eLearning and Corporate Training, training, Employee Training

How to Create a Successful Corporate Training Program Without a Big Budget

by Debbie Williams

What is your company’s corporate training budget? Smaller than you’d like? You’re not alone. Many L&D and HR professionals are struggling to train employees without the dedicated resources they’d like. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a great program.

In fact, your budget is not as important to the quality of your training as you might think. Training Budget Benchmarks and Optimizations stated, “Although it is a much sought-after piece of data, the actual size of the training budget doesn’t mean much. What’s truly important is how it is developed, who owns it and how it gets used.”1

Related Reading: What Employee Training Costs Your Business

3 Budget-Friendly Tips for Creating a High-Impact Corporate Training Program

A small L&D budget doesn’t have to result in a poor employee training program. Here are some ideas for putting together a cost-effective L&D program that improves business results and engages learners:

Check out these 3 tips for creating a quality corporate training program on a small budget.

1. Fill gaps in your free resources before creating courses

Corporate training content doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find quality, free training resources if you look in the right places.

"...there are plenty of free resources to tap online: Lecture series like TED Talks feature experts on workplace dynamics, leadership and more, and industry-specific publications offer a range of insightful commentary and research,” stated Inc.com.2 “The important thing is to provide employees with a starting point."

If you’ve already exceeded your training budget and your L&D program is still not equipping your workers with the skills they need, fill gaps in the program with free training resources. You can also ask seasoned employees within your company who are considered subject matter experts to conduct live training sessions and webinars. This costs less than bringing in outside instructors who have no knowledge of the company culture and will give in-house SMEs valuable experience.

2. Cut out superfluous content

While it’s important to fill an employee training program with the content needed to teach relevant skills, many enterprises make the mistake of including too much content - including content that isn’t relevant to employees’ positions. Employee training is a critical aspect of organizational success, but companies should avoid falling into the trap of training for the sake of training.

Businesses can keep corporate training costs low by creating content that meets the needs of the company and its workforce. If a course doesn’t help your company meet a goal, solve a problem, or equip learners with the skills they need to function well in their role, leave it out. In addition to saving money on purchased courses, this also reduces the training burden on learners.

An L&D team alone shouldn’t shoulder the burden of identifying the training needs of a company. HR, L&D, and department leaders should work in tandem to identify skills gaps and issues that can be resolved with training and create a suitable corporate training program. If a department manager says a course isn’t relevant for their employees, don’t purchase it.

3. Stretch your eLearning content

eLearning is the most expensive type of training to create, but that doesn’t mean companies with a tight L&D budget can’t include it in their corporate training program.3 To keep costs low, enterprises should focus on creating high quality courses that can be reworked and reused, making online learning stretch as far as possible.

For example, employee training software lets businesses clone online courses and adjust them for different departments. By reusing content, you can conserve funds while providing personalized training that doesn’t require a lot of extra work to create.
New call-to-actionAnother way to make the most of the eLearning content you already have is to offer departments that work closely together, such as marketing and sales, the opportunity to take training from their partner department. This will not only save you money, but help align departments. Marketing and sales is a great place to start, since aligning your sales and marketing teams has been shown to help businesses increase revenue by 32 percent, retain 36 percent more customers, and realize 38 percent higher win rates.4

Don’t Let Your Training Budget Determine the Effectiveness of Your L&D Program

The average annual training budget of a mid-size company that has at least 1,000 workers is $3.7 million, but a budget that large isn’t a prerequisite for a training program that delivers great results.5 Many companies can and do work with significantly less - and many of them get better results than those will millions to work with.

Having a small budget can be a blessing in disguise as it necessitates careful assessment of your company’s needs and a higher degree of intentionality during the program creation process. By getting creative with available resources, you can assemble quality training and ensure an exceptional learner experience on a small L&D budget.

Ready to get started? Check out our article on best practices for creating a best-in-class corporate L&D program.
eLearning Trends for 2020 ebook


1. https://www.litmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/BHG-training-budget-benchmarks-report-2017.pdf.
2. https://www.inc.com/jeff-miller/3-ways-to-create-a-low-budget-high-impact-training-program.html.

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing