Van France, the founder of Disney University was the first person to challenge the many excuses for not conducting training. Similar to Walt Disney, Van rejected the notion that economic malaise warrants abandoning efforts to improve the product or service. Van firmly believed in employee development activities and didn’t let a slim budget get in the way. Many Disneyland managers learned the following lesson from Van, “Money might be tight … creativity is free.” Even more direct is Van’s message in his report titled Disneyland: The Exciting New Era 1980-2005, “The budget has become the scapegoat for every possible negative action and rejection of any suggestion for improving things. It is the coward’s way out of any problem.”
Training doesn’t need to be a big-budget extravaganza; training is not limited to activities in a training room. Some of the best training in the world occurs during on-the-job-training (OJT) sessions conducted by mentors, not trainers. Mentoring, OJT, and role-modeling can be much more useful, and significantly less expensive, than classroom training. Weekly staff meetings and five-minute, pre-shift/post-shift “huddles” provide tremendous training and learning opportunities.
What creative strategies are you using to provide employee development programs … despite budget constraints?