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How To Train Your Team On Zero Budget

Originally posted: March 21, 2012 on TrishMcFarlane.com

One thing I am routinely told by leaders of various levels is that they do not have the budget in their organization to train their team members.  This statement comes from leaders who work at companies of various sizes and from several industries.  With the economic outlook unstable, many organizations are still not able to focus significant dollars on training.  What we do know is that if employees are not offered continuing development, they will not:

  • feel valued
  • be able to provide creative, innovative results
  • grow their skills so they can progress to the next level in the organization

In fact, companies who do not offer training opportunities often find that they have significant retention issues.

If you are a leader and have little to no training budget, there are ways to offer development to your team members by taking advantage of free,  online resources.  Here are some ideas of how to offer development with zero budget:

  • Leader as a trainer-  As the leader of the team, your plate is likely quite full.  However, if you can commit to routinely carve out time so that you personally train your team, they will respond positively to your commitment.  For me, this may mean training my team on coaching skills, communication, writing, presentation skills or even “how to” sessions on human resources and social media platforms.
  • Conference session replays–  Most industries have numerous conferences and today, these conferences are beginning to offer  either live session streaming (for free) or recorded replays of conference sessions.  One tactic I use is to ask each team member to watch a different session then report back to the rest of the team at an upcoming meeting with information on the session and the key learning points.  If it seems valuable to the larger group, it can than easily be added to each person’s development plan.
  • Podcasts-  With sites like BlogtalkRadio.com and other online podcast resources it is easy to find industry-related podcasts that take thirty minutes to an hour.  Since many employees listen to music at work, why not encourage them to listen to a podcast then come together as a team for a brief discussion on the topic?  It’s a great way for them to share ideas and opinions and learn from each other and you.
  • Articles-  Information abounds on the internet, so take advantage.   Find several articles and assign one to each employee.  Give them a week to read the article and come up with some talking points for the team to discuss.  Again, it opens up discussion and sharing of ideas.
  • Book Reviews–  Possibly the most “old school” approach to personal training, but still entirely effective if used properly.  Most leaders have a bookshelf full of leadership and business books.  Why not ask each team member to take one and summarize the key learning points of the book?  That team member can then become a discussion leader on that book topic at an upcoming team meeting.

Team learning is about opening people up to talking about issues and how to find new approaches.  By giving the nudge on different ways to find current information, you will encourage individual and team development and even with little or no budget,  you and the organization will reap the benefits of better retention and more energized, educated staff.

What tactics do you use with your team?

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