How work based learning can improve your business


How work based learning can improve your business

Growing successful businessFor many years we’ve heard about the shortcomings of traditional sales training, and in particular how many senior executives and business owners have seen little evidence of value for money.

Click through any search engine and review content relating to the subject and you will find this is neither a new problem nor one that is solved with proven techniques today, however I have been interested to see statistics that endorse the concept of work based learning and how this might support improvement within sales related training and development and improve performance.

Firstly let us define what work based learning is:

“Work based learning, where study is embedded in the workplace and is designed to meet the learning needs of the employees and the aims of the organisation.”

A recent survey carried out by highlighted the following responses to employer specific training versus industry wide programmes.

Relative value of Employer Specific and Industry wide training (%)
Firm specific Industry wide No preference
Raise employee productivity 70 18 8
Increase staff loyalty to company 58 27 13
Develop more flexible employees 53 34 10
Improve staff morale 58 26 13
Develop core skills 55 29 13
Improve quality of company products/ services 69 20 8
Improve company image 52 32 13


Source: Survey of Employers



This clearly emphasises that employers are more inclined to receive training and development that is pertinent to their own business than spend money on trainer led programmes, often pre published and so called “tried and tested”.


I have long been a fan of work based learning both as a recipient and as a manager and believe the benefits for each are:

As a manager or business owner

  • Improved workforce performance and productivity.
  • Increased employee motivation – higher staff retention.
  • Meets skills shortages – grow your own workforce.
  • Work-based learning – little time off the job, minimal disruption.
  • Projects directly related to your business.
  • You [the employer] are closely involved in the delivery.
  • Potential to accredit company training programmes.
  • Extremely good value compared to private sector training.

And as an employee:

  • Learners are engaged in real-work problems.
  • Existing knowledge is activated as a foundation for new knowledge.
  • New knowledge is demonstrated to the learner.
  • New knowledge is applied by the learner.
  • New knowledge is integrated into the learner’s world.

The challenge though is to produce in house specific content that meets the businesses and employees aspirations that in turn will provide value for money and some form of recognition from outside of the organisation.

The use of Sales based Occupational Standards allows training to be measured and recognised by external bodies who are in turn quality assured by the Ofqual and have qualifications that fit into the Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF).

The use of Occupational Standards enables an organisation to customise training to meet business and employee needs and simultaneously provide recognised sales qualifications for the participants.

So the deliverables are specific work based training based on issues that directly impact on your business. The content is developed to meet the business needs and to meet recognised industry developed standards that will support the learner in their current role and for their future within the sales industry.

There are a number of formulas on offer to imbed work-based, sales related learning into an organisation such as:

  • Hands on coaching and development of sales personnel, line managers and executive coaching.
  • Train the trainer methodology where line managers are given the skills of assessment and mentoring thus ensuring ownership and continuity of team development.
  • Embed past training and development with in house, ongoing assessment of team performance.

To learn more about how we use sales standards to underpin performance improvement visit watch our video at

Author: Tim Anderson, Senior Consultant Sales Improvement Services.


Coaching, Personal Development, Sales Consultancy, Training
About Tim Anderson
Tim has over thirty years’ experience within the sales environment as a sales person, a sales manager, a sales director and as a mentor and coach. He has run sales teams as a sales director within the IT sector as a direct re seller, a VAR and as an MSP. He has developed and exited from two IT businesses and supported three training and development organisations to grow their businesses by supporting their commercial offering. He has taken these teams through change initiatives . Tim continues to develop himself as a coach and has successfully taken his coaching into executive and leadership coaching. He has combined coaching with management and leadership development and regularly supports senior managers to take their next step upward in their careers. He is a qualified coach and a Chartered Manager and also holds a degree in professional consulting.

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