3 Reasons Why Money Doesn’t Matter in Employee Development

Thursday, January 16, 2014

“I’ve got to do more with less.”

“My training budget has been slashed.”

“I don’t know how to spend my training budget efficiently with all of the choices out there.”

“I have no idea how to develop my people on so little money.”

What is your line? What do you hear most often? Which is your favorite excuse for not developing people to their fullest potential?

Employee development gets more tricky and complex with a growing number of options and vendors. Many of us in roles that involve employee development responsibilities can feel overwhelmed or intimidated by limited time, limited budgets, limited resources, and increasing “noise” due to the many learning opportunities available.

Below I describe three surprising truths about why money should not even be in the equation when you’re making decisions about employee development. Then, I share an opportunity to not only generate multiple, creative, and cheap ideas for developing your people, but to actually build bullet-proof strategies for easily and quickly implementing these ideas in your organization with stakeholder support.


Money doesn’t matter

  1. It’s your job. Period. Developing people is your job regardless of your organization type or budgetary realities. It is not optional. We cannot simply dismiss development because there is no money. We need to ABD—Always Be Developing others. So it’s your job to figure out ways to do so that fit your situation. When employees feel that their skills are not being developed, they are much more likely to leave in search of more nourishing pastures.
  2. You’re creative. Figure it out. Budget is not an obstacle if you approach employee development more creatively and strategically. Think outside of the box and outside of the classroom and you’ll be amazed at the sheer number of ideas you come up with that can help any employee achieve any development goal in a way that doesn’t require an official “learning event” or “program.” Most of us undermine our own creativity and allow ourselves to be blocked by self-imposed limitations. I truly believe the possibilities are endless, and one of my passionate missions is to help others believe it, too.
  3. Development plans should not come out of a class catalog. When you take money out of the development equation and think about matching development needs to learning styles and contextual constraints, you can creatively devise no-cost or low-cost non-training methods to meet those needs. Training is great—don’t get me wrong. It’s just not the only way. It’s often not even the right answer to many development needs. Many of us have heard about the 70-20-10 Development Rule, which illustrates how the bulk of employee development does—and should—happen through on-the-job learning and interactions with coaches, mentors, and peers. So by expanding our horizons of what constitutes employee development from the narrow slice of “formal learning” into the full pie of holistic learning, we grow the list of possibilities exponentially.


Employee development on the cheap

I can help you figure out a specific approach that you can implement easily, with limited resources, quickly and cheaply. I can even help you devise strategies for gaining buy-in from key stakeholders so that your plans have a better chance of succeeding. Join me in the DC area for an intensive, hands-on workshop that is designed to help you develop employees no matter your budget, regardless of your organizational constraints, and despite any obstacles that seem to block your success. Moreover, you’ll engage in an interactive experience with other peers who are facing similar challenges. Through discussions, exercises, and peer coaching activities, expand your view of possibilities and create solid plans that you can implement immediately—as soon as you leave the workshop. For more information and to register, please visit the workshop’s official page: Employee Development on a Shoestring Workshop. I hope to see you in March!

Image by Flickr Creative Commons user ToGa Wanderings

About the Author
Halelly Azulay is an author, speaker, facilitator, and leadership development strategist and an expert in leadership, communication skills, and emotional intelligence. She is the author of two books, Employee Development on a Shoestring (ATD Press) and Strength to Strength: How Working from Your Strengths Can Help You Lead a More Fulfilling Life. Her books, workshops and retreats build on her 20+ years of professional experience in communication and leadership development in corporate, government, nonprofit and academic organizations.

Halelly is the president of TalentGrow LLC, a consulting company she founded in 2006 to develop leaders and teams, especially for enterprises experiencing explosive growth or expansion. TalentGrow specializes in people leadership skills, which include communication skills, teambuilding, coaching, and emotional intelligence. TalentGrow works with all organizational levels, including C-level leaders, frontline managers, and individual contributors.

Halelly is a sought after speaker at conferences and meetings and is a contributing author to numerous books, articles and blogs. She was described as a “ Leadership Development Guru” by TD Magazine. Halelly blogs at, publishes a leadership podcast at, and has a popular free weekly subscription newsletter – sign up at
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