There is a lot of pressure on us to use L&D spending wisely. In this blog, I will take a look at how, instead of taking it all on ourselves, we can involve staff and suppliers in that process.
We all know that companies feel under pressure to deliver effective training and development interventions. It can sometimes be challenging to do this when there are so many internal and external factors that can influence the process. I promise, this isn't a blog moaning about the economy and the impact it has had on companies, however as the training and learning budget is always one of the things that gets cut first it is still wise for companies to know how to make this budget work for everyone. This got me thinking about how we can create our own best practice approaches to L&D spend to help utilise L&D resources efficiently! I always believe a solid starting place is a sound L&D plan. Carrying out a Training Needs Analysis will establish the needs of the staff and establish where the real gaps are. If you know you will need a particular piece of training for a number of delegates across the year, then you can commit to a number of days with a provider or run something on-site. By planning ahead your budget will be spent in a less reactive way which always helps eliminate wasteful spend. Drawing from internal skillset is also a powerful way to be resourceful.
Get your training suppliers to not only help with budget but provide you with full support on proving ROI.
I remember creating an internal L&D questionnaire to ask if employees felt their skills were effectively utilised in the business, and if they felt they could add more value through other areas of their technical expertise - the results were unbelievable!! 42% said they would be 'happy to share expertise internally to add more value'. I remember thinking at the time how much effort goes into asking employees what training they would like - flipping it the other way and assessing how your employees can help you is a great way to utilise existing skills already in your organisation. So ensure you draw from internal resources – create user specialists and training up enthusiastic employees on certain tools, and functions can be both motivational and resourceful! For example, could an expert in Excel train co-workers on a one to one basis? Senior staff tend to back this approach of using internal expertise and they like to see you make the training budget work.
"When you have a streamlined and prioritised approach to delivery you can ascertain what outsourcing is needed'." says former CFO Gillian Sheran.
Using an external provider rather than employee expertise can give you alternative best practice approaches to development content and creates an impartial delivery method. This then leads to the bigger question of whether a Managed Learning Service can do the sourcing and training administration on your behalf and free up your employees' time to focus on more strategic goals – something we call ‘Outsourcing your Weaknesses’.
|Annie Ives is a Senior Consultant with Goodfoot, and has solid experience building powerful ROI cases for L&D spend in multi-nationals.|
Rule number 1 of outsourcing is to identify a potential providers evidence to demonstrate a proven track record of a ROI from their training delivery. To me, if they can't give you examples or evidence of this or just stare blankly into space then I would question their motivations! So do shop around – there are hundreds of training providers in the market place and all will offer something different. Speak to half a dozen and compare their training suggestions against your needs. An easy way to do this is create a list of questions you want answered and create a standard way for providers to quote so you can easily compare the information you received.
I guess in essence we all know that an effective, well planned learning & development department will think outside the box in utilising their training spend. My advice is to ensure your justification for your spend, so data, consistency, spend awareness, and effective training is a good starting point!