No company can survive without recruiting, retaining, and training top talent. But building a team of rock stars gets expensive quickly. Instead of blowing your budget on expensive training, take advantage of affordable options to keep your crew on the cutting edge.
Employees today expect employers to invest in their development. According to LinkedIn and Lynda, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if the company invested in their careers. Fortunately, you don’t need to break the bank or sacrifice quality in other areas to meet these expectations.
Here are ways to give your employees the resources they need without going over budget:
1. Take advantage of certification and managed training services.
Some people learn well on their own, but many need guidance. Companies like IBEX offer client-site training to make it possible for employees to train in groups. Group training saves companies more money than individual offsite trainings. IBEX mostly covers IT and project management topics; if your company has different needs, do a little digging to find opportunities in your industry. Richardson, for example, offers in-depth instructor-led courses for sales.
2. Check out nearby conferences.
Can’t afford to send everyone to the big dance every year? Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, you have plenty of options when it comes to relevant conferences. Many smaller conferences offer more intimate environments. This enables your developers, salespeople, marketers, HR professionals, and managers to rub shoulders and take in valuable lessons. Of course, local gatherings tend to be much cheaper as well.
3. Establish a mentorship program.
Your in-house experts are full of knowledge. Without a formalized mentorship program, though, your new recruits may not get the chance to absorb that information. Create a mentorship program to pair tenured employees with greener ones for hands-on education. Reward mentors who step up to pass on their knowledge and engage the next wave of workers. Don’t, however, force people into the role. Some of your best workers may not be natural-born teachers, and that’s fine. Keep it simple and risk-free to ensure maximum participation.
4. Bring in local experts.
Your company has plenty of experts, but your employees know most of them already. Speeches from bosses often feel more like obligations than privileges. Instead of preaching to the choir, invite other area leaders to speak to your teams. You’ll have to offer the same in exchange, naturally. Exposing teammates to new ideas from people who’ve been successful in other industries broadens their horizons. It also showcases the value of cooperation.
5. Take advantage of free classes and lectures.
Many universities post classes from world-class professors and leaders for free. The edX program, founded by Harvard University and MIT, offer access to lectures and course materials on a variety of topics. Your employees may not want to learn the fundamentals of neuroscience or contract law. But even the most basic courses can contribute to your company’s success. Courses on entrepreneurship, for instance, can help employees think about their work in a different light.
6. Start an office book club.
The team that reads together leads together. Invite team members to participate in a book club. This will expose the group to new ideas and encourage productive conversations. Try not to steer these gatherings too far toward your own preferences. Instead, let others suggest books, and give the floor to employees who take initiative. You may not want to follow every book’s lessons, but exposure to more philosophies will help your team make better decisions with greater context.
Bonus: Give your teammates the time they need.
Your employees can’t make the most of the resources you provide if you ask them to train off the clock. Work to establish training priorities and schedules, then let them use work time to meet them. This ensures employees don’t have to worry about distractions, making the most of your investment.
Affordable training solutions tend to be more group-focused and intimate than expensive trainers. This often makes them excellent team-building tools, as well as educational opportunities. When your employees work side by side with you and other company leaders as they grow, they’ll see your investment in their future firsthand.