|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2008)|
A corporate trainer is a specialized skill development position in a corporation where the goal is to help improve the performance of the employees. The performance areas can range from "soft skills" or "people skills" to “hard skills” relating to specific technical tasks. The term is generic and could be applied to nearly any skill whether technical, physical or otherwise. Also, the role is not solely reserved for corporations. Other organizations such as non-profit groups or government organizations can make use of a corporate trainer's services.
An effective corporation or other organization functions as a system and lack of the skills mentioned above and others can keep the organization from functioning as an effective system, and thus keep the organization and its members from reaching their goals. An effective corporate trainer can remove these impediments and be very valuable to the organization.
In order to effectively support the team, corporate trainers must work as a business partner of the organization they are supporting. In other words, trainers should not operate in a bubble - removed from the realities facing their clients. Either internal or external trainers can be partners, depending on the needs of the organization.
Internal trainers have the advantage of knowing the organization and employees well. They are more likely to have a long-term relationship with the organization and continue to support skills improvement over time. External trainers have the advantage of an outside perspective. They can effectively deliver training or intervene in a way that is difficult for internal trainers.
Trainers can help employees learn new skills but to have an impact on broader organizational change, they need the support of senior management.
Some employees become corporate trainers through their expertise in a particular subject matter and an interest in instruction. Others have formal education in Instructional Technology, Instructional Design, Organizational Development or Human Resources Development. There are two professional organizations that help guide this profession:
- American Society of Training and Development (ASTD)
- International Society for Performance Improvement
The corporate trainer role rose in the consciousness of some people in the US after Richard Hatch, a corporate trainer by trade, won the Survivor reality television competition. Other corporate trainers include Simon Davie from Sliding Doors Australasia, who launched the world's first Finish at Four campaign designed to increase awareness of the risks of overwork and workplace stress by encouraging workers to finish at 4pm on October 12, 2007.