Regardless of the type of organization, you're in, the importance of having a talented and efficient team in ensuring organizational success is huge. Getting learning and development (L&D) initiatives right is, therefore, crucial to achieving your corporate goals. It's an excellent way of keeping your staff engaged and motivated and enhancing the productivity of your company.
However, the key challenge here comes down to efficiently managing the L&D budget.
An effective training program relies on multiple resources, robust planning, and a significant budget.
Estimated to cost a whopping $1,678 per employee (for organizations with 100-999 employees) and approx $581 per employee (for organizations with 1,000-9,999 employees) to train employees, the upfront cost of training and development may seem overwhelming for most organizations, but failing to deliver training adequately can have long-term effects on a business's trajectory to success.
So, how can organizations reduce the financial burden of learning and development while also improving the way training is delivered?
In this blog, we explore some of the top ways companies can significantly reduce their L&D budget.
Various L&D Costs and Ways to Reduce Them
There are typically two types of costs associated with employee learning & development - direct and indirect. While direct costs include facilitating learning sessions, designing the course material, renting out space, hiring equipment or asset production, indirect employee training costs include aspects such as transport, food, lost productivity and more.
Because time is the key resource at play in employee learning and development, reducing time (for both employees and L&D teams) is the key to driving down the L&D budget.
In this section, we discuss some of the top ways that organizations can use to reduce their learning and development costs while maintaining the quality of training at the same time.
1. Focus on Training Employees Internally
There are a range of internal options for employers who wish to cut down their L&D budget without necessarily bringing outside help and still producing adequate results in training employees. Among these are
- Hosting weekly/monthly events- Hosting weekly/monthly events is a great way for employees to get educated, involved, and motivated. The ideal way to do this is to select a topic of discussion in advance, cover all questions/concerns employees may have, and follow up by synthesizing it through e-mails/memos for quick access.
- Finding trainers within the organization- The idea here is to focus on finding and training qualified employees from within the organization who can then train their colleagues. Make sure to find people with strong communication and interaction skills to get the best results in having them train the rest.
Re-use internal knowledge assets for training purposes- Re-using resources is an excellent way to save money, and it can work to reduce training costs as well. For instance, if you have an internal expert conducting an internal workshop, make sure to record it and upload that video onto your learning platform for re-use in the future.
2. Make Use of In-house Training Materials
Developing in-house training materials to cover your employee training needs can be an excellent way to help your organization cut down on L&D costs and save money instead of hiring outside professionals to develop and offer training to staff.
What is important, however, is to ensure the quality of training material that your company creates on-site. The best way to maintain quality is to review past training modules and tutorials to fully understand what kind of content/information should be included.
In addition to this, make sure to reach employees and managers for feedback, as they can offer valuable insights to make the process better.
3. Evaluate Online Training Solutions
There are several online avenues and training solutions available that organizations can use to reduce their annual L&D budget.
Companies can invest in multiple different platforms today, including web conferencing, webinars, and video conferencing solutions to enable their employees to receive training from multiple destinations.
Employing more remote workers and investing in innovative training software could help organizations eliminate many costs commonly associated with managing training for their employees.
Further, the online mode of delivering training also helps businesses eliminate travel costs while allowing their teams to learn a variety of skills through web-based training sessions.
4. Cut Down on Content Creation
Creating new content and course material is one of the most significant training expenses for any organization. However, there are multiple ways to drastically reduce spending too much in this area without compromising the quality. Some of these ways are discussed below:
a. Actively Record and Incorporate Office Interactions
The L&D teams in any organization regularly explore and evaluate the contents of courses to understand how they work and what is relevant. They can use this opportunity to then develop new training material, thus saving the cost of buying new upgrades.
They can also record office interactions with employees and turn them into online training materials. This could typically range from everything, including exhibitions, customer care phone calls, and event footage.
However, they need to remember that the subject matter used herein should be carefully curated to avoid breaching the privacy and corporate confidentiality of clients.
b. Train all the Employees at the Same Time
Training everyone at the same time helps you save a lot of hourly billing time.
To do this effectively, you can use teleconferencing and webinars as well as record the event for employees who miss the live session. This gives your entire staff a valuable reference tool they can use in the future to refresh their conceptual understanding.
5. Choose the Right Training Platform
When choosing the training platform, make sure to do plenty of research, ask for reviews, and learn about how accessible the product is for day-to-day use.
The idea here is to avoid training platforms and tools that are less user-friendly, clunkier, and harder to navigate for content creators. This is simply because platforms that are difficult to navigate lead to learners losing interest quickly, thus increasing disengagement and lost productivity.
The best option is to go for a well-designed training platform keeping the modern workforce in mind. Choose a platform that uses popular features such as swiping, scrolling, and familiar app designs in a way that makes it simple to create and consume learning content.
Going with an intuitive platform ensures that no upskilling is required on anyone's part to get started with employee training and development initiatives.
6. Leverage Microlearning Strategies
Traditional employee training methods are typically very time-consuming. This keeps the employees away from work for longer hours leading to lost productivity and reduced workplace efficiency. Microlearning or training delivered as bite-sized chunks is an effective way to navigate this challenge.
Microlearning is essentially a learning mechanism where content is delivered to employees in small, 2-5 minute nuggets to better appeal to modern learners' attention spans and technological expectations with regard to workplace training.
Apart from being more appealing to modern learners, the microlearning methodology is much more engaging as compared to conventional methods and takes only a fraction of the time to complete.
7. Incorporate Libraries and Common Screens
During employee training, there are several instances where the same assets such as videos, images, or GIFs can be used across multiple lessons.
Re-using these assets maximizes their longevity or the amount you get from them. Content libraries can be an excellent resource here as they enable easy access to any such asset previously uploaded.
Likewise, "common screens" (welcome screens, transition screens, learning objectives) are typically the screens common to every course, irrespective of the subject matter.
Including them in every lesson saves you the hassle of manually adding them for every individual training session. You can also pre-populate them with suggested copies to both guides you and make it easier for you.
8. Encourage Mentoring
Among the many different ways to facilitate training, mentoring is one of the top employee training trends today.
Every organization has experienced employees/staff with plenty of internal knowledge and talent. Leveraging the experience and expertise of these individuals as mentors is an effective yet low-cost way to train peers as well as new hires.
Besides saving money, mentoring programs offer several other benefits, including:
- Encourage a learning culture in the entire organization
- Reduce employee turnover and improve overall job satisfaction
- Benefit professional development of both mentee and mentor
9. Develop Reproducible and Scalable Onboarding Processes
Employee onboarding is another area that eats up a significant chunk of an organization's overall L&D budget. Although the process of onboarding is crucial, the need is to approach it in the right way. The key here is to create an employee onboarding experience that's both reproducible and scalable.
A pre-made onboarding process and similar, uniform experience for everyone who joins that department should be the aim of the organizations, except for a few highly specialized roles which may need their own processes.
This kind of standardized onboarding procedure will not only help your organization save time and money but also ensure uniformity of training to all employees along with a boost in productivity, higher staff engagement, and retention.
10. Thoroughly Assess Your Learning Needs
Although most employers understand the need for having a learning and development program for their employees, not all of them are sure about where to start. This requires putting together a thorough employee skills gap assessment to find out the unique needs of learners to be able to offer them the type of training they need.
Determining the skills gap translates to significant cost savings as you eliminate the costs associated with creating irrelevant training materials.
To be able to perform a skills gap analysis, the steps you need to focus on include:
- Plan your assessment- Begin by finding out the skills that are missing in different departments by discussing the same with team leaders and executives
- Establish learning goals-The next step in the process is to determine the learning goals and find objectives you want to achieve in your organization, along with skills your staff and employees need to help you reach these goals
- Leverage automation- With an increasing number of businesses leveraging automation in the workplace, you can support your employees by thinking about how automation will affect their specific roles and what extra skills will they need for doing better in their roles
When it comes to choosing the right employee training program for your organization, the cost is one of the most important determining factors. With multiple options for purchasing courses, content offerings, learning platforms and more, it can be both overwhelming and exorbitant for companies, which is why they look for different ways to cut down on their L&D budget.
However, reducing the costs of employee learning and development doesn't have to lead to a decrease in the training quality. Instead of just rushing to reduce the costs for training, L&D teams and managers need to consistently work on maintaining the quality of such training. This should be the priority, as it's the only way to stay on top of the competition.
In this blog, we have outlined some of the top tips to help your organization cut down on training costs while also helping you deliver impactful training to ensure a better performing workforce.
These strategies also help your training team create job-specific learning paths catered to the distinct training needs of your audience without having to incur the traditional training expenses including travel, lodging, food, and more.
Further, these strategies also offer your employees the flexibility and convenience of completing training at their own pace while optimizing their on-the-job productivity by keeping them at their place of employment.