Rejecting Training Requests Doesn’t Have to be All or Nothing


We realize that you cannot do it all.

Previously in this blog, we’ve covered how to decline a training request. We’ve also discussed what questions to add to a training request intake form so that you can, early on, have a better idea of which training you will most likely need to outsource.

So when internal course design isn’t the answer to training requests, how else can the training team help out? In this post, you’ll find some ideas for alternatives to course design and how you can source and vet these solutions. The repository of solutions can serve as a backup arsenal should you have to send an employee in their direction.

Many of the considerations below rely on input and feedback from the employee. However, you can also do some of your own homework to vet the external learning resource.


Employee’s network

Oftentimes, the employee may know exactly what resource is needed to learn that all-important skill. The employee may have used that online educational platform in the past and has probably found it useful. To get the ball rolling, you can even ask this question or a similar one in the training intake request form.


If you’ve attended any type of corporate learning conference, no doubt the vendors in the “partner showcase” included the likes of, Udemy, and all sorts of online universities. These vendors could give you an idea of the scope (and costs) of online courses.

Ask them the hard questions—after all, they want your business.

Your ATS

In a less conventional method to uncover appropriate training resources, use HR’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These days, it’s not uncommon for job applicants to add certificates earned from online education providers to their resumes, especially if that provider delivered a skill necessary for the applicant to land the job. Your ATS can pick this up from scanned resumes in the system.

If these delivered the skills necessary for that employee to succeed, then these could be good sources for you to explore for employees who need training.


If you’re still completely lost, there’s always Google. It may not give the best results, but it’s a good starting off point.

As with any search, the more specific the search term, the more relevant the results. Use keywords gleaned from the employee’s responses to the training intake form to see what Google returns to you for results.

Example of a bad search: Learn Tableau

Example of a good search: Learn how to create custom templates in Tableau



It is, of course, instructive to think about how much these external resources are going to cost.

At the L&D level

Your organization may already be aware that your internal team cannot possibly build all of the requested training. They give you an annual budget for external courses—great!—but a whole host of additional problems may result.

At issue is how much to spend per request. Which request is deserving of more of a spend? Can the cost of some of the courses be negotiated? Does the course provider offer a course bundle, which you can use to drive the cost of other courses down? Consider these factors as early as possible so you can have more bargaining power with the provider.

At the department level

To help defray these costs, a department may actually have some budget allotted to training its employees. Work with the department to find the most optimal, cost-effective solution.

In your training intake form, you can include this question for employees to answer. The employee may or may not know whether there exists a department-level budget for alternative solutions for training. However, it can serve as the jumping-off point for further inquiry.

Sources of inspiration

Testing out different learning platforms—even if they do not make the final cut—is not a waste of your time.

To an extent, these alternative solutions could inspire the L&D team. By observing new ways of delivering e-learning, you could pick up some design ideas and best practices—market research, in a way.

Keep in mind that external learning providers are focused on learner (i.e., customer) retention. They need to make their platforms engaging—if not addicting. With engagement a top L&D challenge this year, you could borrow a few pointers from these online learning portals and add them to your in-house learning experiences.


Struggling to collect the information you need during the training intake process?Try this free downloadable training request form!

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Rejecting Training Requests Doesn’t Have to be All or Nothing