Article: Training budget on the cut - Doing more with less

Learning & Development

Training budget on the cut - Doing more with less

Companies that invest in training are more likely to do well
Training budget on the cut - Doing more with less

It is time for the management team to analyse the costs and benefits of current training programs and methods, and seek out new ways to deliver necessary training


Most studies have proven that companies that invest in training are more likely to succeed and there is no better time for training than when your company’s workforce is idle. However, when times are difficult, the training department is often the first casualty. Training is perceived as a feel-good, non dependable perk. Understandably, many managers and HR professionals are then asking: What should we do? Should we postpone all plans until a brighter tomorrow? Cancel upcoming programs? Those solutions are probably too drastic.

It is time for the management team to analyze the costs and benefits of current training programs and methods, and seek out new ways to deliver necessary training. We give you some tips to help managers and HR professionals achieve the most from the reduced budget and to continue meeting the employees’ needs.

Consolidate and search for volume discounts: Identify and consolidate multiple vendor contracts for training into a single arrangement to receive volume discounts.

Determine what’s essential to your business survival: Managers and HR professionals need to sharpen their focus. Understand what is critical for the business and your resources in these areas. Additionally, be rigid and selective about who are you training too.

Cut back creatively: Training experts have discovered ways to trim expenditures while keeping the core intact. Take advantage of their suggestions:  Cut travel costs. Airfares, lodging and meals for dozens of employees for a week of training can be prohibitive. Instead, bring one trainer to the employees. Or, conduct training via videoconference or by telephone. There are many facilities online that can be used with very low cost, or even free of cost.

Online Training: With technology advancing every day to the next level, online training can take care of your routine trainings like inductions. Moving courses online reduces instructor, travel and vendor costs.

Develop in-house trainers: With a group of employees that take training as a secondary role, companies can use idle internal resources for taking training sessions across different locations. Companies can gain economies of scale and maintain the knowledge in-house. Additionally, the cost for these in house trainers is not part of the L&D budget; hence they have some extra buffer to use for other training requirements that cannot be fulfilled in-house.

Mentoring programs: Take full advantage of the knowledge held by your more experienced employees. Create a formal mechanism for mentoring and coaching of junior employees through a structured program.

Job Swapping: This process allows employees to learn skills from each other. On-the-job training is free, contributes to back up, succession planning and career development. Above all, it requires no allocated budget.

Tap Free Resources: The Internet can be a gold mine for managers in search of no-cost ways to maintain momentum. Additionally, incentivize employees to attend free seminars and conferences that can increase network opportunities and get exposure to up-to-date topics.

Look for References: Books are an excellent source of information and can be a great training tool, more when combined with sharing session’s program. Additionally, companies can incentivize their employees to take a professional membership in the associations of their choice, while subsidizing a part of the membership fee.

And more and more:

Increase classroom fill rates: More participants attending one session can mean significantly fewer sessions required in a given year.

Relook at the timing of training: Shift schedules to minimize impact on working hours and maximize productivity.

Eliminate catering: Many European companies have started informing their employees that during training, participants will be responsible for their snacks and lunches like in a normal office day. You will be surprised at how much money this can save to the organization and eventually employees will understand the commitment of the organization to provide training but minimizing the noncore expenses.
Management should not forget that downturns are the best time for training employees, as when the business grows training takes a back seat to day-to-day demands. We are sure you will now find many different ways of educating employees until the economy bounces back.


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Topics: Learning & Development, Strategic HR

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