Sign up for our next LinkedIn Live to discover how to shift your focus from a compliance-first to a learner-first approach!

| 6 min read

How to stand up for your L&D budget

You shouldn’t have to, but there may come a time that you need to prove L&D is worth investing in. This article will help you do just that.

Cassie Gasson Chief Marketing Officer

Laptop with budget sheet next to it

Times are tough, it’s no secret. With the world looming into a recession and uncertainty in all markets, it’s a time of reflection and gathering for a lot of departments, not just L&D. As businesses scrutinise budget sheets and sign off becomes more complicated, it’s a good time to dive into how you can defend your budget, and make sure that L&D investment doesn’t dip during the coming months.

Maintain morale

Who’s going to successfully pull your organisation through this time of uncertainty and most likely, business transformation?

Great leaders. Highly ambitious and motivated teams. The best sales people. The most engaged customer service teams. And there is no better way to empower your teams and increase workplace engagement than through investing in their personal development. 

In fact, Gallup did a huge meta study of businesses across the globe and found that those with higher workplace engagement had way better business outcomes, with the benefits listed as including larger profits, higher productivity, lower turnover and 20% increases in sales.

Invest in people and they will perform better, regardless of economic circumstances. It’s something we do at THRIVE and will continue to do, and that’s the reason we are able to change the L&D game in the way we do.

Frame L&D in terms of retention

L&D plays a pivotal role in retaining and improving current talent in an organisation, and during tough economic times, that can be an invaluable asset to so many businesses. Professional development is so important to employees that 94% of them said they would stay at their company longer if the company committed to supporting their development. 

It’s no secret that hiring a new employee costs exorbitantly more than retaining and developing a current one (so much so that it was a core section of our last blog), so L&D can make a smart play by framing their role as reducing turnover and helping businesses go into a holding pattern. 

In fact, a platform like THRIVE often only has to reduce turnover rate by 1% to be cost effective, so even L&D tech stack can be highlighted as important retention tools, and help you avoid having your platform taken away whilst still being expected to produce the same output.

Highlight reskilling and use examples

I promise we will stop talking about reskilling and upskilling as soon as all of the problems around workplace skills go away, so buckle in. A shrinking economy doesn’t mean that the reskilling problem is going to go away, as technology and progress marches on unabated. 

New skills will still be sought after and needed by almost all organisations, and L&D has a unique opportunity in the current market to help businesses develop these in-house, rather than spending fortunes on expensive hiring processes. 

It’s important that when/if you are pitching this idea, you use real world examples. “Reskilling” and “upskilling” are in serious danger of being branded with the “buzzword” categorisation, so take real examples from your company and show how L&D can help fill those gaps. 

Does your company struggle with data collection and storage? Show how L&D can train these critical skills into your current IT or Data team.

Is your company’s sales dropping? Make a pitch around how sales enablement training can affect revenue and prove it. 

As much as we love it, don’t let development exist in a bubble. Get stuck in, talk to other teams and see how you can help, and the impact and worth of L&D will reveal itself pretty quickly!

Prove ROI of your training initiatives

Talking of proving worth, let’s talk about ROI! 

The very utterance of ROI has very mixed receptions among the L&D community. Some of you reading this will be intrigued and some will have a natural recoil to the idea of reducing L&D down to a budget figure. But in tough times, proving positive ROI can be an absolute lifeline for defending your budget.

Getting started calculating ROI can be tough for L&D teams, and whilst services like the Data Lab help, it’s hard to pack all that value into one post, so we settled for an old fashioned bullet point list to get you started: 

  • Tie training initiatives to real world changes in your organisation. Did you run a health & safety training initiative? Check whether workplace incidents have fallen since that training! Proving organisational change is the first step to proving ROI.
  • Do a deep dive on your company’s hiring costs. If you think the hiring costs look high, find a way that you could prove L&D worth by substituting some of that external hiring with internal promotion and reskilling. This is a really easy and effective way to help your business cut costs without having to resort to methods like downsizing.
  • Calculate your turnover costs, find a solid learning and skills platform (hint hint) and calculate how much that platform would have to reduce your turnover to be cost effective. This is a fantastic way to be data driven in your platform decision making, and highlighting and tracking these KPIs can be a huge help when it comes to getting that final budget sign off.

Emphasise L&D as a need-to-have rather than a nice-to-have

We know that times like these can be scary and stressful. But if there was ever a good time to invest in people development and training, it's now. They're the ones that will help us thrive in a time where lots are just looking to survive...

If you want to talk to one of our expert team about how THRIVE is helping L&D teams prove ROI and optimise their upskilling efforts, you can book a quick demo today to get in touch!

Latest from the blog

Innovation and inspiration

7 steps to prioritising your L&D tasks

Modern L&D professionals have to be agile to deliver results against business objectives. Learn how to prioritise your tasks for maximum impact.

Matt Bristow Digital Marketing Specialist

Try it out for yourself

Get started and see how your employees can thrive.

Get Learning & Skills Platform demoGet Content Club demo