However necessary training is, obviously cost is going to be a key consideration for your business. And it's important to remember that the cost isn't just made up of the price that you may pay to an individual training provider: you also need to add the hours that the employee is going to away from their work.
So how do you decide what training to put in place, and how best to approach it?
Use our straightforward, practical 4-step guide to help you make the most of your training budget.
1. Establish what training is needed
First of all you need to ask yourself what training is needed, and why.
Is the training in line with your company training objectives? Training should link back to the objectives that you’ve already set for the year.
Are there recent or upcoming changes to standards? If you've identified that there has or is about to be a change in standard (for instance, OHSAS 18001 being replaced by ISO 45001) that logically suggests that there may be a training requirement for individual employees. You need to ensure that they understand the differences between the two standards, and are able to adapt your systems to meet the new requirements. Where necessary this may also mean up skilling your team of internal auditors.
Is there a legal requirement? Training requirements may be linked to legal requirements. For example, if you have first aiders, you may have trained them, but if the last time you did that was three years ago, it may well be that in order to stay legally compliant you need to provide ongoing or refresher training.
2. Be clear about the desired outcome
Ultimately you need to be considering the overall effect on your business.
What is it that you’re expecting to get out of the training, as an output? It’s realistic to expect that your business will to be able to perform more effectively, and in a more legally compliant manner, as a result of the training.
3. Consider the most effective way to deliver the training
Give some thought to how training will be provided. It's not always necessary to spend money on training. Think about how you can provide the necessary training in the most cost-effective way.
Can you use in-house trainers? You may find that you've got suitably skilled people within your team to be able to provide on-the-job training.
Is online training appropriate? If your budget is small you may find that it’s more appropriate to source online or webinar based training. Most candidates tend to find that either a classroom based approach or a blended learning approach works best for them.
How many people need the training? Think about where the training is going to be carried out. The answer to this will depend partly on how many people need to be trained. If you've only got one or two individuals you may find it more cost effective to send them off to a public course, where they'll pay an individual delegate rate. If you've got lots of people to train you may find it considerably more cost effective to invite the training provider to deliver training at your own premises.
4. Decide what level of training is needed
Does the training need to be accredited, or does it just need to be delivered by a recognised provider? Certain accredited courses have a minimum number of guided learning hours that training providers will be unable to deviate from, whereas they can often be more flexible in delivering bespoke courses.