Professional training and development programs are proven ways to improve the skills and efficiency of an organisation’s workforce. Despite their added value, such programs are often the first items targeted when budget cuts happen.
For training leaders facing monetary restrictions, below are four ways to stretch your training budget. These methods are designed to deliver on the goals of your learning program while maintaining relevance in the eyes of higher-ups; thereby helping make the case for upping the training allocation in the future.
1. Transition to a Joint Training Model
When the responsibility for learning and development (L&D) initiatives are solely placed under the L&D or human resources department, other divisions are less likely to buy-in. To overcome this, consider shifting to a joint training oversight model where the accountability for L&D is inter-departmental.
Many organisations are transitioning to a shared oversight standard for certain operations, such as IT and L&D. In doing so, other departments learn the intricacies and value of these business functions, thereby appreciating them more. The more involved other business units, the more likely they are to authorise, implement and attend training sessions.
2. Lean on Mentoring and Coaching
Informal learning practices, such as mentoring and coaching, are low-cost, but extremely effective when properly conducted. The other big benefit is that you probably already have impromptu mentors taking newbies under their wing and showing them the ropes. Look around and take note of the employees leading the way in knowledge-sharing and collaboration. Identify these opportunities and lean into them.
Developing a mentoring and coaching program starts with what you already have and formalising it. Create groups and partnerships where ideas and skills are traded between those who have it and those who need it. Create a schedule for these sessions and a method for tracking and assessing it as you would with any L&D operation.
3. Repackage and Reuse
One of the best ways to stretch your training budget is by creating smart L&D content that is repackaged and reused. Rely on existing content and/or develop templates and create multiple courses.
In the last three years, an avalanche of change has slammed into virtually every industry worldwide. Technological innovations and remote and hybrid work environments are among some of the developments altering the workplace. Therefore, learning materials more than a couple of years old have probably not aged well.
Start by reviewing and updating older training literature. Be sure to create content applicable to each work group, including in-office, hybrid and remote. This delineates roles and responsibilities, as well as expectations of employees in each category.
Additionally, each type of working group is likely to have unique training priorities. A frontline employee on-site full time will have dissimilar training needs and require a different training approach than a hybrid or remote worker at a desk. Build this into your training materials and templates.
When it comes to templates, one of its greatest assets is not just the ease of creating new content, but in its bringing cohesion to your training program. Brand your templates for a consistent look and feel across every learning experience. This helps employees feel more comfortable with the content and more likely to engage. It also bolsters the authority of the L&D program.
4. Widen Your Target Audience
Among the most obvious ways to stretch your training budget is by widening the audience for each learning experience. But this is no simple feat.
Some training is intended for a wide audience, such as compliance sessions or legally-required courses; however, most learning designed to level-up employees in a certain position or sector are customised for a smaller, specific audience. It can be very challenging to expand the audience for skills training, but here are some training types that allow for it:
Time management training - almost all of us could improve our time management skills, even efficient employees who consistently hit timely deliverables. Time management abilities intersect with prioritisation and goal-setting skills. Understanding this relationship and maximising it on a daily basis helps not only with meeting project timeliness, but also delivering on short- and long-term objectives so critical to employee engagement and job satisfaction.
Application training - as all know all too well, software systems are frequently upgraded. Besides keeping up with the latest features, training on software systems ensures that employees are incorporating the application to the fullest extent into their daily work. Learning time-saving shortcuts, better ways to collaborate and efficient information-sharing tools are just some of the valuable takeaways from an application training.
Soft skills training - more than ever, soft skills are paramount to a productive workplace. The ever-changing nature of the modern work world requires agile employees who get along well with others and can think on their feet. Training workers in how to do tasks, not why they do them will pay dividends as critical thinking skills become ever more important. A workforce trained in soft skills like interpersonal communication and constructive collaboration - so critical to workplace progress in the face of ongoing change - is the one of the future, no matter what it holds.
Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.
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This blog has been sourced by Priority Management International and edited by Priority Management London.