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4 Ways To Train Key Staff Without Spending A Fortune

The first thing that gets slashed with a tight corporate budget is the need to train people. This training is necessary to help them perform their jobs better. It’s too easy to think of corporate training as an unnecessary expenditure.

A company that is willing to slash training funds is choosing to fall behind its competitors. It requires knowledge and skills to stay competitive in today’s technologically advanced societies.

We live in a knowledge era. By depriving people of the knowledge they need to do their jobs well, your business as a whole will suffer. It will experience a marked drop in productivity.

Knowledge in today’s business world is power. Knowledge is key to running an efficient and effective organization. When guided by wisdom, power is profit.

The size of the budget does not have to be a constraint. It’s possible to provide staff with the knowledge they need to perform well. Here are 4 ways to lower the cost of training:

Training With A Limited Training Budget

1. Use a Learning Management System

Learning Management Systems (LMS) automate the learning process through the use of software. It’s not always necessary to hire high-fee subject experts to teach classes. Electronic coursework can serve as a great source for learning as well.

The ideas behind digital learning is not new. In fact, it has been gaining momentum over the past two decades.

It replaces the need for a live teacher  to create a curriculum. It is not necessary to have someone to organize classes, manage behavior, and grade. Powerful software can do most of this work. The software uses a digital structure linked to a composite database. It can be set up to make, follow, supervise, and distribute learning materials.

In fact, the idea of job training using computers has worked so well that it is now a ten billion dollar industry.

Pricing models vary,  but they can include a low, flat fee pricing structure.

2. Develop In-house Trainers

Corporate education can be expensive because of the cost of hiring a subject expert. Another cost can be renting out space to hold the classes.

Your company may have many senior executives who have a wealth of knowledge. This knowledge is not just book learning, but acquired over many years of being in the field. By training them to be trainers, you can groom your own internal trainers.

As for class room space, it’s possible to reconfigure common meeting places. You can use open spaces in the office to set up temporary classes. For instance, after working hours, the break room can serve as a classroom.

Trainers need not stand in front of a classroom, either. They can also serve as business coaches or mentors. They can work with departments or one-on-one with employees.

3. Try Action Learning

Action learning improves job performance. It promotes better ways of learning. There is not a singular way of action learning, but different theories on how to do it.

Here is a 6 step protocol for implementing action learning:

  1. Ask powerful questions.
  2. Practice active listening.
  3. Share and learn as a group.
  4. Reflect on lessons.
  5. Take action on what you have learned.
  6. Assess group and individual development.

Action learning is not a new idea but has deep roots in corporate education. According to itapintl.com, a website for ITAP International, a consulting firm specializing in human capability: “Action learning, as a concept, dates back more than 50 years. It has, until recently, received more interest and attention outside the United States. Its roots can be traced to action research, a concept and term originated by the German psychologist, Kurt Lewin, in the 1940s…. Reginald W. Revans, of England, originally an astrophysicist, pioneered the concepts related to action learning over more than 50 years ago.”

4. Implement Job Shadowing

Another popular on-the-job training method is job shadowing.

In job shadowing you work with another employee who has a different type of job. By following them around as they do their work, you learn how they do their job.

This is useful under the following circumstances:

As a way to train new employees.
As a way to learn about available options in career development.
As a way to develop a new skill
As a way to develop leadership

Avoid Unexpected Problems

Deciding not to train staff in essential job skills is a self-sabotaging policy.

Unexpected problems can arise in many ways. Here are four possible scenarios:

  1. Untrained employees may make expensive mistakes. For instance, they may use machines in the wrong way. This can either lead to them having an accident or breaking the machine.
  2. Untrained employees may work in a slow and inefficient way because they don’t know any better. Over time, this may hurt company-wide productivity rates
  3. A company may bypass certain important work because there is no-one to do it. This may result in customer dissatisfaction, lost revenue, or competitors gaining a market advantage.
  4. A company may do things manually when automation would speed things up. This may cause a tremendous waste of time and effort. In time, a company will fall behind its competitors who are using automation.