How to manage training budgets effectively

Written by
Changeboard Team

11 Aug 2010

11 Aug 2010 • by Changeboard Team

Training - an efficient resource?

Making available resources go further and essentially increasing efficiency is not something that applies only to training and development; all colleagues in different functions and departments are also being affected by efficiency drives.

Often with training and development, the issue is more acute. Why? Well partly because we didn’t have many resources to start with, and secondly because organisations find cutting training a relatively harmless way of achieving savings, particularly in the short term. But what about the long term effects, and how can organisations overcome this problem?

Set your strategic objectives

Firstly, begin by taking a strategic view of your training provision. The only effective way is to take a strategic view of your training function. What does the organisation need, and how can you develop the capabilities and competences that will deliver those Benefits?

Prioritise the learning that you offer. Having developed a clear understanding of how the learning and development activities will tie in with the organisation’s strategy, the strategic approach is to select the options for how to achieve the required deliverables.

Consider introducing a learning management system

The track and trace functionality provided by any reputable LMS (learning management system) will highlight repetition and provide you with a central repository of learning materials that can be re-used and adapted across the organisation.

By using information on attendance and course completion for example, you can offer top-ups or further reading materials as an alternative to another complete course.

Utilise existing resources for training

Instead of developing new content for learning programmes, utilise existing content. For example, if you have been asked to train staff on a new product or service, the chances are the marketing department will have information on the target customer, how best to sell to them, why and what else they might buy.

In this instance, you can focus your training resources on adapting the information into an appropriate learning format.

Conduct a learning resources review

Most companies are amazed at what this type of 'drains-up' approach uncovers. Include the desktop materials of ex-employees, and declare an amnesty with other departments and branches. You will probably discover all types of 'out of the box' and bespoke course materials, many of which can be linked together or utilised again.

Having reviewed all of your available resources, explore the value of different methods of delivery and really understand where your costs are coming from. Make sure that face-to-face sessions (the single most expensive medium) are provided when there is no better way to deliver the learning i.e. when there is an experiential learning requirement.

Review cuts, processes and minimise wastage

Review the way in which other departments make cuts and learn which approaches have been most successful and adopt them as your own.

Review your processes and minimise wastage. Any creative process has an element of ‘design and amend’ - ensuring that your briefing documents are succinct and your objectives are clear will save you endless time and money through rewrites and redesigns.

Ensure you set out clear, achievable goals

When managing your training budget, tnvesting in proper learning design for the elements that really deliver the value are the key to delivering cost effective learning.

Set yourself goals. Having completed all of the above, the only thing left to do is to set your department some goals and publish them in the business so that you and your team remain focussed and the profile of your contribution is visible.