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4 Free Employee Development Ideas

Employee development isn’t a priority for many organizations in 2024; in fact, organizations are cutting down on professional development and other ‘extraneous’ costs in an uncertain global economy.

Entirely stopping employee development will be a costly mistake, both in the short and long term. If your budget is tight, there are still ways to promote employee development without spending money. Here are four ways you can develop your employees without breaking the bank.

Remember, these ideas are ‘free’ in that they don’t require upfront financial investment, but they do require an investment of time from your other team members. Consider compensating the people involved in helping others through additional time off, bonuses, or other perks.

Don’t take them for granted — adequately rewarding team members for helping others and the organization in turn will be much cheaper than disengagement or underskilled team members.

Create Mentorship Programs

One of the best ways to promote employee development is to implement a mentoring program.

By connecting less experienced team members with people who were once in their position, not only will you help newer employees develop their skills, you will also help them make meaningful connections within the organization and engage more deeply with their work.

Consider using assessment tools to connect mentors and mentees. By using a tool like DISC, you can help create pairs with complementing behavioral styles. They can then learn from one another!

Encourage Skill Sharing Sessions

Another simple and effective employee development example is to promote skill sharing within your organization. Encourage employees to conduct sessions on a specific skill they possess, whether that be coding, writing, or digital organization.

This approach also promotes cross-training, which can be very helpful when a team is understaffed.

If only one person holds crucial knowledge for the business, that knowledge is at a heavy risk of being lost when they move on from their position. Cross-training multiple people will help promote upward mobility and resilience, all while developing employees.

Launch A Book Club

It can feel like there are too many books and not enough time in the day to get to them. Make time for your employees by starting a company-wide book club focused on professional development or industry-related books.

By introducing new ideas, creating a forum for challenges and discussion, and opening new channels of information for your teams, you offer employees the chance to develop their skills, think critically, and get creative when approaching their positions.

Utilize Online Learning Platform & Free Webinars

The Internet has a wealth of knowledge for those willing to do some self-educating. You might be surprised at how many courses are available on platforms like Coursera, edX, Khan Academy, and Hubspot.

In addition to coursework, have your workers research free webinars and seminars in your industry. Attending will help keep your organization updated on industry trends.

Don’t expect your teams to take their breaks or off-hours to complete these trainings. Treat it like any other assignment by scheduling time for it, encouraging them to report on the experience, and having your team capture their time spent learning.

Employee Development On A Budget

Developing your team members doesn’t have to require a lot of spending, but it does require a thoughtful approach.

Utilize your skilled, more senior team members to mentor others, encourage skill sharing, spark conversations, and promote learning and development. Remember that at the end of the day, your people should be your greatest asset and investment.

Are you looking for the right tools to develop employees? TTI can help.

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Jaime Faulkner

Jaime Faulkner

Jaime believes authenticity and storytelling are the keys to successful marketing. As a graduate from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, she loves finding and connecting narratives. When she's not at work, she's psychoanalyzing contestants on The Bachelor, painting, listening to podcasts, or playing tabletop RPGs.