Learning and Development

Lean Times, Strong Learning: A Short Guide

Discover powerful strategies for organizations navigating lean budgets and small teams in 2024, unlocking the keys to building a robust learning culture through cost-effective methods, turning limitations into opportunities for substantial growth.

Lean Times, Strong Learning: A Short Guide
Courtney Ritchie
December 13, 2023
Lean Times, Strong Learning: A Short Guide

For so many organizations 2024 looks like the year to rebuild, restructure, and operating on lean Learning & Development team and budget.  Leveraging strategies to build a true learning culture on small budgets and the backs of even smaller teams, seems a daunting task to so many in this space.

And it doesn’t have to be.

There exist simple, cost-effective methods accessible to all, which, if utilized strategically, can outweigh the impact of expensive, checkbox-style learning programs.

Embracing these inexpensive yet powerful approaches open doors to expansive learning landscapes. It's about leveraging these resources smartly, transforming limitations into opportunities for substantial growth.

1. Assess Expertise and Gaps:

What: Identify internal strengths, pinpoint unique organizational knowledge, and determine areas needing improvement.

How: Employ cost-effective tools like SurveyMonkey or MS Forms to pulse survey employees on critical skills and factors enhancing their work engagement.

Avoid: Steering clear of overly open-ended questions to ensure actionable data without overwhelming variations.

Bonus: Conduct separate surveys for leaders and individual contributors for a comprehensive view of skill gaps and leadership disparities.

2. Insourcing for Unique Expertise:

What: Drive internal expertise utilization through knowledge sharing and mentorship programs.

How: Leverage assessment outcomes to partner internal experts with sponsored training/mentoring initiatives for diverse groups.

Avoid: Preventing reliance solely on experts by providing structured templates, fostering creative autonomy within set parameters.

Bonus: Engage upper-level executives and C-Suite members for impactful employee training and guest speaking events.

3. Outsource Non-Core Skills:

What: Engage third-party providers for leadership or advanced training.

How: Identify reputable specialists like Learnit for tailored skill training, aligning their expertise with specific organizational needs.

Avoid: Avoid relying blindly on external providers; promote collaboration between external trainers and internal experts.

Bonus: Foster collaboration between external trainers and internal subject matter experts for a holistic learning experience.

4. Implement Continuous Learning Culture:

What: Foster an ongoing learning culture within the organization.

How: Establish forums, discussion groups, or regular sessions using collaborative tools like MS Teams or Slack for knowledge exchange.

Avoid: Don't assume occasional events suffice for fostering continuous learning; embrace a consistent learning environment.

Bonus: Empower employees to lead their learning through supported self-directed initiatives.

5. Evaluate, Adjust, and Network:

What: Measure training effectiveness, adjust strategies, and continuously improve.

How: Define clear metrics, use feedback mechanisms to refine strategies without overcomplicating data collection.

Avoid: Steer clear of overly complex feedback mechanisms that delay program launches; focus on actionable data.

Bonus: Encourage ongoing connections with industry experts or peers for continuous learning beyond formal sessions.

About the Author: Courtney Ritchie is a seasoned executive learning professional with over 15 years of experience in driving learning and development initiatives within organizations. As an integral member of the team at Learnit, she is passionate about collaborating with businesses to build and grow effective learning programs and foster a culture of continuous learning. Her expertise in the field of corporate learning and development makes her a valuable asset in creating impactful learning solutions that drive business success.