What price do you put on staff development?

I had an interesting chat with a Learning & Development Manager friend this week about the costs associated with staff development and in turn a licence to our skills development platform, My Development Zone. He felt that £60 per head, per year, was too expensive.

So, I broke it down to £5 per head per month. For access to 450 courses and the ability to author their own e-learning modules. Still too expensive.

Whilst I pointed out the irony that we were sat drinking a pint of lager that had cost £4.50 it led to further friendly debate about what a business might spend £5 on each month and what the sign off process might be.

The scribbles on the napkin read something like this:

Per head costs 

  1. Pad of paper and pen - £3.50 (no sign-off needed)
  2. Tea & coffee - £10 (no sign-off needed)
  3. Post-It notes - £2-3 (no sign-off needed)
  4. Office cleaner - £5 (no sign-off needed)
  5. Toilet paper - £2 (no sign-off needed)
  6. Printing - £3 (no sign-off needed)

In doing this, I was able to start making my point. As businesses, we think nothing about spending money on consumables and items that don’t necessarily add relative value back into the organisation. So, why do organisations baulk at the costs associated with developing their employees and insist that they “do not have the budget to sign off on training costs”?

Our aim when we started My Development Zone was to develop an off the shelf development solution that businesses could almost treat as a consumable, which is why we set the price point at £5 per month. A lot of organisations get it, which is why the solution has grown so fast, but there are still many businesses who fail to understand the value of employee development.

Employee development is not a consumable, it is an investment. If we give our people the tools to learn then they will help grow our businesses. It’s a simple equation. Perhaps we need to stop treating development as a budget and start thinking of it as a consumable like a cup of coffee. I know where I would rather spend £5 as a business leader.

At the end of the evening, when England had beaten Tunisia in the World Cup against my friend’s hopes, he thought nothing of handing me the £5 note that he had wagered before the match started.

If you see the value in developing your people and would like to invest £5 in helping to grow your business, then get in touch.

About the author

Tom is a Director at RWA. He has built a team of professionals that continue to deliver outstanding service and develop innovative solutions for our clients. Passionate about change and developing sustainable futures, Tom is a transformational leader who was a winner at the Leading Wales Awards in 2014 and in the same year received a Distinction from Cardiff Metropolitan University for his Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership. As well as his work leading the RWA team, Tom continues to work in the local Welsh community helping business start-ups, charities and enterprise facilitation initiatives.

Tom Wood

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