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ATD Blog

Make Your Case for Increased Funding

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Tue Oct 16 2018

Make Your Case for Increased Funding
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“Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.”

While former Vice President Joe Biden was referring to government spending, what he said is certainly a useful yardstick for corporate training budgets.

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This is especially relevant when it is time to make the case for increased funding. Few moves a talent development team makes generate more questions than requesting a bigger budget. Here are seven steps you can take to make a strong case for additional training program resources to support what the company values most.

1. Target the most likely learners.

While it is nice to wish everyone in your organization had the same access to training as everyone else, often that’s just not the reality. Opportunities for training employees who have greater responsibilities may return a greater dividend for the company. Senior employees typically have greater access to training, and what they learn is intended to come back to the company in the form of enhanced revenue, efficient processes, and effective management. Developing a budget that allocates programs at appropriate levels sends a strong message that resources are well spent.

2. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.

Each year the debate continues about which method of training is most effective. The best answer is choosing the appropriate method to deliver the learning content in a way that ensures access and retention by the learner. Face-to-face learning and e-learning each have their strengths and weaknesses. Rather than favoring one over the other at the outset, assess your company’s range of learning needs and how each approach can achieve the desired level of success, one course or program at a time.

3. Stay in step with company changes.

Restructuring within an organization, the development of new products or services, or an increased awareness that training can move the productivity dial may all fluctuate from year to year. Ensuring that your training program focuses on the present and the future is one way to stay in sync with where the company is headed. Linking your training budget to the forward direction of the company sends the signal that your talent development team is poised to adapt to corporate course corrections.

4. Match the CLO’s priorities.

Of course, not every company has a chief learning officer (CLO), but they do have senior managers who will have the responsibility of responding to your budget requests. Establishing the most effective training program includes aligning learning and development to the company’s needs. Often those are directly reflected in the CLO or other key manager’s own priorities. When it comes to requesting a higher training program budget, as important as approval itself is having champions who value L&D’s contribution. Gaining the support of an ally who also holds the purse strings makes smart budget sense.

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5. Connect training with hiring and retention.

Making the case for a bigger slice of the budget pie requires a compelling story. While there is no shortage of information and statistics on how training attracts and helps to retain talent, at the budget request stage the story needs to be more company-centric. Does your training program make the case that the value of employee training is supported by your company’s own experience? Are there employees able to share why your robust training program was one of the game-changers that brought them onboard? Recapping how the personal value of training makes the company stronger strengthens your budget position.

When it is time to make the case for increased funding, demonstrate how a decision in your team’s favor strengthens the tie between talent development and company success.

6. Raise the profile of talent development.

A growing budget creates an L&D program with greater reach. By increasing its financial commitment to employee training, the organization telegraphs its own values. Receiving increased funding also raises the stakes when it comes to showing improved performance and results. Keeping senior leaders informed of training’s effectiveness adds to their confidence that their approval of your request was warranted.

7. Recognize the higher training budget as a management tool.

What impact does increased funding have on your own talent development team? Consider linking more resources with a greater commitment to the team’s mission, a heightened awareness that the value of training has been further validated, and that the potential exists for training to have an even greater impact on employee development. A positive change in funding is an opportunity to step up your team’s game as it proceeds into the new budget year with a renewed sense of purpose.

New funding also creates opportunities for new training. View the ATD Fall/Winter course catalog to arrange training that reflects your company’s strategic goals.

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