Everyone is doing more with less today—especially today’s beleaguered L&D teams.
With the need for training and skill support at an all-time high, L&D teams can benefit by seeking efficiencies and discovering ways to make their training budgets stretch further.
Let’s have a look at a few strategies that can help learning leaders accomplish more with budgets that may have stayed flat or even have declined.
Plan, manage, and track your training budget and L&D spending throughout the year with this free training budget template.
1. Pick your battles wisely
Even with unlimited budgets, L&D cannot develop every training class imaginable. There must be a way to decide which courses get built, and which ones do not.
The best way to do this is by using a training intake system. When designed and implemented properly, the system places much responsibility on the requester, asking questions about the viability and application of the proposed course. Such questions might include:
- Who is the intended audience of the training?
- What is the organizational training need prompting the request?
- How will the success of the training be measured?
- What are the anticipated business outcomes of the training?
Answers to questions like these can help L&D make decisions about greenlighting learning projects, as costs vs ROI can be anticipated way beforehand.
2. Share the cost burden with the business unit
As with other business functions, such as IT, there has been a movement towards shared responsibility and accountability. It’s no different for L&D: shifting training creation from being solely the responsibility of L&D to a joint model with other business functions.
This can help L&D on both fronts: the more involved the business unit is, the more willing they will be to supply the all-important subject matter experts and get the team jazzed up for training.
Of course, the other benefit is that you can ask them to contribute funds to the courses that L&D will design and host on the company’s LMS. Everybody wins.
Want to learn more about using training intake to correctly diagnose organizational training needs? Check out this free ebook: Managing Training Intake for Strategic Success
3. Upskill and reskill your own L&D team members
Upskilling and reskilling continue to be top of mind across many organizations, but L&D can certainly upskill and reskill its own team members, too.
This is a great way to make the training budget stretch. When L&D team members become skilled and capable of taking on another task in the course building process, L&D will not need to hire additional staffers or outside consultants.
4. Lean on templates and re-package
This is perhaps one of the best ways to do more with less, as using templates can be a huge time saver as well. With templates and re-packaged content, multiple courses can be spun out at once.
Another benefit of templates is that the branding or look and feel can be carried forth through multiple learning experiences, which can help learners feel more comfortable and interact more freely with a course. They can see the branding elements or navigation and think, “I’ve seen this before, OK, I can do this,” giving more confidence to the learning experiences L&D shares with the organization.
To design an effective upskilling/reskilling program you need a deep understanding of the forces that are driving the need to overcome internal skills obsolescence. Download this free eBook to inform your talent development strategy.
5. Widen the audiences for your courses
This one is a tough one to swallow, but if done properly, it can save a lot of time and money, and can still be quite effective.
The idea here is that rather than create unique, personalized learning experiences for small groups of employees, L&D can instead design courses that can be taken by multiple employee groups all at once. While some types of training courses have always been intended for large groups, such as compliance, other types of training might be intended for smaller groups of employees seeking the development of very specific skills.
While courses addressing a specific need are great, courses that are broad enough so that others can take them and benefit from them obviously save a lot of time and effort for L&D.
6. Go off the shelf
When you simply cannot do it all, the answer is to offer ready-made, off the shelf learning developed by third-party education providers.
No project plan, no ADDIE, no instructional design, no development: if the course aims to teach a skill that employees need, all that’s required is the creation of an account and method of payment, and the course is ready for learners.
With bundles, volume pricing, discounts, and other plans, off the shelf courses could end up costing much less than building a similar course in-house. For even more cost savings, you can combine this strategy with #2 above, and have the business unit help defray the cost of purchasing a license for the off the shelf course.