Training budgets that don’t budge? Look for customized programs to get more ‘bang for the buck’

Posted by Paradigm Learning on September 03, 2015

Generally, it makes sense for organizations to plan their discretionary investments toward employee training with a “best case scenario” mindset. This shortsighted mentality is spotlighted when inevitably something unexpected happens. When faced with this Murphy’s Law scenario (which we’ll refer to as an ‘opportunity’ rather than a problem), an employee engagement firm provides a convincing argument on how to make more money by spending money on training.

For most HR professionals, there is only one problem with that idea (and this is a problem):

“We didn’t budget for this.”

Unfortunately, that is the point in the conversation where the idea is shelved “for the time being” and “until a time when projections are more favorable.” Predictably, that date never arrives, and the opportunity to take advantage of a new software program, baseline measurement initiative or content management system is lost.

By the way, more often than not, the same date passes for companies facing complex systemic and operational problems in which substantive investment in training could have helped. They didn’t budget for those ‘problems,’ either!

Organizations don’t budget for indifference, either. Yet, they pay the price for it every day in the cost of disengaged and unmotivated employees. Those problems don’t belong in any budget, but they remain there … by choice.

The good thing is you always have a second chance at making a positive first impression through training initiatives, particularly if it’s a new concept for your organization. If you need convincing, all you have to do is look at the larger picture. In a recent Association for Talent Development’s State of the Industry Report (ATD) revealed that training is a $156.2 billion industry, with 30 percent of that figure spent on external training providers.

That should ring a few bells!

ATD expounded by asking business leaders to reflect upon a few questions:

--What does my workforce need to learn to maintain a competitive advantage?

--What specific skills will give us the greatest return on investment?

--How can working with a provider augment or supplement our internal learning systems?

--What’s the best delivery method for learning in my organization?

There is an undeniable correlation between making a larger investment in employee development and being considered a ‘best-in-class’ company. Keep in mind, however, that training initiatives are a two-way street, and providers are more flexible in their approach than ever. Full-day business simulations can now be distilled into powerful three-to-four hour, half-day custom programs. That makes a lot of sense for improving best practices related to strategies like onboarding.

The key is getting your best people to budge. You can’t begin without it.

Topics: Business Simulations, Human Resources