Why training matters now (and how to maximise your budget)
When times are tough economically, businesses have to identify ways to cut costs – and often, staff training is one of the first areas to be targeted.

The trouble is, the challenges of this environment also mean it’s more important than ever to deliver staff training in new and innovative ways.

In fact, 2 in 3 candidates are interested in upskilling, reskilling or retraining in the next 6 months and 37% of those have made that decision since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having a robust learning and development strategy means you’re supporting your staff when they need it most while also setting your business up to survive – and thrive – in turbulent times.

So, how can organisations find ways to deliver training on a leaner budget, and while navigating the impacts of COVID-19?

Robin Yarham, National Manager – Enablement at SEEK shares his insights.

Train your staff, prepare your business

Equipping teams for the challenges of this rapidly changing world of work is essential, Yarham says. “The way we work, interact and deliver what is expected has changed, and we need to think differently about the value we are going to provide in this new world,” he says. Yarham believes that upskilling and reskilling your staff will play a key role in bringing this to life.

“By continuing to optimise your workforce you’re not only maximising their potential in their current roles, but you are also positioning them to be on the front foot for possible deployment into other areas of the business, especially if there is a hiring freeze,” he says.

Keep your competitive edge

As well as helping teams to deal with current challenges, training can also give organisations an edge for the future.“It’s an exercise in future-proofing your organisation so that staff can adapt, use new technologies and retain that competitive advantage,” Yarham says.

According to Yarham, organisations should curate a strategy that develops employees’ emotional intelligence, resilience and adaptability. “By harnessing these strengths, businesses are also preparing for further disruptions down the track,” he says.

When thinking about how you want to train and develop your staff, there are three key areas you should focus on:

  •  What is being delivered
  •  Why it is being delivered
  •  What the desired outcomes are.

Attract and retain top talent

Training and professional development is a key driver in attracting and retaining a strong workforce. Without it, employee engagement can slip and morale can take a hit. Ensuring that employees feel valued can also help to prevent staff retention issues.

Yarham puts development under the same banner as things like flexibility, work-life balance and staff benefits. So, he says, if your business wants to ensure employee satisfaction, you can’t pick and choose which ones to focus on. “You need to put yourself in the chair of the employee and realise that all are equally vital,” he says.

Think outside the (training) box

The era of spending days in a classroom is over (for now), and businesses need to find alternative, cost-effective training solutions.

For example, one option is to leverage the free training offered by SEEK’s Customer Success Team. This may include support with job ad writing, Talent Search and sourcing strategies so that you can get the most out of SEEK.

As a starting point, Yarham advises businesses to leverage the technology they currently have “and fill the gaps by investing in some new tools that allow for online learning design and delivery.”

Tips for maximising your training budget:

Here are some of Yarham’s strategies for pushing your training budget further:

  • Ask external providers how much it would cost for them to deliver a 2-hour virtual session as opposed to a day in the classroom.
  • Create a series of “lunch and learns” where you can deliver in-house training and development informally while your staff eat their lunch. These help to foster a culture of sharing and collaborative learning.
  • Provide information through a series of learning and development emails, e-magazines, video conferences or even interactive PDFs.

Yarham says this forced transition isn’t an exercise in perfection. “It’s about putting new approaches in place, and evaluating and tweaking them along the way.”

AU Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK. Interviewing 4800 Australians annually