Among the many challenges HR leaders face today, tight budgets are a common and limiting problem. 

How is it possible to create meaningful training and development programs when senior management doesn’t allocate the funding necessary to access quality content and programs? If your company is fast-growing, L&D should be a top priority. But without a fast-growing budget how can you be expected to deliver leadership development that gets results? Maybe your company has put L&D on the table but you are a tiny HR team in a hiring freeze. It’s enough to leave you climbing the walls in frustration.

In partnership with HR Dive, Verb Founder and Visionary, Suzi Sosa teamed up with Betsy Sobiech, Director of Customer Success, to unpack this challenge and offer practical strategies that cash-strapped HR leaders can implement right away. In this one hour deep-dive, Suzi and Betsy go beyond theory to delve into the experiences of real HR leaders. Their aim? To provide tools and ways of thinking about executing L&D projects that can lead to small wins – that eventually lead to bigger wins. The goal is to support HR teams – even teams of one – to create real value that leaves them not only looking like a rockstar, but feeling like one as well.

What do we mean by “Rockstar”?

While we know that many L&D departments are staffed by one-person “teams”, the concept of the rockstar here was not so much about being the solo rockstar on stage, with all eyes on them. Instead, the idea of the Rockstar L&D Strategy is about creating the experience of something that feels transformative and memorable. It’s about the energy, creativity and experience that’s possible – even with a limited budget. And in case you were wondering, at 2:30 Besty and Suzi both reveal their personal favorite “rockstar” personas! ?

Feeling Resourced

Limited budgets call HR leaders to dig deep and tap into creativity to make their programs a reality. This can often feel isolating, overwhelming or even impossible to do well. One of the key questions the webinar addressed was:

How do you go from feeling that you have no resources to feeling that you have abundant resources?

Leveraging key advocates and L&D champions from internal influencers in the company is a savvy way to begin building a program that takes root and gets the attention of team members in an organic way. 

Another opportunity to feel resourced is through utilizing digital learning platforms. Digital platforms can offer an abundance of content, yet what really counts is:

  1. Empowering and supporting learners to chart their learning path and;
  2. Inspiring learners to take quick action on the information they are learning 

During the webinar, the Verb team addressed the need for learners to have choice and agency if they are to be truly engaged with L&D programs (watch at 20:15). The historical legacy of “top-down” control and prescribed program content is no longer relevant and in fact works against the goal of increasing team participation. While it’s necessary for learning to be tied to company goals and needs, it’s important to respect the needs of today’s learners and provide opportunities for their input into their upskilling. HR leaders can free themselves and find time for other aspects of their role when they release tight control and allow for learners to self-select the content they care most about learning.

Good Tech

The possibility to create a truly engaging and meaningful experience in an L&D program is available with appropriately leveraged technology – “good tech” so to speak. Suzi breaks down this term at 29:00 by explaining it like this:

“What we’re looking for here is the ability for technology to help scale impact. If you’re constrained on resources let’s face it, software is cheaper than adding people – whether that’s guest speakers or facilitators. So it can really help us have more reach. And ideally, good tech can help us have reach without sacrificing depth.”

Employing a digital learning platform in your L&D strategy is a smart way to bring a program to life when a shoestring budget takes live, in-person events or training opportunities off the table. An intentionally designed platform can enable meaningful learning to take place, while allowing for flexibility and accessibility for learners. Matthew Hirst, VP Organizational Development, First Command Financial Services, says: “Good types of technology create efficiencies, and gives people some time back. Technology enables learning in a way that meets people’s competing demands.”

Suzi and Betsy unpack the pros and cons of learning technology. The historical roots of digital learning and some of the “shadow side” of technology that HR leaders need to guard against. The goal is to ensure that learners are actually learning curated skills that are relevant to their roles and also learning to cause true behavioural change. The goal is not to create overwhelm for learners and have them “check the box” of L&D simply because they can listen to content while doing other work. Watch at 35:10 to learn how “good tech” helps to solve for this and create genuine engagement among learners.

Good People + Good Tech = Magic

This webinar is jam packed with helpful insights on creating an L&D strategy, as well as perspectives from HR leaders from a range of organizations. Another key takeaway: Betsy’s mini walkthrough tour of the Verb platform (37:05). Be sure to watch and experience how a best-in-class digital L&D platform makes learning actionable while keeping it easily doable in the flow of work.

Get Inspired By What’s Possible

If you’re committed to setting up or scaling your leadership development program, even without a large budget to work with, this webinar is a must-watch. Sign up to get access and watch-on-demand to get inspired about what’s possible for creating magic in your L&D program and let our experts take you through Verb’s platform.