Maximising Your Learning and Development Budget in 2021

happy learning and development manager

In 2020, COVID-19 changed life at work for millions of people overnight. Many quickly had to adjust habits to stay productive and collaborative while working from home and for some, budgets were frozen or reduced. The question was raised, how will you continue to support your people through uncertain times?

Many companies pride themselves on how well they support their employees with a generous professional development budget—and they should, as the Association for Talent Development (ATD) found that companies that offer comprehensive training programs have a 218% higher income per employee than companies that don’t. They also have a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training.

And while spending part of your learning and development (L&D) budget on formalised training programs is a great idea, there’s a way you can be smart about using the talent you already have on your team. In other words, don’t let all of your L&D budget be spent on external resources; leverage the experience you already have, in-house.

Mentoring for L&D

Whereas training programs can be great for learning hard skills, a mentor can help guide self-driven learning and teach the skills that are not so easily acquired: soft skills. From negotiation and public speaking to organisation and management chops, your experienced team members may be the best people to impart these to other employees.

In order to leverage these people who are already a part of your company, your organisation can implement a mentoring program cost-effectively for a fraction of your L&D budget. For example, the cost of the Mentorloop mentoring platform is a slither of most organisations’ professional development budgets, opening the door for a huge reward.

Why Mentoring?

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)’s Learning and Development Survey, coaching and/or mentoring is seen as one of the most effective approaches, as are ‘in house development programmes’ which usually include a large coaching element. The survey also found that some examples of situations where coaching/mentoring is a suitable development tool include when it comes to:

  • Dealing with the impact of change on an individual’s role
  • Supporting an individual’s potential and providing career support
  • Helping competent technical experts develop better interpersonal skills
  • Developing a more strategic perspective after a promotion to a more senior role
  • Handling conflict situations so that they are resolved effectively

However, it’s important to note that coaching/mentoring isn’t suitable for everyone. If an individual lacks self-insight or is resistant to mentoring, for example, it may not be the appropriate intervention.

Therefore, it’s important that organisations assess individuals’ readiness for involvement in a mentoring program before they become active participants. Mentees must not only be ready and willing to be mentored, but they must also be motivated to achieve the desired outcome.

The Benefits

Mentees may go on to meet with their mentor and uncover a skill they want to work on, a conference they should go to, or an introduction to a client they might bring on board. This could mean more developed in-house talent, more exposure for the company, and even new business.

Ultimately, the costs of a formal mentoring program are far outweighed by the rewards.

And with Mentorloop’s competitive pricing, this means that any team leader can roll out mentoring to more people, for a much lower price – making a program more scalable and accessible for people at different levels of the organisation.

For comparison, a Mentoring Program with Mentorloop is 680 times cheaper than executive coaching and 373 times cheaper than an in-person training session.

With the average learning and development allowance for an individual employee sitting around $1200, why invest in a one-off experience when you could provide them with multiple life-changing connections for the cost of a coffee?

Maximise your learning budget by leveraging the talent that lies within your organisation. Encourage people to share knowledge and experience with one another for a powerful, engaged community. Build a culture of mentoring at your organisation, with Mentorloop.

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Emily Ryan

Em is our Marketing Manager at Mentorloop. That's a lot of 'm's! | She is passionate about crafting messages, crafternoons and craft beer.

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