3 Tips for Offering Professional Development on a Budget

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Organizations that offer professional development opportunities are better equipped to attract and retain top talent. However, budget constraints sometimes make it difficult to provide those opportunities. That’s when it’s time to get creative.

The Nonprofit Times recently shared these three tips for approaching budget-friendly professional development:

  1. Determine your organization’s biggest challenges. Of course, this is probably lack of resources and time, so think about implementing cost-effective solutions like:
  • Monthly coffee hour: Get together with your team once a month to discuss round robin topics, projects, upcoming events, etc. This is about having consistent “face time.”
  • Speed mentoring: Get your leadership team together once every quarter or six months and allow each employee 15 minutes with each leader. Rotate employees every 15 minutes until they have met with all leaders. This allows employees to have access to leadership, feel part of the organization and learn from people who inspire them.
  • Feature a local leader at a get together: Ask community leaders with influence or individuals with interesting career paths to volunteer their time to talk with your team. Make it after hours, in a more relaxed environment.
  1. Think creatively about how to make education impactful. Make education more appealing to employees without adding more to their plate. Here are some examples:
  • Implement a mentorship/buddy program to connect newer employees with more seasoned staff who can address questions or concerns.
  • Hold a contest tied to something employee are already working on to boost productivity and inspire employees to think outside the box to accomplish their goal. Offer a reward as incentive.
  • Put together a reading list of trainings available on audio tape, Podcasts and webinars, allowing employees to learn on their own time, at their own pace.
  1. Keep your employees engaged. People want to be part of things, so they feel welcomed and appreciated.
  • Make your trainings and meetings interactive to ensure better focus and higher retention.
  • Put together a quarterly potluck lunch and learn. Train on a topic that will be important for the next quarter.
  • Collaborate. Ask employees for their feedback and help with finding solutions, in training and on their jobs.

An educated workforce has enormous benefits for any organization. As important as it is for employers to offer professional development opportunities, it’s also critical that employees take responsibility for their own learning in order to move forward in their careers.

Professional development is especially important to engineering professions and IEEE offers courses for professionals in all fields of engineering, helping employees prepare for the demands of the field now and in the future. Discover the latest IEEE courses here.


Allison, Samantha. (15 Oct 2018). 3 Ideas For Professional Development On A Budget. The NonProfit Times.

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