won all three of her races and fifteen year old Kare followed closely behind with one silver plus two bronze medals.

Ellie Robinson took up swimming after her namesake, Ellie Simmonds, became a medal winner and an ambassador for disability sport. Ellie Robinson competed several times alongside Ellie Simmonds and other world champions bringing home a gold and bronze medal.

How do you get your team to feel the energy and passion that Ellie R and Kare felt when watching London 2012?  Do you get on with your day job and take it for granted that you will stay ahead of the game?

Although Ellie Simmonds and Hannah Cockcroft are not ready to hand over their batons yet, leadership succession planning is clearly already in hand within Team GB to maintain world championship status when the time comes.

The questions this begs of you

Who’s coming up behind you and who’s ready to succeed in your position when you’re promoted? Are your leadership skills helping you put plans in place to ensure a competitor doesn’t steal that lead?

And perhaps more importantly…

If you have nobody coming up behind you to kick your backside from below and make your team succeed, are you going to have your backside kicked from some other place which will hurt you far more?

Our Organisational Leadership Skills and Managing Performance and Efficiency training courses equip managers with tools and skills for succession planning.


Ethical behaviour comes from the top

We have all come across many examples of good, honest, hard-working people frustrated in their organisations by those in authority who do not work with the best interests of the business in mind.  I came across one recently where a senior manager was convinced that the MD (who was in charge of two sites) was happy to let the one he was involved in collapse because it was in difficulties.  While the MD, of course, would still have his position at the other site, many others would be out of a job if it failed.  His apparent lack of interest in the business’ long-term future was undermining the work of all the other staff who were trying their best to make it into a success. Read more

I’m right and he’s wrong!

The original source of every argument lies in the certain knowledge that I’m right and he’s wrong.  ‘Of course I’m right, I can prove it.  And what’s more, there’s logic behind my point of view.’

Been there? Of course we all have.

The really annoying thing is though that the other person is thinking exactly the same thing.  Read more

Leaders – The things you shouldn’t know…

Dear leader.  Please remember that you don’t know everything about the way your business is run.  The knowledge lies with the company as a whole.

So when you discuss issues with your senior team you should not be telling them what to do, because in their area of expertise they should be the expert – not you.

Take for example a situation I saw recently where a company had a sudden and urgent need to change a software platform.  Read more

Managing volunteers: Herding cats or a great team spirit?

Management theory is normally developed around commercial organisations leaving the charity sector to interpret it to their own needs. But some charities are large organisations with many staff to manage, and they too can benefit from some of the lessons of good management thinking.

Recent discussions with people running High Street charity shops highlighted to me the different challenges that they face from the commercial sector.  Our view of the charity shop may be of a slightly messy down-at-the heel retail space, but for the charity it is often a major source of income, and with other income streams becoming ever tighter, there is greater pressure on making the shops a successful venture.  However, the charity shop is likely to be largely staffed by volunteers coming from all walks of life, and you probably can’t be too choosy about who you take on. Read more

Unspoken message of involvement

An inclusive culture can be a powerful thing in a business.

Involving people more – what effect can it have?

Involve young staff when visitors come round – ask them to talk to the visitor.  Give an opportunity to a junior person to visit a client, partner or a supplier.

What’s the message you are giving off to that employee? Read more