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Performance Management

How to Create a Professional Development Program on Zero Budget

September 8, 2015
4 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


Professional development is tough when your team has the drive to improve their skills but the organization doesn’t have the funding to back the desire for growth. As a leader, you want your employees to advance professionally, but there are other areas of the company you still need to allocate money to. It’s doubly harsh to compete in a talent market where training and development spend has risen by 15% in the last year. Just because everyone else spends more on development doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re looking help your employees on their path of professional development while saving the corporate wallet, we recommend the following tips.

Nail Employee Fit

Just because someone started at your company as a marketer doesn’t mean that’s what they’re best suited for. Maybe they took this job because it was more available than their true passion: design. Unbeknownst to you, you’ve been putting square pegs into round holes, so it’s no wonder a few team members feel a little stunted in their current positions. Fortunately, employee fit doesn’t have to be solidified at the moment of hire. Try some role reassignments.

Save money on professional development and raise employee morale by transferring employees to another department; 25% of employees would be more satisfied at work if they were doing what they did best, and that might just be in a different role. When employees are doing what they really love, they’ll be more likely to seek out opportunities for growth on their own because they find the work challenging, meaning you spend less on formal training that makes your workers better at something they may not love doing.


Emphasize Collaborative Learning

Most of us have heard about the 70/20/10 rule, where 70% of learning is informal, 20% of through feedback and coaching, and 10% is formal education. Using this model, we can easily see where the budget-conscious company can make a few tweaks: we’ve already discussed role reassignment as a way to expand work experience (informal learning), but the company still doesn’t have the money for a formal learning program.


CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01Use your professional insight to mentor employees and create development.


This leaves feedback and coaching as the biggest area for inexpensively aiding employee professional growth. By dedicating more time to employee mentorship programs, the process the experience becomes intrinsically rewarding for both the mentor and the employee. Set aside times for employees to teach each other, whether that includes company trivia, personal processes or even explaining how internal programs work, and you’ll give your employees access to professional growth opportunities with little impact to the company wallet.

Use Your Resources

When it comes to the professional development, “on a budget” shouldn’t mean “sparse.” Saving money is an important part of running a tight ship, but stunting development programs is a recipe for employee dissatisfaction, disengagement and turnover (none of which help that “zero budget” idea).


CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01Minimal budget doesn't mean minimal growth opportunities. Use resources you have on hand, like this:


Instead of avoiding tools altogether, do a little research into online resources for professional development - webinars, free guides and tutorials can be used to continually develop your employees. These resources may not have everything you want, but they’re inexpensive and could inspire your own ideas about how you’d like to approach your development on a budget.

Being stuck with a small budget means making the best of what you have, but doesn’t have to mean skimping on quality. There are lots of ways to stretch a small budget by putting employees in a new place, incentivizing mentorship programs and taking advantage of online help to build a strong program that won’t cost you much and turn good employees into great ones.

ClearCompany’s performance management software has all the tools you need to develop a stronger workforce. Sign up for a demo today and we’ll help you find the right plan for your budget!

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