Training and development rarely get any significant share in a company budget, and they are usually among the first to get cut when the budget gets too tight. This is detrimental to the company, as employees are a company’s greatest assets.
The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) say companies who spend $1500 per employee training per year make about 24% more profit margins than companies who don’t. Well trained employees have the latest skillsets, which gives them a competitive edge for your company. Training could be the difference between your company making great profits or losses.
Many startup entrepreneurs understand this and would like to send their employees for training, however, training programs can be expensive. According to the Association of Talent Development, small businesses spend an average of $1,888 per employee training for 27 hours annually. That’s a lot of money for a small business trying to manage their expenses. So, how can small business owners train their staff on a modest budget?
Here are a few ways you can effectively train your staff on a limited budget:
1. Cross Train
Your employees are experts in their own fields. They have spent years perfecting their skills and have experiences that could benefit the rest of the company. Connect employees with contrasting tasks and skillsets and have them train each other on their work. For example, you could get the Information Technology department to work with the Public Relations team. While PR learns how to utilize new technologies, which will improve their efficiency, the IT team would learn how to relate to customers better.
2. Take Advantage of Freebies
Many professional employment bodies and business support services run free seminars with well-established speakers. Some law firms periodically run legal seminars on a range of law related topics like employment law and employee rights. Colleges and universities also run seminars on topics like people management and self-development. Do some online research to find free seminars and workshops run by local resources.
There are also free seminars and webinars that are offered online. Your employees could learn a lot from these highly skilled professionals and it wouldn’t cost you a penny!
Online training bodies like Training Today offer free, comprehensive training material compiled by top people in the training industry. Encourage your employees to take advantage of this and learn by themselves.
3. In-House Training
Sending all of your employees to training may be too costly, so consider just sending one who has good presentation skills. When they return from attending the program, they can teach others what they learned. They can create their presentation to address and cater to the company’s current needs. This way you save money while training your employees with a program tailored to address your company’s specific needs—better than any generic program would have.
4. Mentorship Programs
Create shadow programs where less experienced staff attend meetings and planning sessions with senior staff. In these programs, more experienced staff can share their knowledge and skills with younger, newer staff. The new staff will receive on the job training from staff who are familiar with their industry and the company, an experience more enriching and valuable than sitting in a class for hours.
5. Exchange Training Services
Similar to cross training within the organization, you can cross train outside of the organization. Approach companies that specialize on skills you want to develop and exchange your employees to work with and shadow their experts. For example, a legal service firm can send representatives to a public relations firm to improve their social media skills and the public relations firm representative can learn about consumer laws at the legal firm.
Because they get firsthand experience on how to perform these tasks that apply to their job (but not necessarily within their business mandate), the employee will develop invaluable skills that broadens their knowledge, which they can share with their colleagues.
6. Bring in an Expert
If your company lacks particular skills you need for business, you can bring in experts. There are freelance training experts that can be hired on a short-term basis to come in-house and train your staff. These trainers are usually less expensive than big firm training providers.
The trainer can assess the company culture, values, and goals, then tailor the service to your company. Having a trainer come in-house could save the company a lot of money on travel and could help avoid downtime by employees being out of office.
7. Read and Share
Invest in business books on skills that will add value to the company, then create a company library accessible to all employees. Have everyone read a book, and at the end of the month, have a lunch meeting where employees share what they read with their colleagues.
Training is an important part of the business world, especially for young, growing organizations. But it does not have to cost you a small fortune. The tips mentioned above are just a few of the things you can do to train your staff without spending a lot. Search online for cost effective training opportunities and use them to improve your staff’s skills and expertise.