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How to Save Money on Training

It seems so simple. Just take a financial short cut. Then show your boss how much money you saved. But some of these short cuts prove to be costly. They fail to deliver what you want. Or they open up expensive problems.

Here’s how to accomplish real savings on your training program. 1) Use a live instructor. Adults learn best by doing, practicing, and experiencing. Effective instructors customize their programs to meet people’s needs, provide counsel on individual challenges, and respond to questions. Videos, CDs, and E-learning are seldom effective for primary learning.

Since the greatest cost of learning is the payroll cost of the participants, you want to make sure the program delivers results. 2) Hire external experts. They can speak candidly about crucial issues related to complex work skills. They are free of prior encounters with your staff. And they bring a fresh, outside perspective based on a worldwide view (instead of an internal one). Those who specialize in one skill area have developed extensive knowledge. Ideally, choose one who has written books or published articles. 3) Include accountability. Work with the instructor to develop a review and reminder process. Plan follow-up sessions to check on progress applying new techniques.

Ask your staff to select one change that they plan to make and describe how they will apply it. Then monitor the application of changes being made. Include learning as a dimension in performance reviews. 4) Support learning. If you’re the boss, set an example of active learning. Attend the workshop. Then use what you learned. Encourage others to apply the new skills and reward those who make a special effort to do so. Also, recommend articles, books, and other materials that support the training program. Create a work culture that recognizes learning as the key to excellence.

5) Buy smart. Match the type of program with desired skills. Use employees for proprietary operations, routine procedures, and high volume (more than 50 sessions/year) tutorials. Select programs that teach skills required to meet company goals. Buy programs that show practical techniques (instead of facts and trivia) delivered by experts who use what they teach.


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