As an Agile coach I’ve had the chance to observe a number of organizations in both small and large training settings. With several of those organizations I’ve observed the same problem: the unwillingness to invest in their contractors and thus having them absent from trainings. Even if those people are part of the same teams as the organization’s own employees that are attending the training. Sometimes the contractors were literally sitting outside the room the organization’s own employees were getting trained in.

The people that attend the training often don’t like this either. They realize more than anyone how important it is to have the entire team aligned, be it on terminology, mindset or something else. They are the ones that have to do the work, they are the ones that a certain performance is expected from, and most importantly they are the ones that are going to be delivering most value.

A training is often a sizable investment for an organization as trainings don’t come cheap. On top of the cost of the training itself there’s the cost of not having those people at work during the day(s) of the training. For contractors these costs could be  considerably higher compared those of the organization’s own employees. But should the focus be on cost, or on return on investment? Isn’t it more important what the training will  bring the organization rather than solely what it costs? Why isn’t the focus on what value the training will add?

A strong argument I always see against training contractors is the idea that organizations have that such an investment will be an investment in a different company (namely the employer of the contractor). I think they couldn’t be more wrong. Those contractors work for them right now, meaning that’s where they’ll add value. That’s where the ROI of the training will end up and so the organization benefiting most from training contractors is the organization currently hiring them.

An organization’s growth is often linked to the growth of its employees and/or contractors. If people stop growing, either on a personal or a professional level, so will, eventually, the organization. In other words: not enabling that growth can be interpreted as deliberately holding the organization back, not training your contractors (as well) is a disinvestment.

So I would urge anyone who’s in a decision-making position related to trainings taking place at an organization to please also includes any contractors: train teams, not people.