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Devising your L&D budget during a downturn

In a continuation of our series on prepping L&D for rough economic trends, we’re covering our top tips for creating your budget for the year ahead.

Helen Marshall Chief Learning Officer

I'm on a budget

When companies feel the brunt of reduced profits and tighter margins, they can fall into a holding pattern relying more strongly on traditional revenue generation departments like Sales and Marketing to fill the coffers. 

This can mean that your budget proposals are scrutinised, your campaign ideas have extra levels of sign off or your budget may shrink. 

Never fear, we are here to help you with your plan for the year, and give you some excellent advice on ways to weather the storm whilst still engaging your learners and delivering impactful training.

Set your L&D priorities 

Priorities are so important during a downturn. And when I say priorities, I mean your organisations. Set up meetings with the core teams and really try to learn the challenges they are facing, especially with reference to any economic impact. There’s a good chance that training and L&D campaigns can and will help alleviate some of these pain points, but only if you make it a priority.

There’s a concept that floats around on LinkedIn and various work forums of making yourself “unfireable”. Whilst the idea is pretty flawed, the concept is strong, and can applied to a department as well as an individual. Try and make yourself “uncuttable” by being a strong and data driven partner to the other departments in your organisation.

Making your L&D budget as effective as possible

Make. Every. Penny. Count. 

During a boom, it can be easy to slightly overpay for services, relax on your negotiation style or allow that tech subscription to run over by just one extra month. But under scrutiny, these are the kind of things that can end up as a real pain point when it comes to presenting or defending your L&D budget.

Make sure you have a clear idea of the expenses you have every month, organise these expenses in terms of necessity and look for ways to prune or consolidate some of the less necessary items, so that you can make sure every part of your budget is working towards the end goals you need.

How to optimise your L&D tech stack

We’ve written about the power of tech consolidation before, but it’s worth mentioning again here, because it’s that damn important. L&D spends way too much on tech, because they are buying too many tech products. Technology has got to the point now where you don’t need a separate platform for skills, comms, elearning, content and video broadcasts. All this and more can be achieved in one platform (cough, cough, ours) for one price that is lower than the cumulative cost of multiple platforms.

Buying a platform like THRIVE doesn’t just have consolidation benefits, it also enables you to deliver fantastic training virtually rather than relying on more costly in person training. You also get the added benefit of our inbuilt analytics suite, so you can see exactly what campaigns are performing and how you can optimise your efforts, which is almost impossible with in person or physical training materials.

How to measure L&D success during a downturn

Much like negotiating that raise you desperately want, having business success you can point to and say “that’s because of me” is an invaluable tool for defending the budget for L&D. Try to tie learning initiatives to real world business impacts, use simple and clear data to prove impact and ensure that comms are arranged so the value of L&D is clear. We’ve compiled a list of business impacts L&D can very feasibly create: 

  • Fewer workplace accidents
  • Fewer data breaches
  • Higher customer satisfaction scores
  • Increased workplace morale feedback
  • Increase in tracked skills amongst the workforce
  • Fewer customer complaints
  • Quicker dispute resolution
  • Increased mandatory training completion rate

These are just a few of the impacts you can aim to report on as part of your L&D budget KPIs. Setting and hitting KPIs is a sure way to guarantee budget for all departments and L&D is no different.

We hope you are doing well financially, physically, professionally and mentally during this really tough time and that this blog helps you craft a leaner, smarter and more effective L&D plan. 

If you want to check out more resources on helping L&D navigate this market downturn, you can read our blogs on the impact of tech bloat, and how to defend your budget today, or if you want to get in contact with our team of L&D experts today, you can book time directly in with us!

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