How to upskill employees on a budget
Regular training and development opportunities not only strengthens your employees’ skills, but it also has been proven to boost their engagement and loyalty.
Training is also an opportunity to enhance a sense of team unity, which can also improve your employees’ productivity and motivation.
In other words, training is something that can have a positive impact on your bottom-line.
So how can you, as a manager or small business owner, train your employees on a limited budget? Read on to find out.
In-house skill sharing
There may be a vast amount of skill and talent that already exists in your business. You can tap into this talent pool by asking your employees to hold mini-training sessions for their colleagues.
This gives people the opportunity to share their expertise, skills and insight with others. In return, they will have the opportunity to learn new skills from their colleagues. Skill sharing is a perfect opportunity to introduce employees to new roles within your business that they may not have considered, and can build camaraderie between employee groups.
External skill swaps
Invite people from other organisations to come and hold a training session for your employees. Or, you can send your employees to spend time in another organisation to experience how they do things there.
The benefit of a skill swap is that both organisations gain new insights without spending any money.
In some instances, it may be necessary for you to send your employees to an external training centre. It can be quite costly to send your employees to these centres. Research shows that the average cost of training one employee is around £1500.
To keep the training costs down, see if you can negotiate a discount on the course in return for sending a large group. Or, see if it is possible to share the cost with another business who needs to undertake the same training for their employees.
Mentors are people who experienced in a particular field and who are willing to share their skills with others. Most mentors offer their time and expertise on a voluntary basis so your employees get practical advice and learn new approaches to solving problems for free.
As a business owner or manager, research shows that you can benefit greatly from mentoring as it results in improved productivity.
Increasing numbers of employees are asking for more training opportunities to take part in workplace self-learning. Self-learning allows the employee to learn at a pace and a time that works best for them.
Self-learning can be delivered in various formats. For instance, through special skill-sharing, online webinars, podcasts and even over video calls. This gives your employees the choice to choose a method that they feel the most comfortable with.
If your employees are already asking about self-learning, then you should encourage them to find a suitable solution and then you can do a cost-benefit assessment based on the options they have found.
Leaders as trainers
Trainers are often seen as external people who have been brought into the organisation to deliver a training session. However, there is a new concept that is becoming popular which is called ‘leaders as trainers’. It essentially boils down to senior managers and leaders from within the business becoming drafted in to share their skills and nuggets of wisdom.
Companies that are doing this well are delivering these sessions in a fun and relaxed manner. By incorporating quizzes or activities into the training, they are stopping it becoming mundane and stuffy. There is evidence to suggest that game based learning is more effective than traditional training, as it stimulates the brain’s cognitive functions.
With these training ideas to upskill your staff in a cost-effective way, you can transform the skillsets in your business.
[updated May 2022 from a previous post by Emma Saldanha]