It’s natural to look for opportunities to save your company money — especially in tumultuous times, budget relief is always welcome. But when considering making these cuts in training, it pays to be careful.
Simply deciding to reduce the amount of training you offer isn’t a feasible solution. The benefits you’d be losing, from improved day-to-day performance to better morale, would offset the savings. Instead, your best move is to be strategic about saving money, keeping the same number of courses, or even increasing your range of offerings, but changing the way lessons are delivered.
Consider Your Training Budget
Before making moves to save money, it’s important to inspect how much you’re spending now, and where those funds are going. According to the Training Magazine Training Industry Report 2020, companies spend an average of $1,111 per learner on educational materials.
Interestingly, the businesses that spend the most on their staff are not the biggest businesses. The report discovered small businesses commit an average of $1,678 to training each learner, while the figure is $924 at bigger organizations. Midsize companies are not in the middle on average training budget, spending the least at $581 per learner.
The types of programs and materials companies are spending on tends to differ by industry, with categories including salary for trainers, travel expenditures, the development of training courses or the purchase of external materials.
The divisions between types of companies and their focus areas can be stark, even among relatively similar businesses. For example, large-scale retailers and wholesalers remain committed to buying learning tech tools, while smaller companies in retail spend significantly less.
Though different types of companies differ markedly on the parts of employee education programs they spend most heavily on, they all had to reckon with the same disruptive force in 2020, in the form of the coronavirus pandemic. Some categories of training spend, such as travel and in-person seminar fees, suddenly became untenable.
As Forbes contributor Ulrik Juul Christiansen noted in the very beginning of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, March 2020, companies were forced to experiment with virtual learning alongside large-scale remote work. Every business, from the smallest to the largest, had to grapple with training amid in-person gathering restrictions, and they turned to remote learning platforms.
One interesting takeaway from this forced shift in priorities: The more efficient and virtually focused training models adopted in 2020 could stay around even once companies return to some level of normalcy in the years ahead. In fact, this digital acceleration may be the key to cutting your training spend.
Deliver Training in More Efficient Forms
Reaching your increasingly remote workforce via video-based, interactive online training may be the budget-conscious approach that will let you simultaneously cut costs and keep the quality of learning high in 2021 and beyond. The fact that the move to digital platforms has already received the high-pressure stress test created by pandemic conditions shows learners and companies are ready to change their routines.
The budgetary opportunities brought on by video-based training take several distinct forms, including:
The Ability to Reach a Global Workforce without Extra Expenditures
Hosting in-person training is a relatively simple matter for organizations with one headquarters. For everyone else, issues arise. Whether transporting remote employees to attend the sessions or arranging multiple events across various offices, the travel costs add up quickly.
Online courses, on the other hand, can reach everyone with no added cost. With some organizations finding that coronavirus-era remote work arrangements are worth pursuing indefinitely, this is a highly relevant opportunity.
Customized Curriculum Options and the Possibility of Self-Guided Learning
When lessons are distributed as videos on a digital learning platform, you have more freedom regarding which modules are viewed by which employees. This enables you to create self-guided optional learning offerings for your team members.
Such an a-la-carte training approach can be an incentive to modern employees seeking to independently deepen their knowledge of important and relevant subject areas. Their increased productivity and greater satisfaction may in turn have a significant positive impact on your budget, as each employee can make more valuable contributions and there is less need to lead costly searches for replacements.
Economical Onboarding Training for New Hires
Bringing new employees into your organization is another scenario in which a digital training approach has major financial advantages. Organizing in-person, instructor-led training sessions for groups of new employees represents a major investment. When making gradual hires and using in-person training sessions, you have to choose between spending for a session that only serves a few people or making them go for months without instruction.
The need for onboarding and new-hire instruction is especially pressing when the subject in question is a matter of safety or compliance. With more states requiring anti-harassment training for new employees, there is a need to bring these workers up to speed quickly. Combine this with the safety training demanded by OSHA and other agencies, and it becomes clear how onboarding training could become a major expense without the flexibility and availability of on-demand digital training modules.
Save Money by Modernizing Your Training Approach
One of the most compelling reasons to commit to greater use of digital, video-based training is this approach allows you to meet two goals simultaneously. Modernization and savings go hand-in-hand when they involve greater use of online learning platforms. Today’s workforces, geographically scattered and with differing schedules, are largely incompatible with the traditional, instructor-led model of employee education, pushing your company naturally toward the savings of digital training.
It’s simple to get started with training modernization. After all, the ability to easily shape online course offerings to learners’ needs is one of the primary benefits of digital employee education. Once you have set up those initial offerings and determined any further needs for additions or adjustments, those too are easy to implement. A more cost-effective approach to training and development is within reach, and the evolution promises to be natural and accessible.