Do you have trouble achieving everything you want in your L&D department with the budget you currently have? If you answered yes to this question you are in the vast majority. With the current lean times continuing longer than most companies expected, very few L&D budgets are being increased after the cuts over the last few years (CIPD 2013).

With expectations and costs increasing however, how do you keep hitting targets with what you have got? Here is our list of 7 things you can do to make your training budget go further.

Plan

As the old saying goes, failure to plan is planning to fail. Working on an ad-hoc basis may well seem like the easier way to do things but it is also a more expensive way of doing things. Rather than booking the same course for 7 different delegates throughout the year as they ask for them, why not plan ahead at the start of the year and organise an in-house date to save some money on travel and accommodation. Larger bookings will also give you a much stronger position to negotiate discounts – and the in-house course will also be able to be more tailored for your company’s needs. Carrying out a Training Needs Analysis is something that we at Optimus highly recommend as you can plan the most cost effective route to achieving all that you want to do throughout the year.

Prioritise

Another thing planning allows you to do is prioritise. By preparing a long list of all the requirements you would like to fulfil throughout the year, you can rank the list according to how much you actually need each of the requirements. This way you can make sure that you have the money you need to purchase compulsory training like regulation health and safety or new software training and you haven’t spent your entire budget on training that isn’t so imperative. Make sure you get the high priority training done nice and early so you can rest soundly knowing you aren’t going to be up the creek later on in the year.

Delegate

Your time is something people often forget is included in their budget. If you save time on things, you are saving money for more training. So don’t be afraid to delegate internally. Often, separate department heads can gather simple, yet time consuming information for their staff training requirements. Delegates middle names, dates of birth and other information can be quick for them to chase up but can save you a lot of time. So if there is low value but necessary tasks that can be done by other departments, don’t be afraid to ask them!

Budget Stretching

Outsource

You can also delegate your tasks to external companies. Managed Learning Services like us are able to take over all booking administration, requirements searches and changes and cancellations so that you can again save time and concentrate your time on saving costs elsewhere with larger strategic decisions. So don’t be afraid to ask for help, as by partnering with such companies you gain all of their knowledge, skills and experience which can save you a considerable amount of money.

Price Comparison and Negotiation

Marketplaces are more open than ever nowadays with price comparison sites present for most products meaning consumers who put in the effort are experiencing massive savings. The training market is no different and very few courses will have a standard price across the board – so don’t just purchase the first training you come across. Shop around and find the best fit for you and your organisation – which doesn’t actually always mean the cheapest. Then use this knowledge to negotiate yourself the best price. Information is power in negotiation and some quotes from other providers is a fantastic way to drive down prices – remember training is big business, so they will want yours.

The cheapest option isn’t always the cheapest option

Although it can be tempting to go for the lowest price when faced with a choice, remember that if the quality of the training is poor, it will cost you a lot more in the long run. If the training is poor or irrelevant than you will have to purchase it again sometime down the road meaning you have wasted money on the actual training as well as the time wasted in booking it. So make sure you get some credible references, reliable figures such as pass rates and satisfaction rates as well as a guarantee to ensure the training does what is required.

Technology

Technology is your friend! L&D is positively booming at the moment with new learning apps, management systems and others. Although they may require an initial outlay, work out how much money it would save you to invest in such technologies – they may well save you money overall throughout the year! eLearning meanwhile is a fantastic way to avoid accommodation, travel and absent days costs, so is worthwhile considering. However the decision of which training delivery is the best for your situation is again something that shouldn’t be entirely based on cost.

So there you have it – 7 easy to implement tactics that if all used together and correctly, will allow you to stretch your budget further than you thought you could. With the external conditions not improving and out of your control, it is up to you to make the changes internally with the things you can control.

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