Training on a budget: Cost-effective ways to grow your employees’ skills


The training programs in a majority of businesses are ineffective. In addition to the training being flawed in intent, timing, and content, the budgetary resources allocated for training are utilized inefficiently.

Similar to lean manufacturing and lean start-ups, cost-effective training enables businesses to structure their training programs to gain a competitive advantage. It allows employees to learn core skills, and their application in real-world situations. Cost-effective training methods ensure that the workforce understands what is required and learns at the right time, all the while maintaining a sharp focus on the business outcomes expected from the training. 

Why is Employee Training Important?

Even if you are constrained for funds, keeping your training program functional is important. Lack of training, on the other hand, will cost you significantly more. Here’s how it impacts your business: 

  • Increased employee turnover

Studies show that a majority (69%) of employees would stay on in their jobs if training opportunities for upskilling and reskilling were provided. Employees look for learning opportunities in their jobs to enhance their professional skills. In the absence of such opportunities, they quit their jobs to join businesses that offer learning opportunities. For businesses, the costs of hiring, onboarding, and training fresh hires are substantially higher than that of training existing employees. 

  • Loss of competitive edge

The business environment is hyper-competitive across industries. Employees need to be able to perform their best for the business to stay ahead of the competition. Without periodic training, employees cannot stay updated or gain new skills. A business run with an untrained workforce can easily be overtaken by a rival business with trained employees.

  • Compliance costs

Compliance training is the surest way to avoid workplace accidents, data breaches, cyber-attacks, etc. Businesses that have to deal with issues arising from non-compliance, incur costs of legal settlements and business disruptions. Poor compliance training also causes reduced employee engagement; it lowers efficiency, productivity, and overall quality of work. 

How to implement Cost-Effective Training?

The appropriate response to a tight training budget is not cutting out employee training, it is adopting a strategic approach to training. Some ways to conduct training on a tight budget without sacrificing on quality are listed below:

Leverage online content

Online training allows businesses to reuse a training module multiple times and in multiple ways. For example, a video presentation on company policies can be shared with new hires for online viewing. At the same time, a pdf version of the same video can be used as reference material by existing employees, whenever required. 

The training content needs to be updated periodically to include the latest products, tools, compliance requirements, etc. The cost of creating online content and then disseminating the information is significantly lower than that of offline training. You can implement an LMS to create courses as well as assign them to the targeted employees. 

Each offline training session requires businesses to pay for instructors, travel and accommodation of employees and instructors, classroom/conference rooms, etc. Online training makes things easier by doing away with these expenses. It also allows easy updation  of the course material. Employees can go through the material at their convenience and even use it multiple times. It helps improve their knowledge retention and performance.  

Take short sessions

An effective means of saving on training costs without losing effectiveness is to plan short training sessions (of around 10 minutes). Typically, such sessions focus on core instructions and cut out extraneous content. This strategy provides dual advantages of better learner engagement and information retention. 

Short sessions help break down the overall training program into manageable modules that do not overwhelm the learners with excessive content. Each module can consist of short instructional videos in different sequences. This approach also provides the instructors with the flexibility to make changes to the modules without having to edit the entire course. 

Learning can be personalized for different roles by changing the relevant short portions of the primary training program. 

Use readily-available courses

Creating content for your learning programs can require considerable investment of time and effort. When working on a tight budget, it is recommended to opt for pre-built courses and enable employee access to these. You can opt for an LMS that offers an extensive content library to support your learning needs. 

For proprietary content, create simple courses or videos

When training content is to be created for proprietary, specialized knowledge, create simple courses or videos. Simple videos, in addition to being cost-effective, are quick and simple to shoot. Such videos have the least equipment and post-production requirements. You can also opt for an LMS that offers an authoring tool to create proprietary content. Look for an LMS that offers interactive content creation including videos, quizzes, and more. 

Use broad-basing instructor-led training

A constrained training budget does not mean that you give up instructor-led training. However, since the tight budget places constraints on the number of sessions, you can make efforts to extract the most from every session. 

Instead of just imparting knowledge, the instructor can make the session broad-based. They can divide the trainees into small groups to work on mini-projects related to the subject. It will allow people to learn to work in teams, share ideas, practice leadership and collaboration, express opinions and negotiate. 

Broad-based social learning is engaging and organized. It is a cost-effective training and development methodology for training employees on multiple skills simultaneously. 

Practice peer-to-peer learning

Most organizations have a rich in-house talent and knowledge pool that often remains under-utilized. Using the knowledge and skills of these internal resources is a great way to drive low-budget training. These internal resources have the experience that the organization requires.  

For example, the internal resources might have developed an effective productivity hack over time. They can then share it with others through online or offline presentations. 

Peer-to-peer learning is also a way of showing your appreciation for an employee’s competence. By asking the employee to pass on their expertise and skills to the others in the organization, you acknowledge and respect their business competence. 

Provide on-the-job training

It is probably the most cost-effective means of employee training. On-the-job training allows new hires to learn as they work. This approach to training can also be adopted for newly promoted employees or those transitioning to new roles within the organization.

On-the-job training has the advantage of being personalized and flexible. It enables employees to learn by doing, making mistakes, and correcting themselves – all in a safe, controlled, and supervised environment. 

Invest in a Learning Management System (LMS)

When on a tight training budget, investing in an LMS might seem like an extravagance. However, in the long term, an LMS saves more money for your business. 

An LMS enables the creation and replication of training material at no additional cost. It does not require any additional tools. The LMS helps archive courses for future use and provides data to select the most effective courses. It also allows you to track the progress of your employees and better streamline their learning journey. 

Before selecting an LMS, evaluate its features and assess its suitability for your training needs. Make your purchase cost-effective by selecting the LMS that offers you the most relevant features. 

Final thoughts

Contrary to the popular belief, training can be both business-effective and cost-effective. You only need to take a strategic approach and keep a sharp focus on training requirements such that they align with your business needs. Periodically evaluate the business results obtained from training to gauge the effectiveness of your training modules. 

If you’re looking for a competent, scalable, and robust employee training tool, check out Auzmor Learn – An intuitive LMS that features a content library, authoring tools, progress tracker and so much more. Book a demo to know more

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