Strategies for allocating your training budget

Now that you know your training budget for next year, how are you going to spend it? Here are some tips on dividing your money among your training staff.

Your proposed budget for next year has been approved. (See Matthew Mercurio’s budgeting column for hints on getting your boss to sign on the dotted line.) What’s next? Have you considered how to allocate the dollars you’ve budgeted for your trainers’ continuing education? Here are a few suggestions on ways to divvy up the dough.

An “even Steven” split
Consider dividing your training budget evenly among your staff. For example, your budget allocates $15,000 for training your six trainers. An equitable split gives you $2,500 per trainer. How should the money be spent? You have two options:
  1. Allow each trainer, within reason, to spend the amount as they see fit. This makes the individual trainer responsible for his or her education. For example, the trainer could choose to spend the entire amount on books and videos, blow the whole wad on a technical education conference, or allocate a portion to both.
  2. You be the judge. Have each trainer make a list of training he or she is interested in, and see if there is anything everyone agrees on. If there is a particular class everyone wants to take, it might be cheaper to bring in an instructor instead of sending them off to class individually. If there is a CBT everyone wants, purchase one and let them share it.

Performance = Dollars
Allocate training based on performance. With this concept, you can keep the best trainers the happiest by giving them the lion’s share of the money. It also keeps your top trainers attuned to what’s going on in IT.

Don’t leave out your low-performance trainers, unless you’re planning to get rid of them. There’s always a reason why your trainers aren’t performing up to par. It might be that they’re in need of more training. In that case, you might consider putting the bulk of your money toward their education to boost their confidence and morale—and improve their performance.

Go for certification
You can allocate your budget money according to job function. Doing so focuses on enhancing a trainer’s specific body of knowledge. If the trainer teaches a lot of classes that deal with MCSE certification, then fund his or her training to become a certified MCSE. There are lots of trainers who know the material and are certified to teach some of the classes but need to take a few classes themselves to get the title.

When it comes to certification, keep in mind that the exams and their supporting classes are tied to new product versions. Therefore, your trainers must plan to retake exams every time a new product version is released.

Final thoughts
Don't forget that training never ends. You should be creating an environment that encourages, and to an extent, requires continuing education. Not only does it help your trainers, it increases your company’s ROI as well.
If you would like to share your strategies for allocating your training dollars, please post a comment at the end of this article or send us a message .

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