How to Train Your Employees on a Budget | The importance of investing in the expertise of your staff cannot be emphasized enough. They are the lifeblood of your business and their productivity directly affects your profitability. Considering the rate at which each industry is developing, training is no longer a once-off task. To keep up with the times, your staff should regularly have the opportunity to further their knowledge. However, this may be quite the strain on the budget of a small or medium-sized business. That said, training does not have to be a massive expense. Here are a few ways in which you can make it work even with limited funds.
Determine where the knowledge gaps lie
First things first, you need to find the areas that need improvement. That way, you’ll avoid wasting money on training that employees don’t actually need and you’ll be able to focus your limited budget on the most important knowledge gaps. So, how do you do this? You can simply ask for employees’ feedback. Discuss the topic with them or create an anonymous survey for the most honest answers. If self-evaluation doesn’t seem to bring you the information you expected, you can also assess their knowledge yourself.
Refresh your resources
If you want your training to be effective, you cannot rely on dated, poor-quality materials. When was the last time you updated your training resources? Or worse yet, do you even have materials new hires can rely on? The best idea would be an overhaul that not only puts your materials on the next level but also makes them easily adjustable. That way, keeping them regularly updated won’t be an ordeal and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate on it. Additionally, keep resources organized. Make sure you document old seminars and other educational events for new employees in the future, so you won’t have to repeat them.
Develop a mentorship program
The next method to train employees on a budget would be creating a mentorship program. This isn’t something that only affects new employees. Having employees across different departments cross-train each other is also useful. The next time someone needs to take a sudden leave, you will have qualified backup without having to lift a finger. Naturally, not every employee is cut out for teaching, so you’ll have to find the right people for the job. Offering incentives will certainly help get them on board.
Consider workshops and seminars
The next way to keep training affordable but effective would be by leveraging workshops. Workshops don’t have to be grand events that cost more to organize than they’re worth. Informal workshops where employees share their knowledge are also a great way to bridge knowledge gaps and give employees a chance to practice something they may not be as well-versed in. Additionally, there are many free workshops and seminars—online and in-person ones alike—that you can take advantage of, if only you do a bit of research. Just make sure that you don’t use employees’ free time for these events.
Leave it to the pros
Sometimes, insisting that you can handle training in-house can actually be time-consuming and, consequently, counter-effective. You want to improve your employees’ skills so that your business can function more efficiently. If the training process itself only consumes your resources without noticeable results, it’s time to turn to the pros. Training agencies have already developed systems and know how to utilize high-quality RTO training materials to their full potential. Enrolling employees in an online course might thus be a better value for money than trying to handle training on your own.
Acquire additional funds
If you are not the one responsible for the training budget, the aforementioned tips and creativity will be your best friends in making the most of what you have. If you’re truly struggling to make do with a limited budget, though, letting the higher-ups know of this may not be a bad idea. If you manage to express in what way additional training could benefit the company and you have a clear plan to present, you may convince them to allocate additional funds to everyone’s benefit.
Giving your employees opportunities to learn in their workplace is about more than just shoving information into their heads. A concern for their development shows them that you actually care about them and their growth, so it also nurtures their morale. Use these tips to execute training on a budget for the best results.
Mike is an Australian business consulting specialist. He’s working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business and marketing and is a regular contributor on several websites.