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Training & developing staff without spending much


Training and developing a workforce can be expensive. For example, the cost of sending one employee on a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course, which can last for up to 20 days, can be £5,000 upwards. And that doesn’t include paying the employee’s expenses, the loss of that employee in terms of productivity, or the cost of finding a replacement to cover their duties!

Not surprisingly, smaller businesses simply can’t afford to spend that kind of money training and developing staff. When a company is operating on a tight budget, spending on training and development is the first cost head to bite the dust. Instead, they have to find ways to get the job done without spending a fortune.

Statistical studies carried out in 2015 found that 21% of employees working for a UK organisation received less than 10 hours’ training. A further 22% received less than 20 hours’ training.

Training is a smart investment. An AAT study found that 40% of SMEs have lost employees to a larger organisation with better training and development opportunities. If you don’t invest in your employees, this could be you!

Not all training and development opportunities are equal. When employees were quizzed about training and development in a different study, more than half said they felt on-the-job training by peers and managers was highly effective for learning and development. By contrast, instructor-led training is less effective, and yet this is the go-to type of training that many organisations opt for – even though it’s more expensive.

The takeaway from this is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on intensive external training courses and pick up the bill for your employees living it up in a hotel for a week. There are plenty of different – and effective – ways to train staff for a minimal cost.

Peer-Led Training

As we have already mentioned, the best way to train staff is to conduct peer-led training sessions. More experienced employees are the best people to train new employees or more inexperienced members of the team. Conducting mini training sessions is an excellent way to build team morale and cohesion.

For example, if you are a fintech startup developing a forex trading app for investment bankers, you can have weekly training sessions where your experienced developers can help junior interns learn new skills.

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews and staff appraisals are often considered a time sap, but they can be incredibly useful. A quarterly performance review lets you monitor staff and develop them when necessary. They cost nothing, so don’t dismiss them as a big waste of time.

Mentoring Schemes

Mentors are people with plenty of experience in a specific field. They don’t need to come from within your organisation. There are mentoring schemes whereby individuals volunteer to advise and support others in their field of expertise. It’s an inexpensive way to develop and nurture team members.

Self-Directed Learning

The internet is a vast receptacle of knowledge. There are tons of self-led learning courses in every niche imaginable, including health & safety and IT, so look for e-learning courses to boost your employees’ knowledge. The great thing about e-learning courses is that they are flexible and can be studied in an employee’s own time.

Look for Free Courses

Free training courses are often available. For example, HMRC runs free courses on various aspects of PAYE, taxation, and VAT. Check what’s available with the appropriate professional body and send your staff to boost their knowledge and network at the same time.

Don’t forget to investigate funding opportunities. There are many grants and funding options available for SMEs.

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