Employers turn to informal training to cut costs

Employers have turned to informal training methods, such as work-shadowing, social networking and mentoring, in a bid to cut learning and development (L&D) costs, research has found.

According to the 2012 XpertHR L&D budgets survey, nearly two-thirds (61%) of organisations have taken steps to reduce training spend in the past year, with 80% of these using informal learning to do so.

Employers also made savings by increasing collaboration across their organisations (73%), involving managers in the delivery of training (71%) and introducing more rigorous training-needs analysis aligned with business strategy (69%).

However, despite the cuts to L&D budgets, many organisations reported an improvement in their training. Nearly one-third (31%) of employers that had cut training spend in the past year said the effectiveness of their training had improved, with a further 47% saying it had remained unaffected. Just 13% of those with reduced L&D budgets reported a drop in the effectiveness of their training.

Charlotte Wolff, XpertHR training editor and author of the report, commented: “Although L&D budgets have been seriously challenged in the past year by adverse economic circumstances, the effectiveness of training has not necessarily been diminished.

“Some organisations are seeing better results from their training, because of the increased involvement of line managers, which can make the learning more relevant to the needs of the organisation. Applying a more analytical approach to the planning and application of learning and development is also likely to be a positive move for employers.”

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