3 Genius Ways to Stretch Your Offsite Learning Budget

by Debbie Shotwell | Posted | Culture

3 Genius Ways to Stretch Your Offsite Learning Budget

Feeling the pinch of budget shrink?

Then it's time to get creative when it comes to stretching your learning budget!

Many organizations already invest (and wisely so) in online, on-demand learning opportunities their people can take advantage of to develop in their careers and improve their individual, team and organizational performance. The return on investment (ROI) is clear.

But what about offsite, in-person learning opportunities, such as industry conferences, workshops or training boot camps?

Offsite training and conferences, like our upcoming customer conference Saba Insight 2018, can be exciting, engaging, fun ways for your people to learn from industry experts in a dynamic environment.

3 ways to stretch your offsite learning budget

And when it's all over? Sure, your people will head back to the office, ready to step up their own performance - but what about the rest of their team?

Let's be frank, not every organization has a robust learning or training budget. The good news is that there are simple - and genius! - ways to stretch your learning budget when it comes to offsite learning opportunities.

Get a year's worth of learning in just three days at Saba Insight 2018! Register today!

Here are three things you can do to stretch your learning budget:

  • Designate a learning champion
  • Make it easy to share learning insights
  • Choose multi-purpose learning opportunities

Ready? Let's get started!

1. Designate a learning champion

A learning champion is an employee responsible for attending specific workshops and conferences, who then shares what they've learned to the rest of their team and the organization, if applicable.

Managers can attend themselves or they can designate someone on their team to take on the learning champion responsibilities. Your managers can rotate the responsibility amongst their team members to keep the fair or they can make it a merit-based designation.

How this stretches your learning budget:

This strategy minimizes risk when you're exploring new learning opportunities that move the needle on performance.

By sending one person instead of the whole team, you're immediately reducing your spend by at least 50 percent. And, at the same time, you're increasing the ROI because your learning champion shares valuable information that will help improve the team's overall performance.

It's a great way to stretch your learning budget a bit further - done well, it's almost as though you were able to send the whole team!

*Added Bonus: Designating a learning champion pushes your people to think critically about why they're attending the offsite training opportunity, and then actively listen, learn and gather highly relevant information that they will bring back to their team.

2. Make it easy to share learning insights

Call upon your learning champion to recreate the learning or training experience when they return to the office. Get them to commit to presenting their key findings as part of the conditions allowing them to attend the workshop or conference.

This is where your people can really get creative to help stretch your learning budget!

Here are just a few examples of what they could do:

  1. Incorporate their notes and photos into a short team presentation
  2. Write up a series of blog posts
  3. Host a lunch-and-learn
  4. Send out briefing notes via email or to a group on your company intranet
  5. Create materials they can use to coach their mentee(s)
  6. Use their cell phone to shoot several short videos of themselves talking about key takeaways and post them on your intranet
  7. Develop a new training manual or revise an existing one
  8. Present a formal report to the C-Suite

The possibilities for sharing offsite learning are endless!

How this stretches your learning budget:

More of your people will get access to previously inaccessible offsite training in various formats. That information will live on in your organization far beyond that one day or weekend spent learning offsite. Spreading knowledge and best practices to others will also allow them to benefit from this information, even if it's just indirectly.

For example, customers who attend the pre- and post-conference training and workshops at Saba Insight will leave feeling confident in their newfound abilities and full of resources to ensure that their learning can be easily shared with the office.

*Added Bonus: By actively participating in their own learning, your people will better understand the value of a co-learning culture and get them engaged by creating their own learning materials to share company-wide.

Your learning champions will start to fill your learning management system (LMS) with new, original or supporting content and can create entirely new learning playlists to help their peers learn and grow. By creating a culture of shared learning within your organization, your people will start contributing their own content, which can reduce your own LMS content costs.

3. Choose multi-purpose learning opportunities

Make your offsite excursions do double duty: Double up the learning and training opportunities your people pursue out of the office.

Choose high-value conferences and workshops offering a variety of specific training sessions that will not only teach your people key new skills but will also certify or re-certify them under industry compliance standards.

Seek out opportunities that allow them to earn Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits. (We're proud to say that the majority of our breakout tracks at Saba Insight offer sessions submitted for approval for HRCI, SHRM, ATD and HRPA recertification credits.)

How this stretches your learning budget:

By making your learning opportunities do double the work, you're truly maximizing the ROI of your learning and training budgets. You'll ensure more people will be working on value-driven projects while minimizing the amount of time spent away from critical projects.

*Added Bonus: Learning programs linked to business strategy see a 32 percent greater-than-average improvement in employee performance and a 38 percent greater-than-average improved employee productivity, according to a recent IDC PlanScape report on maximizing training investment

Your next steps: Take action!

Sharing learning leads to action! It will get your people thinking about how they can leverage their learning to come up with solutions that address company problems. Encourage your people to go further and spearhead a new team or department initiative, start an internal club or working group, or propose a pilot project so that they not only share their offsite learning, they take action to demonstrate the ROI and drive positive business outcomes.

Now that you've learned something new, it's time for you to take action: Will you share this information with your peers? Will you designate a learning champion to represent your company at a workshop or conference?

It's time to put your people and teams in the driver's seat of their own development while staying connected to your organization's business strategy and goals. Start today... you can't afford not to!

Join Us For Some Offsite Learning

It's not too late to register for #SabaInsight18! Join us in Scottsdale, AZ September 24-27 for our


Register Today
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Join Us For Some Offsite Learning

It's not too late to register for #SabaInsight18! Join us in Scottsdale, AZ September 24-27 for our


Register Today


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