5 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Launching an Employee Learning and Development Program

Encouraging employee learning is critical when it comes to building an engaged, sharp team. Discover 5 budget-friendly ways to get started today.

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In today’s work environment, equipping your employees with the skills they need to succeed at your company and in subsequent career steps is the key to numerous positive outcomes. First and foremost, when employees embrace a learning mindset, it’s more likely that they won’t tire of their jobs and roles. A learning mindset is the approach one takes when it comes to embracing new systems, processes and concepts. Rather than shying away from or dreading new material, those who embrace the challenge are those who work with a learning mindset. The great news about zeroing in on employee learning and development is that there are plentiful resources to get you started that can suit your team size, budget, and time restraints.

Why does employee learning matter?

Constantly honing your skills (be they tactical or soft) is the ticket to staying sharp in our fast-paced world. As an employer, when you provide the opportunity to do so, you signal prioritization of your team’s growth. As a result of that? You will surely increase retention, enhance commitment, and nurture morale at your office.  Remember, culture is a living, breathing thing, and it needs to be tended to just as any growing plant would.

When you’re encouraged to learn at work, it feels as though your outputs are constantly improving. It may take time for employees to absorb new processes, but once they’ve made it through that curve, their excitement and engagement will be palpable. For instance, when you encourage the employees on your Marketing team to take a collective course in analytics, you signal that you want to broaden knowledge around a particular area, and not silo that understanding to one team or individual. Gone are the days of one track skill sets – to stay relevant, marketable and ahead of the workplace curve, it’s imperative that modern employees today take full advantage of modern learning opportunities.

This might sound like a daunting project, but we promise you it can be easy (and very fun!). Here are 4.5 ideas to get you started on building an employee learning and development program at your company.

  • Crowdsource your team. To get started, send out a survey to all employees that collects information on what they feel they’re experts on (it can be work and non-work related). For instance, Joe on finance might be a super savvy investor. Reach out to Joe and see if he would be interested in leading a personal finance club or meetup that connects employees out of typical work conversations. Or, you know Emma on engineering? She’s super savvy in python coding and is hoping to hone her manager skills by training others on her craft. Why not help her host a recurring lunch and learn where she goes through the basics of coding languages? By starting with your talented employee base and empowering them to be teachers, the positive effects abound. You’ll not only elevate those folks who are game to teach, but you’ll also promote a culture of learning. and connect employees who may not know one another yet. you elevate the status of your workers and make them feel excited to share with others. Secondly, you’ll openly promote a
  • Embrace E-Learning. In 2018, access to amazing amounts of educational information is ubiquitous. E-learning through platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Degreed are available at a wide variety of price ranges and subscription levels. Knowledge = power, so why not give your team more of it by encouraging them to opt into a course that could enhance their work performance?
  • Offer a learning stipend. While this option depends on your Learning and Development budget, it’s a great option for teams building a development-oriented workplace. Encourage your team to purchase books, download an e-course, or event attend a local seminar that will stimulate their curiosity in an area of their choice. The options are endless!
  • Promote event attendance. After a quick Google session, you might be surprised about how many virtual events (and in person) can be found in your city that relates to your work. Whether your an engineer, content marketer, or HR superstar, check out meetups and focus groups where your team can connect with folks outside of office walls and get their juices flowing.
  • Play Hot-Potato. If any of the above are too time intensive for your business now, we recommend hosting a TedTalk Tuesday. Assign one team member to choose a favorite talk, then set up a recurring meeting every Tuesday afternoon to watch one as a group. The content can be work-related or not, but allow it to simulate a conversation that you might not typically have. While this is a lightweight exercise, it’s powerful and productive to get your team away from their keyboards and switch gears to different material once in a while.

By embracing and supporting a culture of learning, the change in office morale and employee development will be palpable. Study after study demonstrates that engaged employees are the most productive employees, so why not get started today on learning with your team?

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