Unleash employee and business potential with our scalable development solutions.

Learning and development leaders are being asked to do more with less. How a leadership development and learning strategy is designed, delivered, and measured can either turbocharge an organization’s potential or flatten it. To future-proof an organization, employees will need new skills, and leaders must learn to embrace complexity and ambiguity. The whole organization must evolve.

To succeed, connecting learning and development to business objectives is vital, but it’s a complex task. The market is changing. How will you upskill and reskill your people to prepare them for your future? How can you build a learning program that simultaneously optimizes cost and effectiveness?  How can you measure either?

We solve these challenges by creating and delivering data-driven learning and development strategies designed to achieve your business goals. We start by assessing your development structure, then partner with you to help run some or all of the operations. We have decades of experience implementing customized programs and can partner with you long-term to analyze performance, measure ROI and optimize the learning strategy as your needs change. Tying organization and talent strategy together, we are the one partner you need to unleash both people and business potential through development outsourcing.



of CEOs see a gap in employee skills as a direct threat to their business


of people are more likely to stay in their job if there are opportunities to achieve career goals at the company


of CEOs expect significant economic disruption and HR leaders are having to make trade-offs between cost savings and talent investments

How can we help you

Build a leadership and professional development model that can adapt with your business, relying on our support at every step. Our flexible delivery model takes away the complexity of rolling out employee development at scale, enabling you to reach learners at all levels. We study development in your organization to identify gaps and assess your current state against best-in-class benchmarks. We then structure and manage your learning strategy and its operation, transforming your learning and development program and creating value by increasing its efficiency, reducing its costs and improving employee engagement and retention.

A data-driven, business-focused people development strategy. 

People development is a cornerstone business imperative requiring thoughtful strategies to foster individual and team performance. With the ability to leverage Korn Ferry expertise, including research, assessments, coaching, leadership development, individualized development journeys and more, you’ll be able to achieve greater impact for your people and for your business. We alleviate operational and administrative burdens for your organization, ensuring an ROI on your investment.

Scale globally with a partner with leading industry expertise and capabilities.

Talent leaders are at the forefront of helping employees fulfill their full potential. By aligning learning and development KPIs to business objectives and increasing efficiencies and cost savings through vendor management, learning administration process management and ROI and key KPI dashboards , people development will operate as a smooth, repeatable process and deliver impact at the individual level.

Engaging, individualized learning and development journeys.

People are more likely to stay in their job if they see opportunities to achieve their career goals within the company. They expect an environment where they can succeed. Leadership and development enables people to develop the mindsets and skillsets needed to embrace complexity and ambiguity and supports their ability to achieve personal and team goals.


Transformation begins with our value-driven maturity model

Built around four critical attributes of a value-driven L&D organization, we use the maturity model and best-in-class benchmarks to diagnose your organization against all dimensions of the model. Together, we collaborate to provide your organization with data-driven insights into your current state with actionable recommendations to optimize your L&D efforts moving forward

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Frequently asked questions

How does leadership and development outsourcing work?

The best learning strategies address the skills employees need for success in their roles now. But they also consider what skills they’ll need five years from now to help the organization succeed. That means organizations need to connect skills to business strategies and goals. In short, designing a learning strategy that accesses and optimizes the potential of every employee for now and into the future is a daunting task.

Instead of doing all of this strategic work in house, organizations can outsource this complex project to a company with expertise in leadership learning and development outsourcing. For example, when you outsource leadership learning and development to Korn Ferry, we’ll develop a sound plan designed to transform how you build your leadership pipeline. Here’s how it works:

  • We assess the current state of your operations.
  • We compare your organization to best-in-class organizations to identify gaps in your learning and development processes.
  • We restructure your learning strategy to close those gaps.
  • We look for ways to increase the efficiency of your learning and development program and reduce its costs.
  • We leverage our strengths in research, assessment, coaching and development to help you optimize your employee experience, so you improve employee engagement and retention.

Some organizations prefer to allow us to run some or all of their leadership learning and development operations. Our teams have helped organizations with vendor and content management, learning administration and technology rationalization, among other tasks.

When should you consider outsourcing leadership and development?

Organizations choose leadership and development outsourcing for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few.

  • You want to retain, reskill and re-engage your employees. Market disruptions and heightened competition for talent mean that the way people work is going to continue shifting. To thrive, organizations need to stop thinking about jobs and more about strategies — but that’s hard to do in the day-to-day. Outsourcing can help organizations figure out what skills and mindsets they need to execute their business strategy and people strategy. Working with an experienced learning and development outsourcing partner can also help organizations forecast the skills they need and then create personalized learning plans that will keep employees engaged.
  • You need to reduce costs. Learning and development outsourcing saves money because you reduce the resources that you would need if you were to keep this work in-house. Moreover, you gain efficiency because you’re relying on experts who can do the work more proficiently.
  • You are in growth mode and are unable or unwilling to maintain a world-class learning and development team. When resources are scarce because people and dollars are tied up in growth initiatives, organizations still need to continue developing employees. Employees won’t stay if they don’t feel their organization is valuing them and investing in them. Outsourcing enables organizations to offer ongoing learning and development while advancing other initiatives.
  • You are undergoing transformation and prefer to focus on core HR processes and hand over non-core functions. Connecting learning and development to your business strategy is complex, time-consuming work. Outsourcing can free up resources so HR can best use their strengths and stay focused on their main work.

What are the pros and cons of leadership and development outsourcing?

Leadership and development outsourcing can help businesses quickly transform and build a more satisfying employee experience. Here are some typical benefits for organizations:

  • Strengthening your talent: Upskilling and reskilling employees is a key way that organizations can beat the talent shortage. Development outsourcing helps organizations target the right skills and chart a course that ties training and coaching to business objectives.
  • Improving your employee retention: Investing in employee development shows employees that you value them and their contributions. Outsourcing development to an experienced provider can show you how to tie learning to the overall organizational purpose as well as to employees’ values, strengthening the connection between organizations and their people.
  • Accessing innovation and research: Leading learning and development companies use advanced technology and tools to accelerate growth. For instance, Korn Ferry is an industry leader when it comes to research on identifying and closing skills gaps.
  • Getting insights through high-impact metrics (e.g., return on investment, return on assets, promotional velocity, NPS, retention and employee engagement): We’ll study your organization’s current state and compare it against benchmarks so you know where you stand. We’ll also help you choose the right key performance indicators to measure the true impact of your learning strategy.
  • Decreasing fixed costs: Development outsourcing reduces the number of resources you have to devote to training, allowing your team members to focus on their core tasks. And you won’t have to hire new employees to fill skills gaps in your learning and development team.
  • Increasing agility: Outsourcing learning and development means you’ll adopt a flexible model that allows you to respond to the changing needs of your workforce. A learning and development expert can help you tailor learning strategies to meet the needs of different groups. That way, you’ll avoid pigeonholing everyone into a one-size-fits-all learning strategy.

The key to achieving these benefits is working with an experienced provider with a stellar reputation in the market. Of course, outsourcing learning and development to a provider assumes some level of risk. However, those risks are limited if the provider is experienced in building learning strategies.

Here are some important considerations for choosing a provider for learning and development expertise:

  • Having direct oversight of employee development: With development outsourcing, you’ll give up some control over development. However, you’ll still be the final decision-maker, and you can ensure that the learning strategy aligns with your business goals.
  • Don’t forget your culture: Not all vendors will take into account your culture as they build your learning and development plan. Leading providers will ask questions and include checkpoints to make sure that your learning strategy meshes with your culture.
  • Carefully forecast your costs: With internal HR resources, the costs are fixed. But with outsourcing, the amount can flex, depending on the types of services you need and how many employees are included. Add-on services can drive prices up, so make sure you’re clear on what is and isn’t included in your contract before you sign it.
  • Waiting for responses: When you outsource, you run the risk that the external provider won’t be as responsive as an internal resource since they aren’t dedicated to your company. However, you can safeguard against this by ensuring that your contract includes performance metrics. Reputable companies should also assign a project contact who is on call to address your concerns.

What should you look for in a top learning and development company?

When you’re considering which learning and development company to work with, look for one with the following attributes:

  • Skills-based learning strategies: The company recognizes that the skills gap in many workforces is a serious threat to business growth. So, it focuses your learning strategy on ways to close that gap so you can unleash the potential of your workforce.
  • Proven expertise: The company should have deep expertise in talent development and data-driven assessment. More specifically, it should have expertise in implementing customized development programs.
  • A history of developing high performers: Look for a provider with a long, successful track record of building leadership pipelines.
  • Proven leadership and learning program: Check whether the outsourcing company can show you metrics that demonstrate success. And make sure the program addresses both skillsets and mindsets. Without an approach that addresses both, you won’t optimize your talent’s growth.
  • Modern learning experiences: Today, learning is a journey, not an isolated event. And learning should be tailored, not one-size-fits-all. The right learning and development company will have expertise in designing journeys to assess employees. It will also target learning to gaps in the behaviors and skills employees will need to excel at work now and in the future. And it should focus on delivering an engaging experience that motivates and excites employees.
  • Operational scalability: Ensure the provider can scale up and down to meet the needs of your workforce and the volume of work.
  • Expertise in organizational strategy and governance: Look for a provider that has worked with clients to build talent-related structures, processes and workforce strategies to support your culture and business goals.
  • Able to deliver high-impact metrics: You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Confirm that you’ll get insights from key performance indicators so you can track your progress. Your provider should be able to continuously monitor your growth and adjust to maximize your results.
  • Experience in the full cycle of people development: It’s critical that your provider be able to assess, develop and coach employees so you get a holistic understanding of where your talent is. Only then can you discover how you need to transform your talent to achieve your goals. Top providers will offer access to a repository of talent and assessment data. At Korn Ferry, we draw on insights from 50 years of assessments with millions of data points.
  • Expertise in the full end-to-end HR value chain: Learning and development isn’t an island. Make sure your provider understands how your learning strategy complements the entire talent lifecycle in your organization. At Korn Ferry, our research, assessments, coaching, leadership development, individualized development journeys and related services enable organizations to accelerate the impact of their leadership development programs — for both individuals and the organization as a whole.

What is the difference between in-house and outsourced learning and development?

The key difference between in-house and outsourced learning and development is where the resources completing the work are located. Yet the choice between internal and external resources has a series of ripple effects for the organization.

With in-house learning and development, your internal team will be responsible for coordinating a learning strategy with your overall business goals and leading the execution of that strategy. You may need to hire additional resources to handle the new responsibilities associated with coordinating your learning and development program. You may need to hire instructional designers, project managers, software developers, training experts and more. Given the work involved, it may take a long time to develop a strategy.

With development outsourcing, an external provider will take the lead in building your learning strategy. The provider will also ensure that your learning strategy aligns with your business strategy. If you don’t have access to internal talent with the right skills or the budget for new hires with those skills, outsourcing will let you tap into resources with deep expertise in learning and development that can lead your learning strategy and measure its effectiveness.

Outsourcing development will also give you access to the latest research and technology for learning and development that may not be readily available in-house. You’ll get perspective from a seasoned provider that can increase the efficiency and consistency of your learning processes. You may also be able to build your program faster since your external provider will be focused on this single initiative instead of a variety of projects. Plus, outsourcing will also reduce the operational and administrative burdens on your organization.

There is also a middle alternative: a hybrid approach where you retain certain portions of leadership development internally while sharing the responsibility for other parts of learning and development externally. With certain external partners, including Korn Ferry, you can customize your organization’s learning strategy.