Excel Formula That Will Calculate Amount Of Data In Range Cutting the Training Budget: How to Save Money in Lean Times

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Cutting the Training Budget: How to Save Money in Lean Times

This may not be the first time your CEO has cut your training budget and I’m sure it won’t be the last. If you already run a lean and mean training routine, congratulations on your efforts. However, you may find that your previous good management doesn’t slow down the CEO to shed some additional expenses on you. Whether you’ve optimized your training function in the past or feel you have a long way to go, here are ten practical steps you can take to weather any financial storm.

1. Provide more self-help workbooks and job aids.

Replace a few high-cost training sessions with materials and aids placed where people work. Laminated procedures, checklists, tips’n’tricks, lists of shortcut keys, prepared calculations, and so on, can be effective substitutes for full-blown training sessions. If someone is having difficulty handling angry customers or using Microsoft Excel, check out your local training publishers for self-paced workbooks.

2. Recruit local experts or trainers to take the place of some training sessions.

If people have some knowledge and skills on the subject, identify one or two local experts in each area to act as a central point for all questions. Ensure that the experts and trainers you nominate have the necessary communication and interpersonal skills.

3. Cut training sessions that do not add value to the organization.

Does your organization really need that persistence skills training course? What concrete benefits did your organization get from it? Skip courses that don’t show a demonstrable benefit to your organization. I’m not saying that these types of courses are never worthwhile. During difficult periods it is time to review whether they are of real benefit to your organization now.

4. Reduce participant contact time for face-to-face training.

If you outsource some of your training or hire outside contractors, cutting contact hours can save you direct costs. If you pay salaries to in-house trainers, participants will save on lost opportunity costs as they spend less time away from their jobs. Save time upfront by sending preliminary materials for attendees to review before they arrive. Save trailing time by hiring on-the-job assistants, setting up on-the-job coaches or hiring managers of participants to oversee on-the-job assignments and exercises.

5. Review and rationalize your list of training suppliers.

Where you use more than one training vendor for a course or range of courses, negotiate a better deal based on increased volume. A short list of suppliers also means that you are able to develop good quality business relationships with each one. For your other suppliers, use your best negotiating skills to drum up rates. Do your homework and shop around. In tough economic times, suppliers will be fine-tuned to not want to lose existing customers. If possible, don’t compromise on quality.

6. Review material costs and printing practices.

Find a more cost-effective printing house and consider using recycled, lightweight or less fancy paper. Print both sides of the paper, if you are not already doing so, for all learner and instructor materials. If possible, send softcopy versions of learning materials.

7. Replace original graphics with stock images.

If you pay for the services of expensive graphic designers or spend a lot on copyright graphics licenses, consider using stock images. There are many free and low-cost stock image websites now available with an expanding range of quality images.

8. Enroll employees in courses at local colleges and universities.

Some educational institutions provide high quality education. Find out what’s available in your area and compare it to your current offers. Federal and state governments subsidize some of the courses offered by such institutions, making such courses very cost effective.

9. Transfer seminars held to off-site conference centers.

This option may not prove popular with executives, but everyone needs to tighten their belts. You can save significant money on travel and accommodation by hosting the seminar locally or in-house.

10. Demonstrate how your training courses help achieve concrete organizational objectives.

Collect reliable and convincing data showing how the achievement of course learning outcomes delivers real benefits to the organization. How do your training programs contribute to lower error rates, more satisfied customers, higher turnover, or whatever else your executive team deems important? In some cases, you may need to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of a training program to prove the bottom-line value.

The above suggestions are not in any order of priority. Which activities you focus on will, of course, depend on your circumstances. I want to point out that the first nine tips above all go along with the idea that you need to tighten your belt during tough times and that the training ceremony is not sacrosanct. When you’re asked to cut costs, you and your training department will be more respected if you replace “Yes, but…” with “Yes, and what are we doing about it?”

The last suggestion uses a different approach. If you cut these training programs, the organization will actually lose money or lose many other valuable benefits. Of course, the two approaches are not mutually exclusive and can actually work in tandem. And don’t forget, we don’t need to be in the middle of a financial recession to ask to trim our training expenses. Put the ten pointers above in your bottom drawer, the next time your CEO comes to you with a pained look on his face.

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