How to Choose Between In-house Training and Public Seminars

Posted by Guthrie-Jensen Consultants

The primary reason why senior executives and HR professionals invest in training programs is to make their employees, their very future leaders, more effective. A lot of research have proven that investing in development programs improves job satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity of employees, and company decision-makers are now catching up.

Though highly valuable, top management considers training as a sensitive investment, which puts a lot of pressure to HR professionals or managers to prove high ROI. It gets more complicated if the person designated to choose or design the learning and development program have no experience.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a training program such as the budget and the size of the team, which is why many HR executives still grapple with which training program would be most suitable for their team.


In-house Training vs. Public Seminars

There are two main types of training namely in-house training and public seminars. Choosing between the two depends on the needs and resources of the company.

The context of the company sets the stage for success or failure, and no training program is always a perfect solution for everyone. By clearly understanding the nature of these two learning and development programs, identifying the right solution that would drive results for your organization can be much easier.

Public seminars are classroom trainings held on a regularly scheduled basis. Any individual or employee belonging to any organization can register and attend this on a per-person fee basis.

Meanwhile, in-house training is delivered as a dedicated course for a particular company and isn’t open to the public or anyone from other organizations. Since the course is dedicated to one team or organization, it is targeted to the organization’s specific learning needs. While the training is often delivered at the premises of the organization, in-house training does not necessarily refer to training that is delivered by the organization itself. Instead, it can be provided by a training institution.

Before choosing between in-house trainings and seminars, you must understand how each type can work for or against you depending on these main factors:



A public seminar is ideal for smaller groups, usually less than 10 persons. In-house training, on the other hand, is ideal for bigger groups or teams.


Most public seminars offer higher rates, as the training provider shoulders other expenses like location and food. Other factors to be considered include airfare, accommodation, and allowance of participants in case the training location is far.

In-house training can be cheaper due to discounts offered for larger groups. Costs like the venue, food, and airfare of resource persons should be factored in, especially if your company’s location is far from your chosen training provider. If you have an existing training facility, expect your costs to be lower.


Administration Burdens

If you are planning to organize an in-house training, you have to sort out aspects such as location, equipment, the actual trainer, food, and refreshments. With a public seminar, all of these will be handled by the training company instead, thus, lifting the administration burden from your shoulders and leaving you with fewer tasks to do.



Participants of public seminars have different backgrounds and might have different job titles or come from different industries. Because of this, trainers are usually forced to give training that will be understood and appreciated by a wide audience. This leaves them fewer opportunities to address concerns specific to your industry or company.

Meanwhile, if your goal is to have customized solutions for your individual talents while providing scale and cost efficiencies across the organization, an in-house training would be the better fit. Getting a group together allows all of the training and learning to be focused on the company and discuss real and current examples, which the nature of public training does not encourage. Delegates can work on current work or examples of work which relates to their roles, not a generic example, and therefore, have the most effect.



A public seminar lessens the administration burden from your company since it shoulders the logistics. One possible setback, though, is that public training occurs regardless whether or not its date, time, and location suit your availability and location.

A common concern for companies about sending employees to training is the impact of sending many employees at the same time, which can affect the operations. With a public seminar, you have the option to send your employees one at a time or by batch.

On the other hand, working around people’s schedules becomes a lot easier with an in-house training since delegates can be easily reached should an issue that needs to be addressed quickly arise. This, however, causes distraction unlike in public seminars of which nature encourages your employees’ full engagement.


Networking or Team-Building

With an in-house training, a room full of delegates from different departments can encourage greater teamwork, awareness, and understanding of each other’s role. Whereas in public training, only some team members are sent, which makes it more difficult to get the whole team on the same page.

The big advantage of public training over in-house training is that your employees can talk with people from different companies and backgrounds, who will likely provide them different approaches and viewpoints—giving them more to consider and learn. This allows your company to benchmark the practices of other companies in the industry, which in-house training does not allow. That said, it is important to consider also whether your goals for training include networking or team-building.


Keep in mind that there’s no one size fits all when it comes to training programs. By clearly understanding these considerations and carefully weighing each training program’s pros and cons, you can make a better decision on choosing whichever will bring solutions that will, ultimately, deliver results to your business.

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