Employees are valuable assets of any organization. However, during tough times, when budgets are not forthcoming, training tends to take a back seat. Training is the first expense that is cut down by the management. This move seems essential to keep the business running at that point of time, but it certainly does dent the spirit and caliber of the employees in the long run. Especially, in today’s knowledge economy, learning has to be continual and ongoing. So, how can you ensure that you have sustainable training across the organization even if your budgets are low?
For that, you need to plan ahead. When you do have the budget and resources, use them wisely so that they come handy during a rainy day. Here are some ideas that suggest how you can plan ahead and be prepared for tough times.
1. Build Online Learning Modules and Digital Learning Assets:
When you have a budget, allocate some for building a library of learning modules and learning assets online. Even if you have a well-established classroom room training program, it pays to invest in an online asset because that can come handy when budgets are cut. These online resources can cover a broad range of topics and subjects that are relevant to your employees as per their roles and responsibilities. When there is a training need, you can create a curriculum from these learning modules and assets and deploy to the relevant people. You don’t have to lament that the training budget is not sufficient. At least, learning does not come to a complete standstill.
Make sure to collate and save the digitized and catalogue PowerPoint presentations, training manuals and other learning materials that instructors share during classroom training programs. This ensures that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel and these assets will act as building blocks to create e-learning modules or online courses in future.
2. Use Webinars or Virtual Training Platforms:
Get into the practice of recording live classroom training sessions that can be made into an on-demand session at a later date. You can also get your instructors to deliver live webinars which can also become on-demand webinars that employees can access later. So, if you have created a library of on-demand webinars on your website, learning portal or learning management system, all you have to do is get employees to access them. As long as the content is relevant, they can stay online to be viewed by employees. It is not very expensive to update the content, if minor changes are required.
Not just that, e-learning developers can add assessments and interactivities to these resources to make them engaging and appealing to learners. It certainly is an easier way to keep the learning going when you don’t have the budgets to organize fresh learning sessions, workshops or seminars.
3. Encourage Collaborative Learning and Informal Learning:
You can create professional groups that facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange of thoughts, ideas and resources. They can be part of the online learning portal or a standalone application that employees can access via mobile devices. LinkedIn groups encourage professional discussions; you could have one exclusively for your organization. There are others such as Telegram messenger which is popular with organizations when they have to communicate with a large number of people. You could have one built into your existing IT infrastructure as well – customized to your organizational requirement.
Once you have the infrastructure or process in place, all that you need is to maintain it and keep the communication channel open. That does not cost as much money as spearheading a fresh training initiative. It is better than putting a complete full stop to learning within the organization. So, when the training budgets are cut, you don’t have to put an end to learning. You can explore alternative methods to encourage knowledge transfer.
If you have these systems in place, you don’t have to worry about reduced training budgets. You may not be able to do all what you hoped to do, but at least you will ensure that employees are not deprived of knowledge and growth.
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