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How investing more in people development can help stretch your budget further

Voco Team
Two people looking at a laptop

Many of us are being asked to stretch our budgets further than we thought possible and it can be hard to draw your watering eyes away from that bottom line. But, when you do, focusing on growth and investment in people could be the answer to your cost cutting woes.

Sounds like a paradox doesn’t it? Invest in people and you’ll save money? But, of course, we know instinctively that this is probably true. Because investment doesn’t have to mean spending money, and when people feel supported at work they are more engaged, productive and loyal.

We know that it’s hard to think big about investment in people when you’re under pressure to keep costs small. So, here are some ideas that we think will help:

Scale up your development

Go on, admit it, you’ve spent more money on the exec team’s development than on all your other employees put together? Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but we all know how costly exec level development can be. Especially when you hire the services of a professional coach on an hourly rate.

Developing your senior leaders isn’t a bad thing. It’s always helpful to make sure that your top team is able to lead effectively, efficiently and compassionately. But, has the investment had the trickle down effect you wanted? Is the culture of your organisation immeasurably better as a result of the money you’ve spent on the C-Suite? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll let you be the judge.

Regardless, as long as your execs aren’t totally clueless, then it’s our belief that you can make your development budget work harder if you spread it more equitably across the organisation. This doesn’t mean a coach for everyone but it might mean that everyone gets a mentor or access to some affordable, scalable training. There are lots of options and, yes, of course Voco is one of them…

Look for an inside job

Whether you make widgets or treat cancer patients, your organisation will be filled with expertise. You can rarely get the measure of someone’s interests and skills by looking at their job description alone. How could you leverage this to help increase career and development opportunities in your organisation?

Could you run an in-house coaching programme (ahem, Voco can help you do this effortlessly...) so that people can support each other? Could you organise a skills swap so people can share expertise? Could you create in-house training that leverages skills like communication from those who are brilliant at it? How about internal job placements for people who long for the next career move but don’t know where to start?

Yes, it takes time and effort, but you may find a willingness for people to help you do the thinking in order to reap the rewards. Keeping some development  in-house can build a more collegiate culture; one where people feel safe to share their ideas and keen to learn from others. That’s something money can’t buy.

Share the benefits

Benefits packages don’t have to cost the earth. Think about what would make people’s lives easier and their job feel more fulfilling. It might be as simple as some discounts from the local coffee shop, it could be a day off on their birthday. Reviewing what benefits you offer and thinking about what could be added that could be free or minimal cost to the business will go further than you think.

Communication is key here too. You might have some brilliant benefits but if people don’t know what’s on offer then you may as well have saved your time and energy. Shouting about the support you give the people in your business can be almost as effective as the support itself. No, really.

Taking up the development on offer or accessing benefits is down to the individual. Knowing that opportunities are available and easy to access will help people to identify the culture you are trying to create. Plus, internal PR is (usually) free… just saying…

Further reading

‘The four levers in a turnaround’ Jacob Morgan, LinkedIn

‘How to help your employees learn from each other’ HBR

‘Why should you invest in your staff’, Forbes

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