Research & Thought Leadership

Results-Driven budgets: How to get the buy-in for your language training investment

Micael Timonen

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For many in the Human Resources and Training & Development community, the last quarter of the year is the time to set the learning and development budget.

The budgeting process usually looks like this: After a stressful period of performance reviews and plan development, requests start coming in from the business managers with nominees for language training. Someone from the T&D department collects all the requests, counts the number of participants, sorts them according to a rough estimate of language level (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and determines who would require group or private lessons. They finally make an estimated number of people that need to be trained.

Once the number of learners and needs are sorted, this person calls some local schools to ask for the price of an academic hour for each type of group and class.

With the price at hand, the budget is formed according to the following calculation:

(price/academic hour) x (# groups) x (# hours/week) x (#weeks/year).

It is a budget, yes. But a budget for a training investment with unknown outcomes.

In times of increased organizational and financial pressure, budget requests are less of an item to tick in the process, but more of a necessary step to cover for pressing business needs. This means that every penny spent has to be justifiable measurable results.

And this is when the real fight starts. The budget must be defended. Your management and CFO are likely to ask these questions:

  • Why do you have to invest so much money repeatedly every year?

  • We have been doing this language training for years now but have no idea about the results. Can you show the results?

  • Is it the same cohort who is taking the classes year after year? Why?

  • Why have you selected these people and are you sure they need training?

  • How many of the requests are based on actual business needs for improving the language level? How many are to cover for employee benefit?

  • When will we see the results of this investment?

Most training professionals find it difficult to answer any of these questions; many disappointing budget discussions have been concluded with the decision that English training is important, but the outcome of a training program is not measurable or not relevant to our immediate business goals, so the budget will be reduced.

Now, what if there was a different approach to budgeting for your language training strategy? What if you could provide a substantial answer to each one of the questions? Here at EF, we help you with the tools to create a budget proposal that will stand to all management and financial scrutiny.

With our solution-driven programs, you will not only be able to show in hard cold numbers how much money you need but also the reason why you are asking for it.

Imagine if you could prove your management that you are in the driving seat of the project and in control of the company’s training investment. Our language training tools enable you to set a definite timeline and budget for the project.

Through our company-wide testing process, we provide an accurate measure of your organization’s proficiency level ensuring your investment is made in the right places. Followed by a reporting center to track results, solving your biggest concern: making sure key managers and staff reach their goals within a set timeframe and budget, instead of taking part in training that’s too hard to defend.

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