Even as the competition for talent is at a high in today’s market, businesses can no longer afford to try an endless array of learning and development programs. As HR and L&D leaders focus on retaining and promoting the talent they have, here’s how you can do more with less, shares Omer Glass, co-founder and CEO of GrowthSpace.

In today’s economy, business leaders are being challenged to do more with less, and human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals face a new set of challenges. While companies cut their budgets in this down market and feel the effects from The Great Resignation, the national employment rate continues to increase. The resulting war for talent makes it imperative that companies invest in and retain their people — and do so wisely.

Historically, L&D has been a bit of a free-for-all. Budgets were flowing freely and it was possible to offer entire organizations L&D workshops, subscriptions to learning management systems (LMSs) and experiment with a variety of other programs. It took a while to realize that only a small portion of the organization even accessed the programs offered. And there wasn’t a good way to measure effectiveness aside from asking employees if they were satisfied with the program.

Ever-tightening budgets mean that every penny must be spent wisely. As companies trim their workforce, a heavier load is falling on the shoulders of the remaining team members. And amid today’s talent wars, hiring replacements is harder and more costly. It’s never been more important to invest in training and developing your existing workforce and new hires. Here are some ways you can deliver valuable training programs for less.

Shift From Quantity to Quality

It’s important to first define which outcomes you want to drive and then focus your investments on achieving those goals. For example, if your primary focus is to retain high-potential employees (HiPos), top talent and managers, it may not make sense to spread your training program across the entire organization. You could instead dedicate your shrunken budget to implementing programs that will service those high value team members who will stay and grow with your company.

Implement the Data Driven L&D Methodology

Understanding your own goals is central to making wise investments. For example, GrowthSpace helps its customers with a focused methodology that identifies and defines which programs are most beneficial based on the target audience and business goals. Programs chosen without thoughtful consideration won’t service your business. This is where “POP” comes in. POP is an acronym for population, outcome, program and includes these steps:

  1. Define which population or target audience you want to focus on to drive impact. That could be, for example, high potentials, first and second level managers, underrepresented workers or sales managers.
  2. Once you’ve identified your target, define the desired outcomes for the specific population, for example: reducing attrition or making progress in your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy.
  3. The program is the tool that delivers the specific outcome desired for this specific population.

Connect L&D To Your Company’s ROI

As we lean into the challenges of 2023, everyone in the L&D space must be more focused, precise and connected to return on investment (ROI). Only three years ago, businesses were booming and budgets were flowing. Today is another story. When considering new training programs, chief financial officers expect L&D leaders to sell their ideas by presenting their anticipated ROI.

L&D has become an imperative voice in the decision-making process and C-suite has begun to recognize this. When deciding where to invest your L&D budget, you must consider how the programs can drive impact in a quantifiable way. This will empower you to walk into c-suite confidently able to prove impact on whatever organizational business metrics are key priorities.

By putting measurement at the heart of their programs, L&D can demonstrate measurable value and impact from their training programs. This can help secure resources to grow company-wide L&D initiatives. Not only will you be able to do more with less in your efforts to retain and grow your workforce, but with quantifiable ROI you can show concrete value for the entire business.