As we race into the fourth quarter, many of us are assessing how much of our 2018 training budget remains and what we need to accomplish before the end of the year. According to a 2017 Training Industry report, large companies averaged $17 million in training budget with mid-sized companies coming at $1.5 million and small companies at just over $375,000. Those are some hefty figures and, as with many departmental budgets, if those budgeted funds are not used they may not be reallocated the next year.
So, what can you do? How can you spend the remainder of your 2018 training budget and get measurable impact? The answer lies in prioritization – in making sure that the goals of the company are supported and advanced through learning and development (L&D) initiatives. After all, that is what we do (or should be doing) as L&D practitioners, right?
Priorities will vary by company, industry, and by applying a little performance consultation, you can quickly identify your learning priorities and determine where the remaining budget can be spent.
If you find yourself with remaining 2018 training budget here are the top seven ideas (plus a bonus idea) on how to use it before December 31st.
1. Convert Your Instructor-Led Training (ILT) – Classroom learning has its place but it’s not the only game in town. It is critical that a learning organization looks at their learning solutions through the lens of the modern learner and considers how best to reach that population – what digital solutions will provide the knowledge transfer required and the learner engagement necessary? For example, taking a lengthy synchronous course and digitizing it into a series of micro-length eLearnings can ensure that even a complex topic, previously only suited to ILT, is accessible and provides the appropriate cognitive load while ensuring a safe environment in which to apply the newly learned skills.
2. Provide Professional Development Opportunities – What development opportunities have your leaders received in 2018? If the answer is ‘not many’ consider leveraging an expert in one of the well-known psychometric tools like DiSC, Process Communication Model, MBTI, or Hogan. These test can help your leaders gain self-awareness and learn how to recognize the personal drivers within themselves and of others. When your leaders possess this awareness, they are far more likely to engage with their teams in a meaningful way which can help to decrease attrition and increase productivity.
3. Reach Your Global Learning Audience – Translate your most popular courses to another language to reach your global employee base or global customers. When you translate your eLearning courses, you are able to deliver consistency of training which can increase productivity, foster a more inclusive workplace, and maximize time spent training.
4. Increase Advanced Core Skills – Strong core skills are vital to achieving business results. The case for core skills improvement can be seen in a recent study from LinkedIn Learning. In 2018 they conducted a survey of two thousand leaders to determine the core skills most in demand. The results were not surprising, yet many companies have yet to provide development in these critical areas of Leadership, Communication, Collaboration, and Time Management. As everyone is asked to more with less, work with increasingly diverse teams, and adjust to business shifts, the additional skills of conflict resolution, and empathy are also increasing in importance. Making an investment in the core skills of your employees is always a good idea.
5. Evaluate Your LMS – Are you getting the most out of your LMS? With more than 400 LMS applications available today how do you know you are getting the most from yours? Are you leveraging all the extra integrations? Do you need to? Having an expert LMS Consultant work with you to determine your LMS priorities and reporting requirements can streamline the process and may reduce the overall expense. Whether you need help finding the right LMS or evaluating the solution you currently use, an experienced LMS Consultant can help.
6. Leverage Staff Augmentation – What do you do when your internal training team is stretched to the max, you have no budget for FTE headcount, and you still have internal client requests to fulfill? You leverage an expert resource to help your team, of course! Using learning and development staff augmentation is the perfect way to balance your need with your budget. Engaging expert resources like an eLearning Developer, L&D Project Manager, LMS Administrator, Instructional Designer, or Leadership Facilitator on an on-demand basis gets you a skilled learning professional who functions as a member of your internal team without the total compensation load required for an employee.
7. Develop Your Evaluation & Measurement Strategy – We all know how valuable it is to evaluate your training after deployment and measure its return on investment, but most organizations stop at the ‘smile sheet’ and a final knowledge check. To truly measure the impact of learning, you need to build a complete evaluation strategy which incorporates the total continuum of Kirkpatrick (Reaction, Learning, Behavior, Results). When done right, an evaluation of your training helps to improve the learner experience and a solid measurement strategy lets you determine the impact that training has on performance. It is not an easy task, but when you leverage an expert, you benefit from meaningful data gathering and insightful analysis which can prove the value of training, deliver a roadmap for future development, and reinforce the importance of investment.
8. BONUS IDEA! Engage a Learning Strategist – If any of these priorities resonate with you but you don’t know where to start, consider engaging a CoreAxis Learning Strategist or Performance Consultant. A seasoned L&D Consultant can help you determine the most critical learning needs and identify where you can get the most “lift” from your available training dollars.
CoreAxis has more than 15 years of experience in helping organizations just like yours! Our expert L&D professionals can help you whether you have remaining 2018 budget or are planning the 2019 L&D budget. Contact us today to learn more!