4 Ways To Manage Your Training Budget Wisely

How To Manage Your Training Budget Wisely In 4 Steps

Training is widely recognized as a key to increased employee retention and improved morale, and it is critical to an organization’s success and future growth. Ongoing training can increase customer satisfaction, improve sales, and give your organization the competitive edge in your industry. Taking the time to better plan your training budget is not just important—it’s an investment in your organization.

Even the process of creating a training budget can be an invaluable exercise. In assessing your training needs, your business will have to define overall objectives while also reflecting on which needs are adequately covered, who or what is getting neglected, and where the training gaps are. And in researching solutions—such as eLearning or updating technology—your business may find the best options are actually the most cost-effective ones.

1. Assess Your Training Needs First

Before you start planning your training budget, look ahead at the coming year. Training budgets typically include several common line items:

  • Training staff salaries
  • Consulting or contracting instructors
  • Tools or equipment for in-classroom instruction
  • Technology (course authoring software, a Learning Management System, web conferencing tools, cloud-based hosting for online training)
  • Facilities
  • Travel expenses and conferences

Talk to your colleagues to understand any special training needs they have. Send a survey to employees to determine where training gaps exist.

Look at your current training technology. Do you have a Learning Management System (LMS) already in place? Does it still serve your needs, or is it time to replace it? If you don’t have an LMS, then it’s time to consider purchasing one. What technology are you using today to produce course content? What other technology tools will you need?

Consider who your training program targets. This may be partners, employees, customers, or all 3. If partners and customers are being trained along with company employees, consider talking to your marketing or sales departments about additional funding for your training program.

What are some ways that training can innovate and bring additional benefits to those other departments through technology? If you can make the argument, and then show a Return On Investment, you’ve just found a possible way to increase your training budget.

2. Save Money With eLearning

In his article 'eLearning In 2017: The Adventure Is Just Beginning – Part I', Ken Turner calls 2016 the year that "the potential of eLearning reached the consciousness of business organizations" on a global scale. Business organizations are widely examining whether investing in eLearning will help them remain competitive in a global marketplace and yield good dividends for shareholders.

If your organization hasn’t made the move to eLearning yet or is just experimenting with this method of training, there are many reasons to make the switch. Online learning maximizes your training budget dollars and offers many other tangible benefits:

  • It saves money and time. With eLearning, employees don’t need to travel for training, and there are typically no facility costs.
  • Costs for instructors and Instructional Designers occur up front, but once a course is developed and delivered, it can be used over and over again.
  • eLearning is the "green" option for training programs. By eliminating travel to and from training classes and printing classroom materials, your organization is leaving a smaller footprint on the environment.
  • eLearning can be available 24/7 so employees, partners, and customers can take training just-in-time or when it’s convenient. This is especially pertinent to Millennials who prefer to work flexible hours and remotely.
  • eLearning allows all kinds of creativity in teaching. Engaging content like videos, quizzes, games, and interactive activities help increase retention in learners.
  • For companies with employees in multiple time zones, eLearning technology platforms can bring those learners together into one online experience.

3. Choose Innovative Technology To Save Money

It’s possible your budget should factor in replacing your LMS. Most older Learning Management Systems were only used to administer, track, document, and deliver online training and in-classroom instruction. They had limited functionality, and Instructional Designers had to purchase stand-alone software to create interactive eLearning courses, quizzes, and videos.

Today’s LMS options offer much more functionality, reducing, or even eliminating the cost of add-on tools. Newer all-in-one learning systems are easier to use and include course authoring software, media libraries, modern interfaces, and multi-language functions to reach your global audience. Reports-on-demand and analytics help measure learner retention and progress.

With an easier user experience, LMS is no longer limited to Learning and Development professionals. It’s a great, cost-effective way to grow sales by offering ongoing sales training and coaching. Today’s LMS can integrate training data with Salesforce, Google AnalyticsFountain, BambooHR, Customer.io, and other business applications, and sales teams can leverage it to create videos and generate more leads.

Marketing teams can use an all-in-one LMS to create customer training—customizing learners’ experiences and delivering mobile apps—or to create games and quizzes and give away free content.

Because today’s Learning Management Systems are easier to use for non-training staff, they simplify tasks like creating interactive surveys to get feedback from customers. HR can also use the LMS to create orientation videos for new employees on topics such as company policies, timekeeping and other HR matters that save time.

4. Consider Scalability When Planning Your Training Budget Program

What are the peaks and valleys of your training needs? Do they vary at different times of the year? Are there seasonal needs? If your training needs and numbers fluctuate throughout the year, it’s worth looking at cloud-based options.

Hosted training platforms can be a great way to save money as you pay based on the number of users who access the online training each month. Today’s cloud-based, all-in-one eLearning platforms enable you to "pay as you grow", an important consideration for your training budget.

Start by looking at last year’s training budget:

  • Can some of the facility rental and travel expenses be traded for a cloud-based eLearning platform?
  • If you’re using stand-alone course authoring tools, do you have a subscription renewal or maintenance fee coming up?
  • Are you contracting with outside consultants to provide in-classroom training?
  • What other costs do you have in your past training budget that can be used to move to innovative eLearning alternatives?

Ready To Take The Next Step?

Lower costs, more effective learning, increased sales, happy employees, and low environmental impact are all good reasons to include an all-in-one LMS in your next training budget.

Investing in anything takes courage, and change can sometimes be difficult. But investing in eLearning—and possibly a more up-to-date LMS—to help your organization become more successful will have long-term rewards.

Get started with The Beginner's Guide to Creating an Online Training Program.

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