If a company wants to sustain itself, innovation is key. Keeping on top of industry trends and making sure employees are familiar with how these trends inform best practices is essential to maintaining this innovation. But innovation isn’t free—researching new trends, attending workshops, and providing that training to a workforce takes a lot of time and money.
So what do companies that have limited quantities of those resources do to make sure their teams are always up to speed?
Businesses that can’t dedicate a lot of resources to training their employees can still innovate—they just need a solid plan. A needs assessment or training assessment should be the fulcrum of this plan. Needs assessments can be used for a variety of purposes, from discovering the productivity pain points of an employee’s daily schedule to isolating the root of possible problems with morale.
Essentially, a needs assessment helps create a target that the training will attempt to bullseye. Without this important step, a training program usually doesn’t get very far, and often results in wasted resources.
There are many ways to conduct needs assessments, and many of them are cost-effective. For companies that are struggling to understand the source of a morale problem or low productivity, using sites like surveymonkey.com to poll existing customers or employees can generate the relevant data that is needed to isolate the problems.
If an online survey comes across as overly detached, one to one interviews or focus groups can accomplish the same purpose. For a more comprehensive guide on conducting needs assessments, needsassessment.org offers some great ways to get started—and it’s totally free.
Once you’ve identified the problem, you can decide which training method works best within your budget. Today’s web-based trainings are increasingly mobile-friendly, which allows employees to access on-the-job training via their own mobile devices. It may even be worth considering a partnership with an independent training company if time is the resource that you happen to be short on.
Some companies offer custom training solutions that allow their clients more control over the process, and others offer access to more basic, pre-packaged learning management systems (LMS).
If an in-person or facilitator-led training is better suited to your employees’ needs, curriculum development should be at the forefront. Any resources that your company saves by having one of its own employees teach the relevant content to its audience should be allocated to curriculum design.
Again, this is something that a training company can offer, but if your company’s HR department has the means and expertise to conduct a facilitator-led training program, here are some things to keep in mind.
The blended approach to training, which combines the mobility of web-based training and the personal interaction of facilitator-led training, has also become a popular approach to training. Employees can spend some budgeted training time with online resources and then spend time with an instructor to discuss the content. Perhaps the greatest benefit with blended learning is its efficiency—learners can learn about the content that is most relevant to them and discuss it with an instructor.
Regardless of budget constraints, good training is still possible. With genuine concern for employee growth and a solid pre-training plan, companies can stretch their training budget further than they think.