Training budgets have always been under strain, but thanks to the pandemic, the situation has become especially challenging.
According to human capital analyst firm Brandon Hall Group, at the end of 2019, only 13% of companies said they were facing a decrease in the L&D budget. However, in July 2021, 40% said they had seen budget cuts as a direct result of the pandemic.
Shrinking budgets aside, L&D has been asked to do more with less. To prepare for a pandemic-influenced future, organizations began to lean heavily on the L&D function to rapidly upskill and reskill the newly remote workforce.
Indeed, the “future of work” would be one in which employees rely even more heavily on digital skills while most likely handling the work of coworkers who did not return to their positions, perhaps due to forces surrounding The Great Resignation.
In any event, L&D leaders need to not only make their training budget stretch further, but also install measures to prevent their training programs from leaking precious budget and resources.
Defining and managing your training budget can be a challenging task. Download this free training budget template and tracker to maintain visibility and stay within your budget.
How You Can Stop the Leakage
There are several areas where waste might be lurking. While finding it and addressing it quickly can help you save budget and ensure greater program ROI, there are other strategies you can put in place to prevent leakage from occurring in the first place.
Let’s look at a few.
Capacity planning delivers full visibility into who is available to take on work to ensure resources are assigned efficiently across projects. In this way, the best people are assigned to the best project, and are not wasted completing tasks that are not suited to their abilities.
When L&D teams optimize capacity planning, a higher number of completed projects and satisfied learners result. Budgets are spent more wisely and resources are utilized more effectively.
Proper capacity planning helps L&D teams avoid:
- Overscheduling team members with high-demand skills onto too many projects at once
- Unexpected spends on temp contracts
- Forgetting to cover the hours needed for ongoing administrative tasks in the department
Proper resource planning helps your team make the most of personnel hours, skill sets, and budgets to avoid the underutilization or overutilization of resources.
Download this free eBook, The Executive’s Guide to LearnOps, to learn how capturing data behind your learning operations can empower you to make better decisions and drive productivity in the development and delivery of training.
A robust training intake system helps L&D teams select the requests for learning that they suspect will have the strongest outcomes.
By the same token, a robust training intake system helps teams avoid greenlighting courses that will prove nothing but a drain on resources and budgets, and simply not deliver the needed ROI to the organization.
The ability to lean on training intake to prevent training budget and resources leaks requires structuring training request forms from business partners in such a way as to gather as much information as possible before analyzing each request, scheduling projects, and proceeding to kick-off.
L&D can use the training intake system to ask requesters such information as:
- Type of training required
- Training format suggestions
- The business need prompting the request
- Learning audience profile and size
- Skills/competencies to be learned from the course
- Existing content/resources that can be incorporated
Learning Operations or LearnOps
To ensure that their teams are working efficiently and prioritizing the right training, learning leaders can supercharge their capacity planning and training intake efforts by capturing the data behind every decision, project, and outcome.
With access to additional data and robust analytics, learning leaders can have a clearer picture of their learning operations, or LearnOps, empowering them to make better decisions and drive productivity in the development and delivery of training.
Developing a LearnOps view of L&D processes from start to finish can uncover a ton of missed opportunities to streamline training development and produce better learning outcomes, including:
- Identifying and reducing friction between stakeholders, instructional designers, and project managers
- Stronger and more timely visibility into budgetary and resource leaks from one end of the learning development process to the other
- Increased visibility into training needs across the organization
- Streamlining and exploiting the learning technology stack
- Reducing the development time for new learning experiences
- Aligning L&D more closely with organizational objectives and performance
- More effective learner experiences and improved outcomes for key stakeholders throughout the business
- Cohesive approach to training intake, projects, deployment/delivery, and measurement
With budgets under siege and the need for justification of every dollar spent, L&D teams need to not only stretch their budgets but also find ways to prevent leakage.
A tighter watch on resource utilization, greater scrutiny of which training requests to grant, and closer attention to the data that can be collected throughout all L&D processes can ensure that learning teams can do more, and even better, with the resources at hand.
A well planned and allocated training budget enables your L&D department to operate as efficiently as possible. Download this free eBook to effectively calculate and allocate your training budget.