3 Effective Train-On-A-Dime Techniques For SMBs

If you’re managing a smaller business, chances are you’ve considered where to cut things out of the company budget in order to stay ahead. Unfortunately, many business leaders in these smaller ventures often aim for the training budget first when making cuts. But a skilled workforce is critical for your business, no matter what size.

Training your employees on a budget doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Let’s explore some of the current opportunities out there for delivering quality employee onboarding on a budget.

Employee-directed learning

In his TLNT article, David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research, discusses how utilizing employees to create training content is a great solution for companies with tight training budgets. Not only is this approach easier to implement than most other existing training solutions, but it can lead to an increase in employee engagement.

Often, the people who best understand how things work at the company are the employees themselves, as they are familiar with the fine details of the job. When you allow your employees to direct their own learning, you create a network of “peer instructors” that all have a wealth of job knowledge, and can train each other at any given time.

E-learning/blended solutions

The traditional instructor-led approach may become too time- and resource-intensive as a training solution, especially for smaller businesses. Ensuring that your employees have enough  other training materials, and that there is a training space that can accommodate those employees can become daunting, not to mention costly, and all for a training that likely won’t guarantee employee engagement.

Several articles have touched on the potential cost-saving benefits of adopting e-learning as a training strategy.

Chances are, your employees already have personal computers, phones, tablets, and other mobile devices that can increase their learning flexibility while giving them autonomy. Rather than delegating a portion of your budget to gathering training materials and hiring a trainer, e-learning instead allows you to focus that budget on creating top-notch web training based on a focused needs analysis.

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While it can seem like an attractive solution, e-learning isn’t going to be the right solution for every business. Every company, along with its employees, culture, and leadership, is unique. A blended solution, such as creating job aids, action planners, or other learning tools that can complement an existing training, helps employees more fully understand the content. In this blog post, Trevor Grant calls this “Creating the Learning Ecosystem” – that is, giving your employees the full set of easy-to-use learning tools that are easily available and applicable in their day-to-day work setting.

Look outside the company

While it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes pulling from your own company’s resources to create training solutions may actually be hurting your budget, especially if you’re just setting out into unfamiliar territory and haven’t developed a robust training program yet.

In her article on creating logistics training, Michelle Benjamin, CEO of Benjamin Enterprises and TalentReady, suggests that companies ought to look outside to find appropriate training solutions. Whether through local community colleges, or other companies in your industry, your company may be able to find the solutions it needs through external collaboration.

It’s important that your employees have the skills they need to be successful and drive results at your business. No matter what your budget looks like, there are solutions out there that can help make your training robust and effective without breaking the bank.

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