December 21, 2022

Doing more with less: how to effectively develop your employees when resources are scarce

With tough times comes the tightening of a startup's purse strings — but how do you keep your employees well-trained when resources are scarce?

Nick Hernandez

5 min read

A landscape headshot of Nick Hernandez, CEO and founder of 360learning
Nick Hernandez

As the global economy is changing, CEOs and CFOs are becoming more cautious with cash and spending. We’re all being asked to “do more with less”, particularly from investors, boards and leadership teams  — and we all need to adjust to keep up. 

In reality, this means less talent, less inspiration and less teamwork. The first step to doing more with less is to start slashing hiring — startups have reduced open job positions by 43% already this year in Europe. Layoffs are happening across the board. 

But far from this being a period of crisis for HR and talent teams, it's an opportunity to get strategic. These teams can help solve key business challenges by ensuring the business has the right skills to thrive despite layoffs, and connecting team members with experts to unlock better performance and drive more impact. Far from being seen as a costly expense, HR & learning & development (L&D) teams can be revenue-generating, by reworking their budget and assessing priorities. Here’s how. 


Revamp your talent strategy to transform company performance

Every great learning and talent strategy can be divided into three core pillars: mandatory training, closing the skills gap and enabling company performance. 

By articulating your learning and skills priorities according to these three pillars, you can tie costs to real and tangible benefits, showcase impact across the business and create more engaged and effective employees. 

Automate and optimise mandatory training

First, there’s the training your company needs to complete to remain compliant with industry standards. For example, you might need to schedule mandatory training in data protection practices for your team handling and storing client data.  

In some cases, omitting this training will also lead to high levels of team stress and burnout in high-potential individuals

Second, there’s the training you need to deliver to keep your business operational. When someone is promoted to a manager position, for example, they need training in how to manage a team’s performance. If they don’t receive this training, constructive feedback is less likely to be passed on to team members, contributing to lower team performance. This is money. In some cases, omitting this training will also lead to high levels of team stress and burnout in high-potential individuals. 

Don’t waste time on the administrative side of getting these sessions organised. Software such as Training Orchestra or 360Learning will automate the time-consuming parts, such as managing rooms and virtual sessions, sending invitations and monitoring attendance. Other tools can also optimise these sessions to minimise the cost per person, from creating trainer and room agendas to using algorithms to fill sessions in the most efficient way. You can also manage the community of external trainers and prioritise those who have the experience you need while staying cost-efficient. This frees up resources that can be invested elsewhere, where they are going to be more impactful, such as business enablement.

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Close the skills gap

To close your skills gap, you need to know what you’re missing. Tools such as Neobrain can map out the skills you have among the employees at your company and keep that map up-to-date automatically, tying these skills to job titles. You can leverage all kinds of data, from LinkedIn profiles to managers’ manual inputs and self-declared skills.

Through this, these platforms can help identify skills that are no longer needed to drive the business forward and showcase the jobs that are becoming redundant, which you can screen against your open job positions. 

Now, you can solve the skills problem. Instead of making some positions redundant and hiring for others, you can foster internal mobility among your employees at risk of redundancy, by offering reskilling programs, pushing training recommendations and other tailored learning experiences to close the skills gap. By automating these processes, you can build a big-picture understanding of your workforce's skilling and reskilling opportunities, which you can then use to provide the right learning support at the right time.

Set up a capability academy

Most L&D and HR teams we talk to are submerged with requests to train operational teams in order to increase their performance, such as training a sales team on a new product or providing a customer success team with the latest batch of industry insights. 

These academies can be based on a functional area or topical need, and are places where learners can benefit from internal expertise

Addressing competing learning needs on a tight budget can be challenging — but there is a way through. Modern L&D teams have developed the capability to ship expert-led academies (what L&D expert Josh Bersin calls a Capability Academy) in no time and with minimum effort. This is more than just a library of content to enable a specific skill, but is a whole host of programming that provides the combination of skills, knowledge and experience employees need to succeed. 


These academies can be based on a functional area or topical need — Visa has Fintech Academy, for instance, which covers external innovations in fintech as well as the company’s internal strategies — and are places where learners can benefit from internal expertise and gain the skills they need to advance within an organisation.

With a learning platform that makes it easy to connect peers and experts, you can create and manage academies with the right mix of internally-built and off-the-shelf courses. This way, you can help your teams develop the right skills and capabilities to drive better business outcomes in a competitive market, all without breaking the bank.

Drive better performance — even when budgets are tight

For non-hardware companies, the biggest investment you make is in the talent you hire. When times get tough, reskilling and upskilling are the most effective and proven ways to create value from this investment, motivate and support teams and drive impactful results for the business. 

European tech is undergoing one of its biggest challenges yet, but by putting the right strategy in place, you can come out of it stronger and in a better position to grow and thrive.