Budget season is just around the corner. How much money should you put in your budget for training and developing continuous improvement and process improvement professionals? And where should you spend that budget money in order to get the biggest impact from those training dollars?

Getting it right can make or break your program.

One of the leading reasons employees leave their companies is that they don’t feel like they have room to grow. Employees want to feel valued. So, investing in their development shows that you care and that you are giving them growth opportunities.

Further, training and developing your improvers has significant financial impacts on the company’s bottom line.

In fact, KaiNexus reports that the average impact of a cost saving idea is over $31,000 per year in its first year of implementation. So, if a continuous improvement professional can help the organization implement just one more idea, then you already have an incredible return on investment. Additionally, HR Magazine reports that companies investing $1,500 or more per employee per year on training average 24% higher profit margins than companies with lower yearly training investments. That shows that investing in your employees truly is investing in your company.

Investing in your employees truly is investing in your company.

Establish a Baseline Budget

So, how much should be in your budget?

First, let’s start by establishing a baseline from which to develop our budget. Capterra says that you should spend 1-5% of your employee’s salary budget on training. If you have an employee who earns $100,000 per year, then you should spend $1,000-5,000 on training that employee. That aligns well with the 2018 Statista report 2018 showing that employers spent approximately $1,299 per employee on learning and development. The reports go on to show that more money is spent developing future leaders and those who have a significant impact on the future success of the organization.

Continuous improvers and process improvers are in a unique position to have a tremendous impact on the overall culture of the organization. They have an opportunity to deliver remarkable savings and new revenue, not only through leading continuous improvements, but even more so by mentoring others within the organization to adopt a continuous improvement culture and to lead continuous improvement projects.  These skills take nuturing and development, so make the investment now.

Your Own Investment

And continuous improvers, the investment in your own development doesn’t lie solely on the shoulders of your employer. You must make your own investment in yourself.

Entrepreneur magazine promotes the “3 Percent Solution for Personal Development.” As Entrepreneur writes, “if you make $50,000 per year, then at least $1,500 per year should be put towards professional development. If you can commit to $125 per month for cable, you should have no issue in committing $125 into yourself.”

Ok, that was written in 2014, so I know you probably don’t spend $125 per month on cable, but you may well spend $125 per month on your mobile phone bill or streaming services.

Biggest Budget Impact

The next question is, where do you spend that training budget in order to get the biggest impact?

The 2020 Workforce Learning Report from LinkedIn shows that the top three highest priority skills to develop are leadership & management, creative problem solving & design thinking, and communication. These are also three of the most critical skills that a continuous improver needs in order to lead a culture change within your organization.

These three skills are some of the absolute most difficult to develop with traditional training alone. Continuous improvers need coaching and mentorship in order to apply those new tools and skills that they are learning. Simply training them is not enough. Because who became awesome simply by sitting in class?

That’s the reasons CII’s DAM Good Membership includes all aspects of developing the continuous improver. And it’s priced under the 3% rule. Not only does the membership include formal training in virtual and in live sessions, it also gives that improver opportunities to develop in a variety of networking groups both for peer-to-peer mentorship and coaching from continuous improvement experts.

All it takes is one new CI idea….one employee retained and engaged…..one employee inspired to make a difference in your culture. Make CI training and development a priority right now.

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Author: Allison Greco

Author: Allison Greco

Founder, CII

I created my foundation with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and MBA from the University of Oklahoma. Over the past decade, I have held Continuous and Process Improvement roles for Black Hills Energy, Williams, the US Air Force and BNSF Railway. I’ve started new CI programs and reinvigorated stale ones. Along the way I earned a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and became a licensed Professional Engineer.