Employee Training on a Budget: How to Bypass Downsides of Cheapness
The dream of any leader is to train staff without large (or even better any) investments.
Associate professor, Ph.D., and director of training and personnel development of the insurance company "Harmony" Julie Wells told CleverControl how to do it, how to create the "atmosphere of personal development" in a company, how to learn to intelligently combine all the features of a low-cost or free training and don’t feel its shortcomings.
Julie, which methods do you recommend to use for employee training and development with no investment?
Of course, any corporate training center fights for a budget that would allow inviting the most well-known providers of corporate training on the market, because employee development with only internal resources is simply not interesting. After all, there are so many external possibilities!
But if it so happened that the training center of a company has too little or no money at all in the budget, they can use several methods.
First one is the internal training, that is, staff coaching within the company. I know examples of many leaders of corporate training centers, who have taken advantage of crisis times and created their own training programs and successfully trained both employees and business coaches. Furthermore, there is always the possibility to build a system of mentoring and learning by doing, or a new control system (leader as a coach).
Secondly, many companies have the corporate social network, which is very convenient for creating the environment of development: leading experts can blog there, post the newest materials on various company’s aspects, as well as all current projects. There you can create an individual module - a library of teaching materials and business literature.
Thirdly, there are many opportunities to participate in free or demo training and business lunches and webinars with presentations of new ideas on staff training from external service providers. Typically, providers themselves send out invitations to such events or you can find them on their websites or social media pages.
Pros and Cons
What are the advantages and disadvantages of these methods?
Internal training, as well as the nurturing of talent within the company through mentoring tools and corporate coaching, has several advantages: the deep professional expertise of the coaching staff, the opportunity to mix business and professional competence training during one event, the training becomes the flagship of the corporate culture. But there are also disadvantages: professional burnout of internal trainers due to the repetition of the same training for similar audiences, lack of trainers' motivation to learn new educational practices due to lack of external competition, "smoothed" feedback from participants due to their reluctance to create a conflict with the internal division of the company (the training center).
A corporate social network as the employee developing environment can be very useful: the exchange of experience and knowledge goes way beyond the scope of one division of the company, which leads to cross-functional interacting, breaking down communication barriers and reducing vertical hierarchical distance, employees are motivated for self-development and help in the development of each other. However, there is also one downside: some employees can get addicted to the social network and forget to actually fulfill their responsibilities, spending hours in the virtual community or library.
Free participation in demo training, business lunches, and webinars, of course, is very useful, because you will always know about the latest trends in the training market and you can get new ideas for your own training programs. But there are drawbacks: often such events are organized only for PR, and the most interesting and important information is hidden or withheld: "Come to our paid seminar where we will reveal all the secrets!"
What are the most effective methods, in your opinion? Which do you recommend most frequently?
I am for the "mix"! We must learn to intelligently combine all the features of inexpensive or even free training, to focus on creating an environment for self-development, and to motivate employees to do so.
How to organize the training
How to organize the training? What should we pay attention to?
All the described opportunities for employee development on a budget should be systemized in one center, as a rule, it is company's Corporate University or HRD.
You should also pay attention to the quality and not the quantity of training events or methods. You cannot lower the bar even if the training is free!