The training budget is one of the first casualties in cost cutting. To a manger or razor wielding accountant, the benefits of training are somewhat intangible and in the future so it is a prime candidate to make the supreme sacrifice for the common good. However, paying for human resource is one of the biggest areas of expenditure in a business so it makes good business sense that people are developed and up-skilled through training. Still best to not let a compelling case for training get in the way of a quick accounting fix. The training budget is also one of the cost centres that receives some of the thinnest scrutiny on how it is disposed of and what value it has added to organisational success.
To assist budget managers who are keen to carry on the great tradition of disposing of training provision (that survives cuts) with the least amount of effort I have compiled the following is a list of seven easy ways to waste a training budget:
1. Throw money at training – that’s right what better way to demonstrate an organisations commitment to training than throw a big wad of cash at it and spend a lot more time trumpeting the investment than thinking about what it is spent on.
2. Buy ‘off the shelf’ training – a perfect way to keep it simple. We want to train on a topic, a google search shows a training package that covers that topic – result! – it’s a match. A great way to tick the achievement box with minimal effort.
3. Chase unit standards – if a training course has managed to reach certain NZQA unit standards then it has got to be good. Too bad that to tick off all the unit standard boxes the course content has strayed into areas that are not adding value. Who cares when so many staff are hanging out for the chance to add some more unit standard credits to their growing resume of achievement. Fill your boots – loading a stapler, answering the phone – there’s enough unit standards for everyone.
4. Train and hope – don’t waste time sweating over learning objectives and delivery platforms. Train and hope is a legitimate strategy. You’ve got a budget, you’ve found a course, away you go. There is always the chance that it is going to succeed in adding value down the track – be positive.
5. Jump onto the next big thing – It is like fad diets – everyone is doing it so we should as well. We don’t want to get left behind and miss out on this essential knowledge. What ever you do, don’t ask yourself the question – if we look back in five years time will we laugh about how we used to do training on this topic?
6. Free range training budget – why think too hard about training budgets when you can set it free and let it find its own way in the world. Let it roost with providers who are clever marketers, the most persistent or who are the friend of a friend.
7. Broaden you mind – reinvent what training means. Avoid the narrow focus on ‘up-skilling requirements’ and consider the possibility of networking options at dubious ‘conferences’ in sunny places or team building exercises in decadent surroundings. What better way to while away the training budget and keep everyone chilled out.
– Dave Griffith
© HR Development and Training Limited