Accreditation is a badge of honour – but is it always indispensable or can it sometimes be a nice-to-have?
Making the wrong decision could have dire cost and efficiency implications for your business, so in this guide, we’ll go through why you might need accreditation, the benefits and the downsides and most importantly, when you would need it.
What training do you need?
When procuring training to upskill staff, organisations often ‘solutionise’ in order to find training that fits the bill.
Solutionising is approaching a problem with a solution already in mind, rather than keeping your options open and building something that works around your needs.
Solutionising your training needs is like voluntarily donning a pair of blinkers – giving you tunnel vision and blinding you to alternatives that can offer better value in terms of both cost and efficiency.
Finding the right training the first time can be a difficult task for any HR manager, so be sure to take a look at our guide to find how approaching this from a needs-based perspective can save you time, effort and money.
We know that HR professionals are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to procuring training – facing pressure from above to generate results while searching for courses that fit their needs and budget.
However, spending a little time up front can save wasted hours on training you don’t need and duplicating your effort to find more suitable courses.
Why do you need accreditation?
Making the call as to whether or not you need accreditation is far from a piece of cake.
Understanding why your staff would need accreditation should be your first point of call. This could be:
- To satisfy your suppliers
- To meet CPD requests
- For an inspection
- For a contractual requirement
- To give you an edge on your competitors when tendering for new business.
If you can identify an issue like the above where commercial interests hang in the balance, then a simple cost/reward analysis should set out whether accredited training is right for you.
For example, a newly-qualified manager may need accreditation, whereas an experienced, high-level director wouldn’t necessarily need accredited training but could want to build awareness on a certain subject. Similarly, the long-term benefits of bringing the former up-to-speed are likely to differ greatly from having the latter devote time and energy to pursuing accreditation.
The pros of accreditation
Accreditation stands as a benchmark of quality, but what benefits does quality bring?
It’s an investment for an organisation and its employees. High-quality training becomes vital when companies grow - it ensures they have consistency towards working standards and practices, which can often provide a competitive edge over their peers.
Investing in accreditation can boost staff retention and morale by satisfying their ambitions and goals, and tacitly demonstrating the fact that their organisation wants to invest in them. Adding accreditation will also benefit the efficiency and image of an organisation of being a safe pair of hands that clients can put their trust in.
For employees, getting accredited is beneficial for them on a personal level and encourages them to engage with their CPD (continuous professional development).
Also, by going with accredited training, you know the training provider is an approved delivery centre for a professional body, which will provide reassurance that the training meets certain standards and that the overall quality of the training meets a higher calibre.
Getting accreditation from an approved centre can often enable staff to take advantage of professional membership. This can have a vast range of benefits - from access to online resources, to support and networking opportunities. However, it can cost a pretty penny, with some of the top professional bodies charging hundreds of pounds for a year’s membership per individual.
Another advantage towards accreditation is that it provides you with the latest thinking, as well as offering the ability to test competence and see if people have retained the relevant information. It’s an effective way of assessing individuals’ capabilities and identifying gaps.
The cons of accreditation
There’s many benefits associated with accreditation, however, it’s not without its downsides. The expense of some accredited courses, compared with a non-accredited course in the same area, can differ greatly - which could put a strain on your training budget. However, it tends to be worth doing if there is a genuine business need for staff to gain the associated qualification.
With an accredited course, staff usually have to pass some sort of examination or observation. If an individual isn’t up to scratch and fails the exam, they risk having to re-sit or leave the course without accreditation. This could be disheartening for the employee and they may be reluctant to take an accredited course again.
In cases like this, employers will have to pay extra fees for a re-take and possibly help build the
individual’s confidence in taking the course again.
There’s added stress for individuals, knowing they have to complete an assessment. They may feel uncomfortable with taking an exam, because they haven't faced one since leaving school, which can lead
to worries over the risk of failure. Also, some individuals on accredited programmes can’t keep up with assignments in line with other colleagues, which could make them feel inadequate.
When undertaking an accredited course, individuals will often need to be committed to additional work
(e.g. homework and coursework) outside of the working day, which will impose on their personal life.
To support staff in this situation, employers may opt to allow time within work hours for staff to complete assignments, however, there’s an obvious commercial implication for this. With the pressures of work and other commitments, time can be very limited to allow for the completion of assignments.
Knowing the benefits of accreditation and when you may need it can help any organisation when it
comes to procuring training. Remember to take it back to basics and ask yourself simple questions like:
- Why do we need accreditation?
- Who would be suitable to undertake the training?
- Can everyone commit to additional work?
Hopefully, we’ve managed to shed some light on the pros and cons of accredited training for your staff but if you’ve got any questions about the topics above (or anything training-related) - don’t hesitate to get in touch via Twitter or LinkedIn.
And if you’re looking for bespoke advice or business training, whether it be non-accredited or accredited training – our team have years’ of experience in business support and consultancy. If you’re looking for accreditation, we’re also an approved and recognised centre for ILM and an approved centre for Highfield ABC.
Book a free consultation and find out more today: