HR on a budget: building an employee development plan

26 Oct 23 | Blog

‘What would you do if you won the lottery?’

It’s a good conversation starter at a dinner party – and people’s financial ambitions can range from ridiculous (go to space!) to realistic (get a new kitchen!). But even down the ‘realism’ end of the spectrum, these are goals that people ‘write-off’ as being beyond their means. 

In a small organisation, some HR programmes might seem out of reach – due to budget constraints, or limited resources. But with a bit of imagination, typically expensive initiatives – like training and development – can be done on a budget. 

Employee training and workforce development: why it matters

It’s easy for leaders and HR professionals to forget the smaller picture. When the focus is on the organisation succeeding – particularly for SMEs fighting to survive – then it’s easy to overlook the reality of your employees’ motivations. Because at the end of the day, this is just one chapter in their career. 

Recognising that is good for business. A third of resignations are linked to having no training and development opportunities, and 93% of employees would stick with an organisation that considered their career development. Invest in your team, and you’ll get the benefit of their new skills and save money on attrition costs.

5 employee development challenges – and tips to tackle them

1. Tight budgets

89% of leaders in SMEs say they can’t match the salaries of bigger businesses. And it doesn’t just come down to offering increased pay when promoting staff – certifications and external L&D providers also cost money, and in a cash-strapped start-up or SME, it’s hard to justify. 

Top tip: if you’re trying to get backing for an employee development initiative, factor in the cost of attrition – money talks, and factoring in that financial risk makes for a convincing argument.

2. Limited time

Although 77% say coaching was key to their career development, finding time for internal training is challenging – especially in an SME. There’s simply not enough time in the day for one-to-one hand-holding, so training opportunities are few and far between.

Top tip: understand an employee’s inherent strengths, and start by suggesting managers delegate tasks – it will free up time in their schedule, and empower people to succeed.

3. Competing priorities

Small organisations have a lot on their plate. Cash-strapped, time-pressed, and having to go in 101 different directions to find their route to success. The priority is survival, not employee development, even if neglecting the latter will cause significant issues.

Top tip: if there’s really no chance of getting sign-off on promoting employees, consider offering employees a sideways move – one that gets them excited about work, and uses untapped skills.

4. Succession limitations

The only way is out, not up in a small organisation – that’s how it can feel, in a business too small to have any aspirational ladder to climb. If people see no promotion opportunities, they may feel dispirited and look for an upwards move elsewhere. 

Top tip: promotions are, in part, a way of recognising someone’s contributions. So think about a ‘rewards and recognition’ programme – 68% say that influences whether they stay in a job.

5. Resistance to change

Growth = change. And change can be scary, especially if employees feel they’ve found their groove. When you’re trying to train and develop staff, they may be reluctant to see the status quo shift – preferring to stay comfortable while they work for your team.

Top tip: empowerment and acknowledgement. Give your employees a sense of purpose, and verbally congratulate them on a job well done – so they know the effort was worthwhile.

How to use our platform to build an employee development plan

Step 1: Review your data

First things first, survey the lay of the land. You need to understand where you are, before you plan where you’re going – and that means looking at your employee data.

In our platform, you just need to connect your HRIS. Our platform pulls your employee data, analyses it, and shows you trends – like attrition – and other useful data visualisations. You can spot if any departments or demographics need particular attention. 

Step 2: Collect feedback

Next step, collecting feedback to find the reasons behind these data trends. Our platform has a simple survey tool built-in, with AI-led text analytics. That quickly identifies the most-discussed topics, you can understand what your employees want. 

For example, the platform might flag that ‘leadership’ or ‘role fit’ are areas to address – and by digging deeper into employee comments, you can work out what’s missing when it comes to them feeling fulfilled and challenged in their roles. 

Step 3: Share with leaders

In the platform, you can click ‘copy to clipboard’ or ‘add an action’ on any of the interesting data points you find. This makes it incredibly easy to build a drag-and-drop report to share with leaders, or begin an action plan based on the facts.

Whatever initiative you’re confident will make a difference, you’ll have an arsenal of data points to get the backing you need. Quickly, easily, and effectively.

Interested in the platform? Try it for free. 

      What does HR do for employees really?

      Seriously, what does HR do for employees?

      “Oops, watch out - HR might be listening” “Don’t tell HR I said that!” “I’m not sure HR would be...
      Window with money behind

      Pay transparency is business critical: here’s why

      ‘Competitive’. What does the word mean? What is it hiding? Do people writing job advertisements...
      Not talking about money

      3 reasons bosses avoid ‘pay chats’ (and how benchmarks help)

      No-one actually enjoys talking about money, do they? Whether you’re the employee or their manager,...

      Salary benchmarking by Qlearsite Pro

      Whatever kind of people leader you are - HR professional, CEO, team lead, line manager - then...
      Absence management software

      Why (and how) to choose absence management software

      If you’re a people leader, there’s a lot to keep on top of. And managing absence isn’t always...
      Sickness absence management: a guide

      Sickness absence management: the ultimate guide

      In your organisation, do employees have to call in when too unwell to work - rather than send a...
      What is absenteeism?

      What is absenteeism, and why should you measure it?

      Absenteeism refers to a pattern of unplanned time off from work, often due to sickness or other...
      6 reasons to use a salary benchmarking tool

      6 reasons to use a salary benchmarking tool

      If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll have learnt what benchmarking is, what salary...
      why benchmarking salaries matters

      Why benchmarking salaries matters

      It’s important to benchmark your organisation’s salaries for multiple reasons - like being able to...
      Everything people leaders needs to know about salary benchmarks

      What is salary benchmarking?

      Salary benchmarking is about comparing your organisation’s salaries to similar roles in different...

      Get a live demo
      of the platform 

      Anne Therese Bogen, Head of HR, Thommessen

      "Qlearsite’s platform is a really helpful tool to push through OKRs – it’s easier when you have statistics and concrete evidence to back up initiatives."